My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for National Walking Horse Association, Lexington, KY, USA
A 'horse nut' since a toddler, as a young adult I riding smooth-gaited horses. I've advocated and tried to promote the Walking Horse since 1987 (24 years).
Upon entering the show world as an owner/exhibitor (about 20 years ago) I learned of the routine burning of horses' legs chemically. This was one method of several to help the 'trainer' succeed. Clearly, I was a novice!
Over time, I learned that basic cruelty was commonly accepted and expected in that show world. People were driven by the desire for public and/or professional status. I learned too much of various ways to cause pain in the animal.
The initial members of NWHA began organizing those who cared for their animals humanely, regardless of show performance. The horse was expected to move freely and naturally, With No Pain.
My best advice to NWHA is to stay true to these roots. Remember the simplicity of the natural horse. Promote That Horse. Train judges who grade by this standard. Train judges to grade Down any horse performing a gait not normally seen in a horse in the pasture.
Form a committee/s to describe the marketable assets of this horse. To describe the existing market for the horse, future hopes of expanding this market, and ways to make this breed a trustworthy business investment for trainers/breeders/ others in the industry.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Observing horses moving without pain, in seeing the growth of the numbers of people proud to promote their pain free horse. Seen the growth of or recognition of the number of people who enjoy a smooth moving horse in many activities other than the show world.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Grow the market for the breed by expanding on other talents than the smooth gait. Promote all the assets of this breed. Describe, without hesitation, areas in which other breeds may excel. Educate the membership through offering continuing ed opportunities. Promoting ways that members could demonstrate advancement in their horsemanship. Identify differences in our members, then promote programs designed for these markets. Make membership an asset to each member!