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National Walking Horse Association

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Services, Animals

Mission: Promoting the naturally-gaited walking horse and its humane treatment.

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Tennessee Walking Horse can still hold it's head high as a breed with organizations like The National Walking Horse Association promoting the sound flat shod naturally gaited walking horse. No gimmicks, no soring. Just a naturally talented breed with appeal to the whole equestrian world.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What a wonderful organization dedicated to promote the SOUND Tennessee Walking Horse. A member for 10+ years, it has been a great activity for our children and entire family. Great people and wonderful horses make for a Great organization.

NWHA has never waivered from it original goal. Through thick and thin of the USDA HPA world, NWHA has always stood firm for the horse. Based all decisions on doing the right thing when it came to God's wonderful creatures.

What a great place to bring my children up in - knowing the difference between right and wrong when it came to treating animals.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The National Walking Horse Association is a prime of example of how things can be changed for the positive. That change came courage of a few dedicated people. Those few sacrificed their time, effort and own resources to start this organization. Because of those few, our organization has come a long way in a short time. Those few have multiplied and continue to grow.

The NWHA is an organization that promotes the sound practices of training and exhibiting the Tennessee Walking horse. It is also an organization that is just fun to be a part of. People encourage their fellow exhibitor and are more than willing to lend a helping hand. This organization looks for the positive.

Thanks to the founding members for their forsight and courage to establish a change in the world of the Tennessess Walking Horse.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

For years the Tennessee Walking Horse has endured abuse in the form of soring. In 1970 the Federal Government responded with the Horse Protection Act. Since the beginning, the Act has attempted to stop the abuse of this magnificent breed but has failed. The practice of abuse continues. The National Walking Horse Association has come about for those of us like me that want a forum to show our sound and natural moving gaited horses. I believe that in the near future they will become the organization of choice for the world to showcase the breed. As a hint of whats to come they were asked to represent the bred in the World Equestrian Games. I believe this is a wonderful organization, with a true message of hope for the future of the Tennessee Walking Horse.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

The National Walking Horse Association was formed in 1998 to promote the sound Tennessee walking horse and to end the practice of soring.

Most people outside the horse world, and even some people inside it, are not aware of the abusive training and showing practices of a certain segment of the Tennessee walking horse world. These practices have existed for decades and there is specific legislation prohibiting it, known as the Federal Horse Protection Act. The NWHA offers a show circuit for owners who wish to compete against only sound, healthy horses. At their horse shows, entries are carefully examined prior to admittance, and there is zero tolerance for horses that have any signs of present or past abuse. Horses that do not meet the standard are rejected; while their owners are ticketed and face other consequences.

The NWHA continues its goal of advocating for the end of abusive and inhumane treatment of the Tennessee walking horse. Receipt of the prize money would assist this group in acting on behalf of these voiceless animals.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

I have been an owner and exhibitor of the Twh for over40 years. The awefull things they to to compete with these beautiful animals was more that I could deal with. When NWHA started that put the fun back in showing for many of us and especially for the animal. we all show and compete and trail ride on sound animals. It is marvelous.

Review from Guidestar

Jean-Marie D.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved in the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry for over 20 years now. As a child I enjoyed trail riding and showing in youth classes at local shows. My father and I seemed to collect horses over the years, for both the trails and the "rail" and I was very blessed to have owned and own some truly wonderful horses that have become forever friends. The Tennessee Walking Horse Industry is very complex you see. It is comprised of such a wide variety of individuals that each have their own agendas and wish to promote that agenda entirely. My father and I have always and ever been advocates for the SOUND horse and we beleive that horses should be treated and respected and given an environment as close to their natural one as possible to flourish. For an individual like myself who loves to show and wants to educate and network with other SOUND horse people, the NWHA provides a wonderful place to do this. It is truly the only Horse Industry Organization that stands by their word with fair inspections and honest judging. It is a wonderful tapestry of individuals that beleives in the naturally gaited horse and how to go about showcasing their abilities the best way for the horse and the rider. The NWHA also provides an outlet for trail riders, youth and versatility, which are all areas where the Tennessee Walking Horse excels and should be in the public spotlight. The NWHA is the only Tennessee Walking Horse HIO that was invited to preform at the World Equestrian Games that was held in Kentucky this past year (2010) and I can tell you that this came to be becasue of the amazing volunteers, the organization members and the fact that we as gaited horse lovers police ourselves and want good genuine people to promote our breed and not be a deterrent to our wonderful breed. The NWHA does what no other HIO does, it provides unity among it's members and gives us a safe place to exhibit and promote our horses with like-minded individuals. I can honestly say that from showing for over 20 years that this is the first time I have actually felt like I am a part of a family, a show family that appreciates my dedication, my love and my obvious sincerity to the Tennessee Walking Horse and the NWHA not only rewards those that they feel are exceptional they stand by those individuals ideas and contributions. I have been welcomed to the NWHA with warm welcome arms, unlike other organizations I have belonged to in the past and I feel that the NWHA has high standards for it's members yet each and everyone of us want to be a part of this organization because of that. This is an organization with integrity, character and morals and for that I am grateful because I have not been able to find that or the comraderie in other organizations like I have found in this one. A+ to the NWHA and what they provide, their mission sells itself.

Review from Guidestar

Margo K.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The NWHA has helped wonderful, kind, athletic horses, to be taken away from inhumane treatment, and give them an opportunity to be shown in venues, where their natural talents and great dispositions can be appreciated.
It also affords riders of all abilities, and disabilities, to enjoy these great horses, whether they are ridden on the trail, in the show ring, or in their versatility events like dressage, trail obstacle, reining, jumping, etc. Thus NWHA is providing opportunities for a great breed of horses and people of all kinds of abilities to enjoy them.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

NWHA has definitely changed the overall image of the Tennessee Walking Horse for the better. Before NWHA, there were few horse shows that one could exhibit their horse and know they were on a level playing field. NWHA has changed that, and given the TWH owners a venue to show with respect, sound practices, and horses who are not in pain and who have better conformation due to more selective breeding practices to get back to that original natural "walking" horse instead of the pacey big lick horses. There is a huge youth membership in this organization, and versatility of the horses owned by these youth is amazing to watch at shows. I love taking my students to shows now, they aren't exposed to unethical training practices at NWHA events.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Before I delve into positive impacts, influences, mission, vision of the NWHA, I believe the reader needs a quick synopsis of why the NWHA exists today.
Since the 1940's the inhumane training practices of the Tennessee Walking Horse(TWH) became widespread and prevalent. The practice of soring the front ankles to enhance their gait for national competition became the norm and IS heavily ingrained in the culture of the padded performance TWH industry . Although the Federal Horse Protection Act of 1977 was meant to protect the horse and prohibit such hideous acts, these practices are STILL prevalent in 2011.
The NWHA was formed for breeders, owners, and exhibitors who love the breed and realize there IS a better way. With a strong mission statement and a vision to promote the naturally gaited Walking Horse, it offers a wonderful alternative to showcase and promote the flat-shod TWH. Since I have been involved with this organization I have witnessed this organization change the hearts and minds of persons who have participated on the "inhumane" side of the TWH industry. The NWHA continues to promote positively, maintain their integrity, and allows the membership to drive the organization.

In summary, the NWHA offers a three (3) important aspects. 1) It offers a culture and vision for members to be involved in and organization who supports the HUMANE treatment and training of such a wonderful breed. 2) It offers stringent enforcement of the Horse Protection Act, to ensure the horse is protected 3) Offers an alternative for those who EVENTUALLY realize inhumane treatment of the TWH is ethically and morally wrong.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

It was through the NWHA that I was introduced to the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. Watching the behavior of these horses and their owners/riders at a large regional horse show, with one rider even asking me to hold her horse while she checked on a ruling, showed me some very positive things about this breed of horse and the friendliness of the people within NWHA. Several months later I adopted a Walking Horse of my own. The NWHA had opened my eyes to what a Walking Horse should be and could be as an alternative to the gross exageration that I had seen in the media. The NWHA promotes the versatility and utility of the Walking Horse, sponsors many events and activities that appeal to Walking Horse owners, young and old, as well as works toward developing the potential of the breed in general. Because of the information that I've learned from the people within this organization I was able to help a friend to find a Walking Horse of her own. It is a tribute to this organization that they were selected to be the breed affiliate for the Walking Horse at the 2010 World Equestrian Games. A high honor indeed. This board and members of this organization make the NWHA a "people-oriented" horse association that I'm proud know.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 3

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.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The National Walking Horse Association changed an industry. My Wife and I were months away from quitting as Professional Horse Trainers because our industry had become so corrupt. Horses were suffering and people were cheating by paying off judges to receive higher placements during the World Championships. If the national news media covered the Walking Horse, it was usually talking about the horrible abuse of horses found within our industry. NWHA stopped this abuse. They created a no tolerance industry, where if you were found to be abusing horses you were suspended from competition for life. Over the last decade, the signs of abuse are almost forgotten and the show ring has become a friendly place again because the abusers left and the membership united against them. NWHA taught us that no government agency, like the USDA or the Humane Society, can stop abuse by themselves, it takes the public or the membership of an organization like ours to unite against it. You must point a finger at the abuser and call their actions out for what they are. The National Walking Horse Association and its members chose to do this and save a breed of horse that suffered under horrible training and showing abuse. NWHA now has 8 of the 10 largest Walking Horse show under its supervision and MacGregor Stables is proud to be a part of this movement and association. Our business is doing great and we just finished representing the Walking Horse at the World Equestrian Games in Lexington Kentucky last fall, which is the largest all horse competition in the world and the first time that it was held in the USA. MacGregor Stables also became the most winning team in the Walking Horse industry because we chose to believe in a new idea, horses could win while showing sound in a protected environment. Thank you, NWHA, for all that you did to save our amazing breed of horse and congratulations for being accepted into the United States Equestrian Federation as an associate member.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a new owner of Walking Horses, The National Walking Horse Association, has helped me have a deeper, well rounded, knowledge base of the Walking Horse. I have been provided with "go to" resources, and helpful voices for all questions regarding Walking Horses. This breed and those involved in the Association could not be deemed as anything but relaxed, friendly, and versatile! Debra Conaway

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

The National Walking Horse Association is a family friendly organizaiton whose mission is to protect the Tennessee Walking Horse from the abusive practices that some use to train the horses of the show world. NWHA offers a sound, level playing field for everyone from the novice horse owner to the professional trainer to show their horses. NWHA was recently accepted as a associate organization by the United States Equestrian Federation and is the first TN Walking Horse Association to receive this honor.

In addtion, the FEI selected the NWHA as the sole breed representative of the TN Walking Horse during the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

With an office at the prestigious KY Horse Park, NWHA not only offers a sound, competitive show venue but has developed programs for verstality promotion, youth and trail. NWHA is partnered, as a supporter of the American Competitive Trail Horse Association in their efforts of finding jobs and caring for the thousands of rescue horses living in the USA.

Through educational programs and expansion nationwide, NWHA is bringing the issue of abusive practices in the TN Walking Horse world closer to an end. The 100% USDA Horse Protection Act compliancy is a title that only NWHA holds. Through the dedicated inspectors and judges, as well as the directors and executive committee, NWHA has become a valuable asset in the fight against abuse.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NWHA is an organization that promotes the "chemical-free" Tennessee Walking Horse.

This is NWHA's 11th year of promoting "sound" horses and giving those that love them an opportunity to show and compete fairly.

I started showing Tennessee Walking Horses about 20 years ago. I knew going into the show ring that the best ribbon I could ever hope to win was a 5th or 6th, if any, due to the fact that all of the competition was "chemically" soring their horses. (chemicals are placed around the horse's front feet, wrapped in plastic to burn the flesh & next chains are applied to the "sore" area. The horse hurts too badly to put weight on the front feet resulting in an exageratedly "big" front end.) The pain is excrutiating.

NWHA was started at great personal expense to a few brave & humane individuals who no longer wanted to show against "sore" horses. They received death threats and the lives of their horses were threatened by those who didn't see a problem with the abusive training methods. IF they were successful in starting an organization that did not believe in hurting horses, then that would mean that soring must be WRONG.

Now, over a decade later, NWHA is going strong & increasing in members while the "other" Walking Horse organizations are imploding. Heartfelt thanks goes to the USDA for policing the horse shows through strict inspections that penalize soring. And great admiration to NWHA for providing the Tennessee Walking Horse with a "pain-free" arena to show & their owners a "non-abusive" family with which to belong.

Review from Guidestar