Article From "Saddle & Bridle" , December, 1950
The Walking Horse in 1950
by John C. Askew Jr.
As President of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' Association of America, I am quite naturally, vitally interested in the develoopment and expansion of the Tennessee Walking Horse as a breed.
The phenomenal rise in popularity of these horses and the splendid reception the general public has given them, is not an accident, nor is it, as I have been told the result of smart promotion. It is the inevitable result of quality, disposition, gaits and good looks of the horses themselves.
1950 has been a good year for our horses and our Association. We have tried to be progressive; and every officer, the board of Directors, executive committee, and individual members have worked toward real progress.
On February 2, 1950, the United States Department of Agriculture recognized the Tennessee Walking Horse as a distinct and pure breed of light horse. The Farmer's Bulletin no. 592 (Revised) recognized the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' Association of America, of Lewisburg, Tennessee as the official registry of the breed.
In May, 1950, the Canadian Government also recognized the Tennessee Walking Horse as a distinct and pure breed of light horse, and the registration of these horses is now honored and appear in the National Livestock Records of Ottawa.
The greatest tribute of the year of the Tennessee Walking Horse in my opinion occurred in Washington, District of Columbia, on March 23, 1950, when the Honorable Cordell Hull, former Secretary of State, and one of the greatest living Tennesseans and Americans joined hands with the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders Association of America, and presented to President Enrico Gaspar Dutra, President of Brazil, an outstanding Tennessee Walking Horse Stallion, King of Haven. This horse was flown by air to Brazil, and the President most graciously has written that he is now a Tennessee Walking Horse enthusiast. The future of a Brazilian market for Tennessee Walking Horses is bright indeed. A real and substantial foreign market for our pleasure horses is shown by the fact, that many inquiries have been received for purchases, and a New Orleans steamship line has had a representative in Nashville recently concerning facilities of shipment to South America.
Tennessee Walking Horse exhibitors associations of various states have been chartered for the first time in 1950, and their contribution to the future of the Tennessee Walking Horse cannot be underestimated. The Virginia and California associations both have been very active. The Virginia association has worked out a judges' scoring card that is a real contribution the the association. They also held a week's clinic at Salem, Virginia this year, and Tennessee walking Horse owners and exhibitors attended from all over the state of Virginia. This association, by hard work and example, should be an inspiration for all of us.
The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' Association of America in 1950 has set a standard of conformation and performance for our horses, fully realizing that public education, and the education of Recognized Tennessee Walking Horse Judges will be necessary. Such a standard by which Judges can rely on, as the official standard and Judge accordingly, has long been needed.
The association has appointed a Judges and Judging Committee which is represented by members of sixteen (16) states. This Committee has set up rules for, and established a system whereby members of the association can be qualified , trained, and licensed by the association to judge Tennessee Walking Horses. This I think will have a wholesome and lasting effect upon judging in general.
In doing this our association in now way intends to invade the field of the American Horse Shows Association in regard to Judges, but hopes rather to be of some assistance to them in keeping a check upon the personnel who apply to them for licenses to judge Tennessee Walking Horses, at their licensed shows. The American Horse Shows Association is doing a truly wonderful job, and it is a credit to our horsemen everywhere.
The State of Tennessee, itself has this year made arrangements to include the Tennessee walking Horse in the program at the University of Tennessee Experimental Station. Her only horses with the best blood lines, gaits, conformation and disposition will be placed and the improvement of the breed will receive the best that a great State University can give it. Surely this will mean much in the years to come.
The Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' Association has laid careful plans in 1950, that we hope will become a reality in 1951, in regard to a $10,000 annual stake at the National Celebration. This should be contributed by the State of Tennessee and when the Tennessee Legislature meets in January, 1951, a bill will be introduced for legislative action.
The National Celebration has become an institution in our state and it is our desire to make it, one of the best, if not the best horse show in the United States.
We have been most gratified that in 1950 an appropriate bill has been introduced in Congress to honor the Tennessee Walking Horse; by the issuance of a memorial United States Postage Stamp bearing the picture of a Tennessee Walking Horse. We sincerely trust that Congress sees fit to pass this bill.
Yes, 1950 has been a wonderful year for the Tennessee Walking Horse, and the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders' Association of America. We are proud of our horses, and I heard a farmer remark the other day: "Sure as you are born the Country Horse has come to town."