FRANK EICHLER, FORMER TWHSO CHAIR & HEAD OF INVESTOR GROUP WHO WANTS TO BUY WHAT HE CALLS THE TWHBEA “PERFORMANCE” DIVISION
Financially, Frank Eichler is stronger than 20 acres of newly mown garlic. He is the CEO and principal of an outfit called OHL which has about 7,000 employees and provides a transportation network for lots of items to get to places where they can be sold. It’s called global supply chain solutions.
Tennessee Walking Horse wise, Frank is a nice guy who has spent plenty of money in the business, but he sometimes appears naive sometimes to the ways of the wiley trainers. His wife likes horses and he is supportive of her interest.
To his credit, Mr. Eichler was one of the brains behind swabbing, but he got blowback from the WHTA leaders on making it completely transparent so the idea basically flopped. The trainers balked apparently because they decided they apparently couldn’t make their living putting everything out on top of the table regarding the swabbing results.
The trainers also flipped Eichler off when Frank called a “crucial” State of Affairs meeting in 2011 at the Blue Ribbon Circle room at the Celebration. Seems like they had an important Trainer’s Auxiliary sponsored basketball game in Shelbyville, so the went to that and left Frank to make his pronouncements.
Last year, when Frank wrote one of his “editorials” which he is prone to do, he slipped up and said something about “partnering with HSUS”, and he learned quickly that the Lickers will praise you one day and then eat their own the next.
In Tennessee terms, Eichler is basically an auslander. He doesn’t seem to fully grasp the origins of TWHBEA which was started in 1935 by farmers living in Middle Tennessee who were trying to organize the registration of the saddle horse they had developed over about 100 years of selective breeding.
Frank Eichler is one of another long line of folks who have been successful in their careers, yet come into the walking horse business thinking they have all the answers.
But I digress.
Eichler has a group of “investors”, and they want to buy the “Performance Division of TWHBEA. Eichler defines the “Performance Division” as those horses that are shown in the show ring and are impacted by the Whitfield Bill”. In May 30, 2013 written proposal to by the “Performance Division” – Eichler reminds the TWHBEA EC, to who he addressed his “buy out” deal, in a mildly accusatory manner of having said: “the current situation of the Tennessee Walking Performance Horse has and is causing significant concern or internal disputes about the support of this division within TWHBEA.”
Eichler basically “lectured” the EC in his proposal saying, “Recently your Executive Committee voted to support the Whitfield bill from a legal standpoint. Unfortunately your Executive Committee support of that bill signifies that, at least you, Mr. Irby, the past President, and the majority of the Executive Committee approve of the elimination of the Tennessee Walking Performance Horse since that is the effect of the Whitfield bill. In addition it is very clear that you and your supporters are not interested in trying to eliminate the problems facing the Performance Horse but are instead supportive of eliminating the Performance Horse itself.“
Continuing the lecture, Professor Eichler said, “The group I represent have invested a lot of time, money and energy into the Tennessee Walking Performance Horse. We have also investigated the cost and process for a New Registry for the Performance Horse. We have identified the necessary software, domain name, required overhead including space and personnel and of course the ability to legally and quickly establish a New Registry. Then Eichler makes a veiled threat, “While we are prepared to move on this initiative we recognize the impact such action would have on the overall Industry and therefore in the interests of all involved we have decided to approach your problem in a different way.”
Continuing his somewhat condescending mildly threatening tone saying, “Your recent actions, and those of the majority of the Executive Committee have convinced our group that allowing you to continue to criticize and denigrate the Performance horse is unacceptable, causes a significant negative financial decline in the value of the Performance Horse and is overall a gross mismanagement of your fiduciary obligations to TWHBEA, the Industry, and the Performance Horse which has been the foundation of TWHBEA itself. As such we are prepared to lift this burden from you, Mr. Irby and TWHBEA.”
It is interesting to note that Tracy Boyd, formerly President of TWHBEA and now its Executive Director, previously worked for Frank Eicher as Breeding Manage at Eichler’s Rising Star Ranch before going to work for Baskin-Irby Construction Company.
Eichler didn’t hear back from TWHBEA from his May 30, 2013 missive, so on July 17, 2013, he emailed the EC again saying, “Sent: Wed, Jul 17, 2013 9:38 am, Subject: RE: Letter of Intent, “I understand the Executive Committee has met since I sent this proposal and will be meeting again this Thursday. I and my investors would appreciate it if you would let us know if we can answer any questions or make any clarifications to move this matter forward. I would also be happy to discuss this matter in person with the Executive Committee or the TWHBEA Board if that helps. If not please be assured that we are very interested in pursuing this opportunity and would appreciate your response to this offer at your earliest convenience.”
Eichler’s email went to:
“From: Eichler, Frank
To: Tracy Boyd
Sent: Wed, Jul 17, 2013 9:38 am
Subject: RE: Letter of Intent”
There have been rumblings for some time that Eichler’s well heeled group would like to corner the “Big Lick” brand and give it a new name – “Tennessee Walking Performance Horse”.
Sounds like the making of a hostile takeover.