King Steve,

Some of the peasants in your Kingdom are becoming rather restless.

Here is a letter:

From:  (Former TWHBEA Member)

Sent:  Saturday, January 04, 2014 3:22 PM
To:  Steve Smith

Subject:  TWHBEA’s membership and registration

Mr. Smith,

 I would like to share some thoughts with yourself and the Executive Committee.

 Back in early fall, I heard news that the Executive Committee had voted to support HR1518, of course I then heard that the vote was quickly overthrown.   But I felt at the time that perhaps TWHBEA was starting to understand that the Padded Performance Horse was going to go the way of many out-of-date horse training practices for a more natural show horse.   In support of those who were fighting to make that happen, I sent in a membership for the first time in years, I did so while sending a letter that I would only remain a member as long as I was seeing positive strides in the direction of allowing our horses to be the amazing show horses they are in a natural gait.

 A few weeks later I was very excited to hear about Pat Stout’s poll to TWHBEA members and looked forward to being able to voice my opinion to an organization I was hoping to give my full support to.   But to my dismay, I then learned that Pat Stout was being criticized by board members of TWHBEA  and being threatened with legal action.   To add insult to injury, I am then told by the past president via a letter, that the poll was not sanctioned by TWHBEA and to disregard that poll.   I sent my poll response in anyway, and was thrilled to hear that 63% of those returning the poll agreed with my opinion.   But the   final blow, was when I was told that it made no difference to TWHBEA what their members wanted, in effect, TWHBEA planned on following their own agenda and would not recognize the poll results.


 At that time, I asked for and received my membership money back.

 I keep hearing about how the loss of the padded horse is going to impact the economy of the walking horse industry.   Well, let me tell you how TWHBEA and other similar groups’ decisions to back the Big Lick faction has already DIRECTLY caused financial loss to those organizations:

 1.   I will not show my horses with any HIO that inspects padded horses, nor will I attend an event where padded horses are represented.   I spent over $20,000 showing my horse, buying tack, attending clinics, etc. in the past two years.

 2.   I will not send money to any registry  or business that supports the Big Lick industry or sells product or services specifically for that industry, not a dime.

 3.   I currently own four TWHBEA registered horses, one was just purchased in November – I am not transferring that new horse into my own name as long as TWHBEA publically opposes bill HR1518.   It was bad enough when you were trying to act neutral, but now you have chosen a side, and it’s the wrong one.   TWHBEA loses that registration money and any future registrations on any new horses that I buy.   I will encourage anyone who purchases a horse from me to do the same.

 3.   I recently purchased a lifetime membership with FOSH $600, and a Founder’s Club membership with World Walking Horse Association $1000, I also purchase an annual membership with NWHA and two local flat-shod walking horse clubs for a total of about $150 each year. (money TWHBEA will not be getting).      Total membership fees for 2013 $1750.

 4.   All four of my registered Tennessee Walking Horses are listed with the NWHA at a cost of $30 each.

 5.   I am currently registering all four of my Tennessee Walking Horses with WWHA – cost $30 each.   I will also be applying for hardship papers for my other two unregistered horses as soon as that is available, another $60.

 Sirs, let’s do the math – in just two seasons, I will have spent almost $22,000 on walking horse specific activities and memberships – NONE of which has been given to any organization that directly or indirectly supports the Padded/Performance show horse.   I am only one person, if you add up all of the members that TWHBEA has lost because of it’s support of the Padded/Performance show horse, THERE Sir IS your current financial losses!

 Instead of trying to manage PR, protect the heavily muscled few insiders of the TWH industry, you really need to look at the bigger picture.   There is a world outside of Tennessee and outside of the Padded Tennessee Walker, and that world is closing in around you.   There may still be time for TWHBEA to pull out of this tailspin that they are in, but current actions (like hiring PR firms, spouting non-sense compliance numbers and bringing in lobbyists to put a rosey spin on things) is only going to cause the demise of TWHBEA and further damage the Tennessee Walking Horse Industry.

 Mr. Smith – I have one wish for the Tennessee Walking Horse, and it is that one day I can tell people that I proudly ride and show a Tennessee Walking Horse, because frankly, I cannot do that today.   EVERY time I speak with someone about this great breed that I have learned to love, I MUST clarify everything I say with the fact that I am a “Sound, Flat-Shod Tennessee Walking Horse Owner” and then have to justify that not everyone in the TWH industry is representative of the evil that they see, the evil that is inherent to the image of the Tennessee Walking Horse today because of the Padded Show Horse.

 There may still be time, Sir, to save TWHBEA, but what you and the current executive committee are doing is not the way to do it.   All you have to do is look at the math, look at the dollars currently lost to your organization and other TWH groups who are clinging to an antiquated way of showing and training horses.   Those of us who refuse to sore our horses spend money too – and we are the many, not the few.

 Thank you for your consideration.

(Former) TWHBEA Member


From:  Steve Smith
Sent:  Tuesday, January 07, 2014 10:06 AM
To:  (Former) TWHBEA Member

Subject:  RE: TWHBEA’s membership and registration

 thanks for ur note


The (Former) TWHBEA member found King Steve’s reply as:

“dismissive and unprofessional, especially coming from the head of a large organization.   But it just solidifies my impression of current TWHBEA practices and the Performance Show group”.



Another  subject wrote King Steve on the California Director Removal Issue:

Steve Smith Reply:

“thanks for your note twbea is following our legal advise to the letter its a shame to spend this much time and money when the director in question is up for reelection this year”.




  1. What an arrogant son of a gun. You would think that the head of a international breeder’s organization would know how to compose a business letter & spell. He should step down just on these reasons alone. He & the Licker Crowd are an embarrassment. I say it again Tennessee does not deserve The Walking Horse. As I tend to associate with hoity toity dressage folk, I can’t begin to tell you the looks of horror I have received when I mention I have a Walking Horse, having to quickly add that he is barefoot. Some reactions/quotes I have heard, “What is wrong with those people?” “What type of person does that to a horse?” “Are they crazy?” “I would never own a TWH.” “What are they celebrating?” Former TWHBEA member’s letter was eloquent & concerned. They did not deserve the disrespect & southern ignorance King Steve displayed.

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