Cornbread Thinks: The Convention

June-teenth, the National Cutting Horse Association (NCHA) held its convention in Salt Lake City, not an easy destination for many. A very wealthy family from India managed to have a million-dollar wedding there at the same time. So, it was Cowboys and Indians all weekend – a very cultural experience.

Several years ago, the powers that be decided to have the Convention in different parts of the country every other year. There is a fair amount of discussion about this. Any way you look at it, most people will have to travel. Even if it is in your backyard, your time will be spoken for. The important thing to know is this: No matter where it is, not near enough Directors or Members attend.

Cuttings give us plenty of time to sit around and talk. And talk. And talk. A significant portion of this time is spent complaining while developing some sort of solution, including some of the most convoluted conspiracy theories as to why the NCHA is not bursting with cash. Hundreds of ways to solve judging, payouts, developing new cutters and various other real and perceived issues have been discussed. Yet, all this convo pretty much goes to waste because the thinkers do not come to the one place where these solutions can be recognized and put into play. 

We have committees – several of them – covering all aspects of cutting. These committees meet in the open. Anybody can and will be heard. We have agendas developed in the months and weeks before by the committee members. Call or write your Director or a Committee Member and verbalize your issues. Most of the problems are not new. Solutions are usually what is missing. Complaints are plentiful, solutions are not.

After the open portion, the committees meet in closed session. All committees have NCHA staff in the meetings to help with any conflicts or issues we are unaware of. We are a worldwide organization, and our rules and policies have to work for all. It is fairly ponderous, but this provides time for consideration. The committees then vote on recommendations, which are announced to the members and the Executive Committee (EC) in the general membership meeting, the last event at the convention. These are then on the table for the EC to do more research on and act or not act upon.

Now the important part – the Directors elect other Directors to the EC at Convention. If you are unhappy with actions of the EC, this is how you force change. You take it to your Director. If your Director does not go to the Convention, you have become a gelding, at least with that person. Most areas have more than one Director, so spread your words. Then quit voting for Directors who don’t direct. Who are not visible and available. Who aren’t active. Voting for a name you recognize has elected many a mistake in the NCHA and the real world. 

Being a Director is an honor, a privilege and, most importantly, a responsibility. As a Member, you have a responsibility to use your vote frugally. You do not have to vote for the number allowed. A vote for anyone other than your “good” Director is a vote against your “good” Director. The Chatter publishes who no-showed at the Convention. Ask fellow cutters. Know your Director by sight. Look for them at shows. Call them. It seems simple, but we have way too many ineffective Directors getting re-elected term after term. 

They aren’t bad people. They’re great to be around, even fun. Just like real politicians. They’re very good at getting elected and not good at governing, but good at blaming. I knew nearly every name called at the convention that was not answered. I like all of them and consider them friends. For sure, some have legitimate excuses, though if all who were absent were legit, we have a very unhealthy group. Ask your candidate to get a vet check. 

We have the best group of people and horses ever, right now – a huge herd of young, dedicated, talented and enthusiastic trainers and members. We need these people to sign the Director Consent forms. 

If we would spend one-tenth of the time and scrutiny we spend watching people as we do cows, we would change our governance for the good in short order.

Cornbread thinks: We are the problem and the solution.