This apology letter was written to the MFTHBA as a paid advertisement in the May 2006 Journal publication.

The MFTHBA Board of Directors read it in their meeting and after voting, they refused to print it.

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To all of the good folks who were offended by my advertisement in the annual show and celebration catalog, I want to apologize. I did not intend to offend or hurt the feelings of anyone. If there is an apology due though, I believe it is due to the founders of this fine breed of horse that worked so hard to develop the smooth riding and sure footed horses we have today. Also, due is an apology to the many breeders around the world that have invested their time and money to raise fine bred Missouri Foxtrotting Horses.

 

This apology is long over due from those who have done so much to degrade the reputation of our breed by showing them in gaits that do not truly represent what the foxtrotter was developed to do. I have traveled all over the United States promoting the foxtrotting horse. The very biggest obstacles I always have to overcome are the false beliefs that the modern show ring horse-people have created. A couple of examples are the beliefs that foxtrotters are not smooth to ride and always fall down in rough terrain. It is obvious where these opinions came from; all you have to do is go to the shows or watch the videos of them. Exaggerated animation, extended stride, and elevation in canter, are just some elements of the gait that have ruined the ride the foxtrotter was meant to give. I find it a shame that the biggest hurdles those of us raising foxtrotters, to sell to the public market, have to overcome are the false ideas created about our wonderful breed of horse, by our show ring friends!

 

Some say it’s more exciting to see horses travel in this manner, but I disagree. Nothing gives me a bigger thrill than hearing that wonderful cadence, “A Chunk of Meat and Two Potatoes” and seeing a horse float past me like a heavenly dream. I propose that our show rings start exhibiting and judging horses for the quality of ride they give, not the animation. Otherwise we are headed down the same road the TWH breed has already gone: A division in our breed, where there are two kinds of horses...smooth riding trail horses and rough riding show horses. Of course there are a few who will argue that the performance show champions today are the smoothest to ride. This claim does not even justify a response, other than to tell them to watch the videos. I think it makes sense that World Champion Foxtrotters should be among the world’s smoothest horses to ride. After all, isn’t that what they were developed for? Alma DeMille

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The following letter was written in June 2006 to the MFTHBA board:

Thank you for sending the refund for my ad (letter) that the board voted not to run in The Journal. I am not surprised that the board would vote that way, but I think it unfair that they would choose to ban my letter since the purpose of the board is to serve the members. In the annual show and celebration catalog I ran an ad that brought me a literal shower of responses from all across the country. If the board's interest is really to bring "a uniformity of opinion among the members of the Association in order to give to the public the information desired as to conformation, size, carriage, gait, etc." * then the board should be aware of the response I received from my advertisement.
 
I received in the form of phone calls, letters, and emails the following responses:
 
23 that were upset &/or disagreed with me. (18 of them are show folks within 100 miles of Ava, MO. and 5 from other parts of the country.)
 
86 responses were from people expressing appreciation for my ad and stating that they too have been frustrated with the modern day show horse trends making the MFT Horse look unappealing to the public market where they try to sell their horses each year. (4 of these responses were within 100 miles of Ava and the rest came from all over the country...from Florida to Oregon and almost every state in between.)
 
If these numbers are indicative of the way members of the MFTHBA feel and think, then maybe the board should reevaluate how they determine what ads to run in our publications. I believe that the voice of all members should be heard, even those I disagree with. Our publications should be a place for ALL members to express themselves and their views, and no one should have their opinions banned from publishing by the board, who was elected to serve the members.
 
Sincerely, Alma DeMille
 
PS: Please read this during the next board meeting. Thank you.
 
 

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