Lexington, KY (July 24, 2023) - The Kentucky Horse Council’s three-day Large Animal Emergency Rescue (LAER) training is slated to return to the Kentucky Horse Park on Sept. 15-17, 2023.
LAER is taught by Justin and Tori McLeod of 4Hooves Large Animal Services, LLC, a North Carolina-based company that specialized in large animal technical rescue emergency response and training for emergency responders and veterinary professionals. The course is geared specifically toward veterinarians, emergency responders and animal control officers, but horse owners and industry professionals will also find the course beneficial in learning how to care for and extract equines in potentially hazardous situations while remaining safe.
The course will cover topics like animal behavior; handling and restraint; containment; motor vehicle accidents and overturned trailers; entrapments; unstable ground incidents (mud, ditch, ice, etc.); water rescues; and natural disaster preparation and response. Specialized instruction will be given to participants based on their background and auditors are welcome.
“After taking the Kentucky Horse Council’s Large Animal Emergency Rescue class, we learned what type of equipment we needed to be able to respond to an emergency involving a large animal, and how to use it,” says Kenny Pratt, chief of the Marshall County Rescue Squad. “After I took the class, I applied for – and received -- grants to help us purchase the necessary equipment.”
Soon after the equipment arrived, the rescue squad had the opportunity to use it, assisting with animals that had been involved in the devastating tornadoes that swept through Western Kentucky. Pratt and his team responded to horses that were down and entangled in barbed wire. “Because of the training we received, we were able to go up to the horses, calm them and protect their faces the way we had been taught. We then used our new equipment to secure the horse’s safety. We would not have been able to work as well or efficiently had we not taken the KHC class. I highly recommend this training to any emergency service or rescue squad -- when you least expect it is when you’re going to have to figure out how to get a horse or a cow out of a tricky situation.”
“The Large Animal Emergency Rescue training has proven to be a great learning experience for all attendees, but specifically for veterinarians, who learn how to work alongside both first responders and volunteers. All participants receive in-depth, technical training on how to safely handle emergency situations in which they may be asked to work together,” says Dr. Rocky Mason, owner of Lexington Equine Medical Group and head of the Kentucky Horse Council Health and Welfare committee. “This training also focuses on situational awareness and preparedness, both of which are necessary for a favorable outcome for the animal involved while keeping everyone safe.”
Continuing education credits for veterinarians are available through the American Association of Veterinary State Boards. Sponsorship opportunities are available here. For more information, click here or contact the Kentucky Horse Council at 859-367-0509 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about 4Hooves Large Animal Services at 4hoovessmart.com.
By Holly Wiemers
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 12, 2023) – The University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Horse Council, committed to both safeguarding and promoting the well-being of equines and equine agriculture in the state, recently collaborated on the 2022 Kentucky Equine Survey. The report gathered data on all Kentucky horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.
According to the survey, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is home to 209,500 equine and the most populous breed is Thoroughbred, followed by Quarter Horse and Walking Horse. The total value of equine and equine-related assets in the state was $27.7 billion in 2022, up more than 18% from 2012.This is true even though there are currently almost 14% fewer equine living in the Commonwealth than in 2012.
Jill Stowe, professor and agricultural economist for the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Department of Agricultural Economics led the survey, a follow-up to the initial study completed in 2012. The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service implemented the survey. It was conducted in partnership with the Kentucky Horse Council and with support from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and other equine-affiliated organizations. Data collected between July and October 2022 was analyzed to determine core population demographic breakdown and economic information related to the equine industry in the commonwealth.
“In the past 10 years, Kentucky’s equine industry has seen areas of contraction along with areas of growth,” Stowe said. “Although the total number of equine and equine operations has decreased, the average value of equine has increased. Additionally, revenues for equine operations increased more than expenses, a promising metric for commercial operations. Overall, this report reinforces the economic significance of equine agriculture, which remains vibrant and strong as a signature industry in Kentucky.”
The Kentucky Equine Survey illustrated that equine are present throughout the commonwealth and that the industry needs supporting businesses, such as veterinarians and farriers, as well as fencing, feed, bedding, insurance, farm equipment, pharmaceuticals providers and specialized educational opportunities, among others.
The survey also demonstrated that Kentucky’s equine industry, particularly in the central Bluegrass region, is an economic cluster. Economic clusters are important contributors to an area’s economy; previous study results justify the support and enhancement of the state’s equine industry.
“Though the equine numbers in Kentucky have declined slightly over the past decade, this survey reinforces there are many reasons for optimism, specifically with regard to equine welfare,” said Sarah Coleman, KHC executive director. “A smaller supply of equine, coupled with the decline in nonpaid transfers, suggests that the potential for horses to become unwanted and at risk has lessened.”
UK and KHC in partnership with NASS completed a comprehensive Kentucky equine industry study in 2012, the first in more than 30 years. Survey creators intend to do follow-up studies every 10 years to accurately monitor the state of the industry in Kentucky.
“Equine agriculture is a signature industry for Kentucky,” said James MacLeod, UK Ag Equine Programs director and researcher in UK’s Gluck Equine Research Center. “This second decennial survey will provide critical information to enable informed decision-making by equine industry leaders, public policy makers, veterinary health professionals and people considering equine-related business investments.”
Stowe explained that Kentucky’s equine industry experienced significant changes in the past decade, including emerging from the Great Recession in 2008-2009, navigating a global pandemic in 2020-21 and recovering from multiple natural disasters in 2021 and 2022; all facets of the industry have had to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape, she said.
“The challenges faced–and their outcomes–are not unique to equine in the commonwealth,” she said. “Nearly all production livestock in the state, and throughout the United States, have been experiencing the same trends, for a multitude of reasons.”
While all breed numbers experienced declines from 2012 to 2022, the average value of equine increased, even after adjusting for inflation. This inflation-adjusted average value of equine increased for nearly all breeds, as well as in 82 of Kentucky’s 120 counties.
The number of equine operations in the state declined 11.4%, which triggered corresponding declines in total operation acreage (18.6%) and equine-related activity acreage (15.9%). In addition, the number of acres held in land preservation programs was down 3.9%.
Kentucky’s decline in equine and equine operation numbers mirrors those found nationwide by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Census of Agriculture. The contraction in Kentucky’s equine industry is similar to beef cattle production across the nation, which is at its lowest level since 1962.
An important trend for commercial equine operations is the marked increase in income and sales over the past 10 years. Expenses have increased, but at a lower rate than revenues. After adjusting for inflation, operating expenses, not including labor, were just marginally higher than in 2012 and capital expenditures were up 131%. Labor expenses (payroll and non-wage benefits) increased approximately 134%.
Study highlights include:
For the full report and access to all supplementary material, please visit https://kentuckyhorse.org/2022-Kentucky-Equine-Survey
Lexington, KY (June 13, 2023)– Equine neglect and abuse cases often have more complications than cases involving their small-animal counterparts. With decisions involving everything from whether to feed in place or remove the horses to who takes responsibility for them if they must leave their home, neglect cases involving horses can be difficult and time consuming for officials -- and seem to take too long to address for people witnessing the situation.
The Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) will welcome Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Chief Livestock Agent Marcus Avery, Deputy Chief Livestock Agent Shane Mitchell and Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control Cruelty Investigator Jai Hamilton for a candid conversation about how equine neglect and abuse cases are handled in the Commonwealth.
This Dinner & Discussion (formerly called the Kentucky Equine Networking Association or “KENA”) will take place on Tuesday, July 11, at the Kentucky Horse Park Visitor Center, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. All equine enthusiasts are welcome.
Questions addressed will include:
Audience questions are encouraged.
“The KHC routinely fields questions from people asking how they can report possible equine neglect and abuse,” says KHC Executive Director Sarah Coleman. “We’re grateful to be a resource for these caring individuals, but there are a lot of questions we’re unable to answer as we aren’t animal control or livestock investigators. Offering the equine community an opportunity to talk with state and county officials who deal with these cases is a great way to open lines of communication and to educate horse owners and enthusiasts about how the cases are handled, as well.”
This dinner is part of the Horse Council’s Dinner & Discussion event series, which provides an educational and social venue for equine professionals and horse enthusiasts from all breeds and disciplines to share ideas, business strategies and knowledge; and to obtain up-to-date information on horse and farm management, as well as on issues affecting the equine industry.
For details and reservations for the July 11 event, click here. Tickets are $30. Interested in sponsoring this event? Click here.
ABOUT THE KENTUCKY HORSE COUNCIL: The Kentucky Horse Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and development of the Kentucky equine community through education and leadership. The KHC provides educational programs like large animal emergency rescue training and livestock investigation training; networking opportunities through the Dinner & Discussion series; personal liability insurance through individual and family memberships; and financial assistance programs for horse owners in need through the Save Our Horses (SOHO) fund. Learn more at kentuckyhorse.org
The Kentucky Horse Council’s (KHC) first Livestock Investigation Training (LIT) for 2023 is slated to take place July 10 through 12 in Lexington. Registration for all county and state officials, including animal control officers, sheriffs, police officers and other law enforcement officials and prosecutors in Kentucky, is free; registration for equine rescue and adoption organization employees is $150 for the three-day training. Out-of-state officials are welcome should space allow.
Developed by the KHC in partnership with the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association (KCA), with input from experienced enforcement officers, veterinarians and livestock producers, this course is tailored to the needs of the Commonwealth. During these trainings, officials will learn how to safely and strategically manage horses, cattle and other livestock running at large, as well as how to identify at-risk animals.
LIT attendees will be hosted at the Secretariat Center, a Thoroughbred reschooling facility located at the Kentucky Horse Park, and the Blue Grass Stockyards. There they will learn how to handle horses and cattle, assess body condition score in both species, identify situations that need intervention, and apply Kentucky statutes to animal-associated court cases. Attendees will also practice handling and evaluating live horses and cattle, as well as examining Kentucky statutes and enforcement procedures.
Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Chief Livestock Agent Marcus Avery and Deputy Chief Livestock Agent Shane Mitchell will teach the portion of the class directly related to investigation of potential abuse and neglect cases; documentation; court cases and how to handle horses and cattle involved in ongoing litigation.
“The Livestock Investigation Trainings provide vital education on animal abuse and neglect to our Kentucky peace officers and to other attendees involved in livestock welfare and care,” said Sarah Coleman, Kentucky Horse Council executive director. “We are deeply thankful for the ongoing participation of the state’s livestock investigators, who provide valuable insight into the nuances of Kentucky’s animal welfare laws and offer attendees candid conversation and support. Their involvement is critical in ensuring no officer or official feels alone when dealing with a possible neglect or abuse case.”
Sponsorship of this program allows the Kentucky Horse Council to provide free training registration to county and state officials, including animal control officers, police, sheriffs and other law enforcement personnel. Download the sponsor packet here.
The KHC has educated more than 290 officers and officials from 62 Kentucky counties since the inception of the trainings in 2008. This course is open to out-of-state officials and equine enthusiasts for a fee of $250 per person. Register for the course here.
For more information, visit www.kentuckyhorse.org or contact the Kentucky Horse Council at 859-367-0509 or email@example.com
While the old adage “no hoof, no horse” is close to every horseman’s heart, the term “therapeutic shoeing” may make a horse owner’s heart race at the thought of a potentially arduous, expensive journey takes shape.
Dr. Raul Bras, a veterinary podiatrist with Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, will explain therapeutic shoeing and its application to performance horses at the Kentucky Horse Council’s Dinner & Discussion (formerly called the Kentucky Equine Networking Association or “KENA”) on Tuesday, May 23, at the Kentucky Horse Park Visitor Center. Held from 5:30 to 8 p.m., this educational series is geared toward equine professionals, horse owners, riders and other equine enthusiasts.
More than 80 percent of lameness is related to the feet, Dr. Bras says. This often involves hoof capsule distortion, conformation, injury or wear and tear. As both a veterinarian and a Certified Journeyman Farrier, Bras will offer his unique perspective on shoeing performance horses, which can include Western and hunt-seat competition horses, trail horses, racehorses and everything in between: Each discipline puts different stress on the horse’s hooves.
Dr. Bras will focus his presentation on how he looks at a horse as a farrier: from the outside in (how the form and shape of the horse’s foot affects how he goes); and as a veterinarian: from the inside out (using tools to see exactly what is happening inside the hoof capsule and how it affects the horse). Dr. Bras will address not only shoeing horses that are injured or that suffer from diseases like laminitis or navicular, but also how to shoe an equine athlete so it doesn’t get injured in the first place.
Intricately aware of the potential hard feeling that can occur between vets, farriers, owners and others on the horse’s health care team, Dr. Bras is devoted to improving the veterinarian-farrier relationship.
“Trimming and shoeing should marry the shape of the hoof capsule and its internal function, while reducing stress to both prevent injury and treat disease or damage,” says Dr. Fernanda Camargo, associate professor and equine extension specialist in the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences and co-chair of the KHC Dinner & Discussion committee. “Dr. Bras has a unique gift in not only taking potentially complicated issues and distilling them down into easy-to-understand pieces, but also ensuring that horse owners and caretakers don’t get overwhelmed during the shoeing process.”
For details and reservations for the May 23 event, click here. Tickets are $30. Interested in sponsoring this event? Click here.
Gather your friends and test your equine trivia knowledge at our next trivia night, scheduled for April 3 at Dreaming Creek Brewery! Proceeds from the event benefit the KHC's Save Our Horses (SOHO) Fund, which assists vulnerable horses across the Commonwealth by supporting crucial health and welfare services such as feed assistance, gelding and euthanasia.
For just a $30 suggested donation per team (of up to six people) winners get bragging rights, fun prizes and the warm, fuzzy feeling knowing that they're helping Kentucky horses in need.
Visit our KHC Trivia page for more information and the schedule of upcoming events!
Come test your random equine knowledge, drink some local beer and support the Kentucky Horse Council on Wednesday, February 1 at Country Boy Brewing in Georgetown!
For a $20 suggested donation per team, winners get bragging rights, fun prizes and the warm, fuzzy feeling knowing that they're helping Kentucky horses in need through the KHC Save Our Horses (SOHO) fund.
This fund was established to offer financial assistance to vulnerable Kentucky horses, whether that be in the form of hay, feed, gelding or euthanasia. Click here to learn more about SOHO.
KENA Dinner and Discussion Hosted by the Kentucky Horse Council
The looming crisis in large-animal veterinary care has been recognized for years, but it wasn’t until recently that the ramifications of this deficit have made themselves known. While horse owners in Central Kentucky might feel insulated from the effects of a veterinarian shortfall, most of the Commonwealth – and the United States -- is not immune to the situation.
Though there are many facets compounding the rapid decline of practicing large-animal vets, efforts are being made to try to entice vets to enter or stay in large-animal medicine. To learn what some of these initiatives are, the Kentucky Horse Council’s (KHC) next Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA) dinner will host a panel of experts on Tuesday, November 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Kentucky Horse Park Visitor Center in Lexington.
Though most horse owners are aware of what they can personally do to alleviate some of these pressures vets feel, including lack of a work-life balance, increasing debt loads and lack of adequate pay, stress and escalating on-call requirements, what is being done to address this issue on a larger scale? Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture and the state’s veterinary community have proposed multiple ways to encourage those in vet med to stay with a large-animal focus.
KENA attendees will learn about some of these ideas as well as have the chance to ask questions of those leading the charge. Presenters include Kentucky State Veterinarian Dr. Katie Flynn and Debra Hamelback, executive director of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association (KVMA). Questions from the audience are welcomed.
During the dinner, Kentucky Horse Park Executive Director Lee Carter will apprise attendees of the updates slated for the Park in 2023 and beyond. A brief annual meeting for Kentucky Horse Council members will be held before panelists speak in the Ovation Theater in the Visitors Center. The Kentucky Horse Park gift shop will remain open for attendees to get a head start on holiday shopping before the meal is served. Kentucky Horse Council members get 20 percent off all purchases in the KHP gift shop. Become a member here.
KENA is part of the Kentucky Horse Council’s mission to use education and leadership to protect Kentucky horses and support Kentucky horsemen and women. KENA meetings are held quarterly and bring together equine professionals and horse enthusiasts from all breeds and disciplines. Attendees share ideas, business strategies, and obtain up-to-date information on horse and farm management, as well as on issues affecting the equine industry.
KENA is made possible by the generous support of the Equine Land Conservation Resource, Excel Equine, Lexington Equine Medical Group, Mend.Horse, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, the University of Louisville Equine Industry Program and USA Equestrian Trust.
For details and reservations for the November 15 event, click here. Tickets are $30. Interested in sponsoring this event? Click here.
The University of Kentucky recently broke ground and began construction on a new center for aged horse research. The Linda Mars Aged Horse Care and Education Facility, located on the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s C. Oran Little Research Farm, will help lead the way on breakthroughs in care for revered older horses, a demographic estimated to make up approximately one-third of the worldwide horse population.
Support from Linda Mars, philanthropist and avid horsewoman, made the facility possible. The college hopes to complete the center by the end of this year.
UK’s Aged Horse Research Program was established by Amanda Adams, associate professor in the Gluck Equine Research Center. Adams, who specializes in the care of senior horses, is also an adjunct faculty member at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has established and supports a unique herd of aged horses who have conditions ranging from pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, more commonly known as Cushing’s disease, obesity, equine metabolic syndrome and insulin dysregulation.
Adams’ research program currently encompasses the study of equine immunology and endocrinology in the areas of aging, obesity, endocrine diseases, laminitis and stress. In 2019, Adams was named the inaugural MARS EQUESTRIAN™ Fellow in recognition of her expertise in equine science and dedication to creating a better world for horses. Adams was then tapped to provide mentorship to the inaugural MARS EQUESTRIAN Scholar, a doctoral scholarship program designed to engage and train future leaders in equine science. The holistic approach to supporting education and research exemplifies Mars’ dedication to improving equine well-being integrating Mars, Incorporated family of equine-related brands and services, including WALTHAM™ Science, ANTECH™, SOUND®, BUCKEYE™ Nutrition and SPILLERS™ Brands.
According to Adams, the new facility is an important tool helping aged horse research unlock new ways of caring for aging, PPID and EMS or ID horses, conditions that are common as horses age. Additionally, the space will help train the next generation of scientists and will serve as an important resource for the university’s equine undergraduate students.
“I am beyond thrilled, and so very thankful to Linda Mars for her love of the horse and for her innovation and generous support and establishment of this new facility,” Adams said. “We couldn’t do what we do for the senior horse without the support from Linda.”
While many generally associate the Mars name with the chocolate industry, the family also has significant involvement in the equine industry. Their continued participation includes multiple breeds and disciplines from grassroots involvement to the highest echelons of the sport. Active in horse racing for more than a century, perhaps one of their most famous moments was with a family-owned horse named Gallahadion who charged from behind and won as a longshot in the 1940 Kentucky Derby.
The legacy of the Ethel V. Mars Milky Way Farm Stable is interwoven into the UK facility with signage depicting the racing silks of Gallahadion, a nod to Mars’ desire to continue to make a lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of the horse through its entire lifecycle. This continues to the present day with the establishment of MARS EQUESTRIAN, a sponsorship division of Mars, Incorporated, whose purpose is to improve the lives of horses, pets and the people who love them.
“We are incredibly thankful to Linda Mars for her continued support of this important program,” said Nancy Cox, vice president for land-grant engagement and UK CAFE dean. “Not only will her gift help advance aged horse care, but it will also be essential in educating the next generation of equine professionals.”
The new facility will feature state-of-the-art laboratory space to support Adams’ research program, something the research farm currently lacks. Before this facility, the research team transported samples from the farm to campus for analysis. The new space will allow that research to take place onsite and conduct studies that were previously unfeasible to complete.
The new facility will house teaching and workshop space for 40 graduate and undergraduate students. Additionally, it will offer hands-on teaching potential, with additional space for a horse to be present during the demonstrations.
The space will also be home to the MARS EQUESTRIAN Scholar program. The program’s current scholar, Erica Jacquay, is a graduate student under Adams. Her research currently includes a nationwide survey on common reasons for transporting horses and management practices associated with different types of travel, particularly for road transportation of three or fewer hours. She aims to determine the impact of short-term transportation on stress and immune function in horses. Through this study, she will research differences in how transportation stress manifests in different classes of horses, including aged horses and horses with PPID, EMS or ID.
Adams said that in addition to supporting the MARS EQUESTRIAN Scholars program, the facility will also provide other graduate and undergraduate students an opportunity for additional hands-on horse care education and learning about firsthand and managing endocrine diseases.
This space will also host small public workshops that initially will focus on the care of aging horses, nutrition, management, endocrine diseases and other topics.
“I also want to express my sincere thank you to Dr. Pat Harris, director of science, Mars Horsecare, for her continued support of our aged horse research program, as this collaboration all started with Pat, and there are not enough words to truly thank her for her unending support,” Adams said. “She is the most passionate equine scientist in the industry, and we deeply thank her. My goal is to take our program to the next level and continue to make a difference in the field of equine science and for the equine industry and above all for the senior horse population.”
About the Gluck Center
The mission of the Gluck Center is scientific discovery, education and dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of the health and well-being of horses. Gluck Center faculty conduct equine research in seven targeted areas: genetics and genomics, immunology, infectious diseases, musculoskeletal science, parasitology, pharmacology, therapeutics and toxicology and reproductive health. The Gluck Equine Research Center, a UK Ag Equine Program, is part of the Department of Veterinary Science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky.
About MARS EQUESTRIAN™
MARS EQUESTRIAN Sponsorship by Mars, Incorporated is the link between our iconic brands and the equestrian community. For generations, Mars has celebrated a rich equestrian heritage, and through purposeful partnerships, MARS EQUESTRIAN is committed to the sport and building an enduring legacy. From world-class competitions across all equestrian disciplines, to stewarding the power of horses on society and sustainability, MARS EQUESTRIAN is dedicated to our purpose to improve the lives of horses, pets, and the people who love them. For more information please visit our website at www.marsequestrian.com and follow us on social media @marsequestrian.
The last Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) Livestock Investigation Training (LIT) for 2022 is slated to take place October 24-26 in Lexington. Registration for all county and state officials, including animal control officers, sheriffs, police officers and other law enforcement officials and prosecutors in Kentucky, is free; registration for equine rescue and adoption organization employees is $150 for the three-day training.
Developed by the KHC in partnership with the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association (KCA) with input from experienced enforcement officers, veterinarians and livestock producers, this course is tailored to the needs of the Commonwealth. During these trainings, officials will learn how to safely and strategically manage horses, cattle and other livestock running at large, as well as how to identify at-risk animals.
“The Livestock Investigation Trainings provide vital education on animal abuse and neglect to our Kentucky peace officers and to other attendees involved in livestock welfare and care,” said Sarah Coleman, Kentucky Horse Council executive director. “This year, we added a question-and-answer session with some of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s investigators and this has been incredibly well received. In addition to learning the nuances of Kentucky’s animal welfare laws, this class encourages networking and candid conversation among attendees so that no officer or official feels alone when dealing with a possible neglect or abuse case.”
The KHC has educated over 275 officers and officials from 62 Kentucky counties since the inception of the trainings in 2008. This course is open to out-of-state officials and equine enthusiasts for a fee of $250 per person. Register for the course here.
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