The Kentucky Quarter Horse Association, state affiliate of the American Quarter Horse Association--the largest breed registry in the world--and the Kentucky Quarter Horse Racing Association, have joined forces with the Kentucky Equine Education Project to build a broad-based, educational and grassroots initiative for the state's horse industry.
The joint effort is aimed at increasing awareness of the benefits of Kentucky's horse economy, and for the promotion and preservation of jobs and economic opportunities within the Kentucky equine industry.
Named to the KEEP board of directors from a joint Public Policy Committee of the KQHA and the KQHRA were Georgetown resident Bennie Sargent, owner of the High Point Equestrian Center, judge and AQHA director; and Rich Wilcke, Henry County racing Quarter Horse breeder and an equine program instructor at the University of Louisville.
"The Quarter Horse industry is a vital part of Kentucky's collective equine industry, and we look forward to working with these highly experienced representatives to protect and promote Kentucky's signature industry," said Claria Horn Shadwick, executive director of KEEP.
Bruce Brown, KQHA president, said, "This is clearly one of the most important joint efforts ever undertaken in the Commonwealth to solidify our industry's educational efforts on how important horses are to Kentucky's economic well-being. This subject has been given some attention by legislators, but certainly not the attention and priority it deserves. As I travel across the United States I see that Kentucky is universally recognized for our horses of all breeds. Losing that recognition directly, or through any dilution, to other states, is unacceptable. The time has come for the horse industry's unified voice to be heard. We concur with the need to be on the offensive and look forward to working with the leadership of KEEP."
According to the AQHA, and acknowledged by KEEP, there are more registered American Quarter Horses in Kentucky than Thoroughbreds. The AQHA annual report has documented 13,015 owners caring for 35,358 Quarter Horses in Kentucky.
Benton, Ky. resident Eucklie Hensen, president of the Kentucky Quarter Horse Racing Association said, "Quarter Horse owners are from every county in Kentucky. They realize the importance of horses to our state and will make sure their legislators are reminded of that when issues come before them in future legislative sessions."
For more information and to follow future developments visit www.kyqha.com or www.equinealliance.com.