Edited from KEEP press release--The Kentucky Equine Education Project announced Nov. 29 that it has provided funding to 147 equine programs around the state in the past 10 months. To date, $100,343 has been reinvested in Kentucky's horse economy in 67 counties.KEEP created the local funding program as part of a grassroots efforts to help horse organizations around the state. The grant program is divided into four categories: 4-H clubs; horse shows; equine associations; and equine education programs at Kentucky's colleges and universities. Each category has a funding limit and specific criteria the applicants must meet to be considered."When we began traveling the state last year, we realized there are a lot of equine enthusiasts and groups that struggle to find funding for their local 4-H programs, county horse shows, and for their equine association events," said KEEP's executive director Jim Navolio. "In addition, there are some great equine programs at colleges and universities throughout the state and they need funding assistance. Although we can't fully fund any one program, we've found that our small donations of $250, $400 or $500 mean a lot to these groups."KEEP was formed in May 2004 to promote and protect Kentucky's horse industry. The group is currently in a membership drive to reach 10,000 members by Jan. 1, 2006. Currently, the organization has more than 8,900 members statewide.KEEP was successful during the 2005 legislative session in helping secure appropriations for a breeder incentive fund to benefit all breeds, and in getting a tax waived that was placed on out-of-state buyers which caused them to remove their horses from the state.The group recently announced a plan to seek a Constitutional amendment in the upcoming legislative session to allow full casino-style gaming for racetrack operated facilities with dedicated revenues for education, local governments, healthcare and the environment. KEEP will once again seek the removal of sales tax that horse owners pay on feed, fencing, and equipment.