KEEP Announces Grants, Team Leader Award

The organization has awarded more than $516,000 numbers horse-related organizations.

(Edited press release)

The Kentucky Equine Education Project announced that it has given more than $516,000 to more than 700 horse-related organizations throughout Kentucky the last four years.

KEEP created this local funding program as part of its grassroots efforts to help horse organizations around the state.

The grants program is currently divided into six categories: 4-H and FFA clubs; horse shows and trail rides; equine breed and color-breed associations; equine education programs at Kentucky colleges and universities; and educational activities and equine assisted therapy programs. Each category has a funding limit and specific criteria applicants must meet to be considered.

"This is a true example of horse people helping each other," said Patrick Neely, KEEP’s executive director. "A portion of monies collected from our donations and membership dues are set aside each year for our grassroots committee to use as seed money to help organizations fund their events and programs, and put new programs in place with the common goal of growing Kentucky's horse industry. I'm proud to say this is working."

Each year KEEP’s Grassroots Committee, composed of 22 individuals from various backgrounds of the horse industry, meets annually to review the current funding application.

“The goal of this funding is to help establish programs for children that would not have otherwise been exposed to a horse, to bring together horse enthusiasts for networking and continuing education opportunities, to grow local horse shows that are great economic generators for communities, and to aid breed associations as they build their organizations,” said Gene Clabes, KEEP’s equine director. "Therefore, we are continuing to review and improve our funding application to ensure these goals are met.”

“All in all, our grassroots funding program has far exceeded what we could have ever imagined, and we look forward toward the future of this program,” added Neely.

The 2009 Funding Application is now available on line at or by contacting the KEEP Staff at 866-771-5337.

In other KEEP news, James Haggerty of Grant County, Ky. was chosen as this year’s KEEP Team Leader of the Year at the organization’s annual team leader training banquet.

Haggarty became involved with KEEP as both a member and one of the organization’s 150 team leaders in 2006.

Since becoming a team leader, Haggarty been active in his local saddle club and has educated equine owners on bills relating to the horse industry. He has also discussed horse industry issues in his community with politicians and has rallied political support and training for EMA large animal rescue.

Outside of his county, Haggarty has given presentations at the Kentucky Horse Council annual meeting, promoting horse and non-horse alliances, and representing them as KEEP initiatives.