(Edited press release)
Horses of all breeds in Kentucky that are currently in life-threatening situations will receive the gift of a second chance at the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, which officially opened its doors April 16.
“This is an opportunity for all of us to do the right thing and play a role in ensuring the welfare and humane treatment of horses here in Kentucky, the Horse Capital of the World,” said the organization’s president, Staci Hancock. “With Kentucky’s signature event, the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), just around the corner, we believe it is an ideal time to open our doors and bring attention to the plight of horses that are at risk.”
Hancock and her husband, Arthur, own Stone Farm near Paris, Kentucky, which bred and raised Kentucky Derby winners Gato Del Sol, Sunday Silence, and Fusaichi Pegasus . Both are on the frontline of the equine welfare/anti slaughter movements.
KyEHC is a first-of-its-kind facility, established with the specific goal of providing owners with a humane option when they need to give up their horses. The center is located on a tranquil, 50-acre horse farm near Lexington, which will be a safe refuge for at-risk horses of all breeds and disciplines. No horse in a precarious situation will ever be turned away. Adoptable horses will be placed in loving homes. Horses which are unadoptable due to chronic pain or permanent, crippling injuries will be humanely euthanized.
Derby winning trainer Nick Zito (Strike The Gold and Go For Gin), and his wife Kim, are on the KyEHC board of advisors. According to Nick Zito, “Regardless of pedigree or performance, all horses have to be treated the same. Consequently, we all have the same responsibilities to meet those needs, whether we are working with Kentucky Derby winners or horses that are just horses. Again, they have to be treated the same.”
John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park observed, “A tremendous responsibility comes along with the privileges of being the Horse Capital of the World, so our industry and state need to make certain we are setting the highest possible example when it comes to equine welfare. Unfortunately, there is a vast, urgent need for shelters that will take all breeds of horses. The Kentucky Horse Park is contacted on a regular basis by people who are desperate to find a safe place for horses who are in a vulnerable situation. We are very happy that the Kentucky Equine Humane Center will ease suffering by meeting some of those needs.”
The KyEHC is governed by a board of directors and advisors representing a number of breeds and disciplines. The organization’s executive director, Lori Neagle, was co-founder of the Thoroughbred rescue organization ReRun, and has extensive management and hands-on experience with racehorses, and in particular with geriatric horses.
All financial and in-kind donations are tax-deductible. Monetary donations will be received through the KyEHC Fund at Bluegrass Community Foundation, 250 West Main Street, Suite 1220, Lexington, KY 40507.