"We've had some success in our early efforts with some new legislation and raising awareness of the impact our industry makes, but there is much more work to be done," Shadwick said.
Edited press releaseThe Kentucky Equine Education Project had more than 6,000 members as of mid-April, but the board of directors has set a goal of 10,000 members by the end of this year.KEEP, a multi-breed organization that seeks to educate the public and legislators on the importance of the horse industry to Kentucky's economy, was formed in May 2004. KEEP now has team leaders in 108 of the state's 120 counties."The KEEP board is really energized with the progress," KEEP board chairman Brereton Jones said in a release. "We knew that there was excitement about the organization and it has been proven in just a short time. Our focus on building a grassroots organization has really made the difference. The equine industry isn't just here in Central Kentucky but in every county and our membership growth demonstrates that.""We continue to be amazed at the steady stream of memberships that come in each day," KEEP executive director Claria Horn Shadwick said. "They're coming from all over the state. As our staff travels to public meetings and talks about KEEP, we'll see a dozen or more come in from one event. As people learned about our legislative efforts and began seeing our advertising campaign, they've logged on or mailed in a membership form. People are supportive of our efforts."KEEP surpassed its 2004 year-end goal of 3,000 members by 1,524 for a year-end total of 4,524. During January, February and March when the organization received a lot of media exposure and launched its advertising campaign, membership grew by almost 500 members a month.