KEEP Announces Contest for Students

The Kentucky Equine Education Project is taking its mission of 'Horses Work' into classrooms across the Bluegrass. The organization is sponsoring an artwork, poetry, and essay contest.

"We're interested in hearing from young people why the horse industry is important to them and their communities," said Claria Horn Shadwick, executive director of KEEP. "We're not just talking about racing breeds, although that obviously is important. We want to know what students think about working breeds, show horses, trail horses and others that make significant economic contributions to their counties."

The contest will allow students in grades 4 through 8 to answer the question: Why is the horse important to Kentucky? They can do so with various types of artwork, essays or poems that talk about the horse and their local communities.

"We're hoping that they get excited about the horse and its contributions locally because so many people are unaware of it," said Shadwick. "If the kids get excited, maybe their parents will, too. And, it will be a good learning experience because there's so much 'did you know' type of information out there."

Official rules of the contest will be distributed to every elementary and middle school in the state as well as posted on the KEEP Web site:

Six finalists will be selected from the art, essay and poetry sections for grades 4 and 5, and six more for grades 6, 7 and 8 for a total of 36 finalists. Each finalist will win a $25 cash prize, a free KEEP membership and all of the benefits associated with that and a "Horses Work for Kentucky" cap. The grand prizewinner will receive an additional $100 cash prize. The entry deadline is Feb. 28. Winners will be announced on or before March 15.

"We're going to post winning entries on our Web site and include them in our newsletter that goes to members throughout the state," said Shadwick. "We're confident the children will learn a great deal as they research the industry and we want to share that knowledge with as many people as possible. We want children to help tell the story that "Horses Work for Kentucky."

KEEP was recently formed to build a broad-based education and grassroots initiative to increase awareness of the benefits of Kentucky's $4 billion horse economy and to promote and preserve jobs and economic opportunities for all breeds.