The Kentucky Equine Education Project is staging its second KEEP Day in Frankfort on Thursday, February 15, 2018, providing a convenient setting for those involved in the industry to share with state legislators the importance of horses to their districts' economy.
The event will run from 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM in Room 129 in the Capitol Annex. The informal setup will allow industry stake-holders, including horse enthusiasts and racing fans, to interact with a variety of state senators and representatives.
Horses of all breeds form a $4 billion industry in the Commonwealth, supporting an estimated 100,000 in direct and indirect jobs and spanning all 120 counties. Kentucky is home to 35,000 operations with at least one horse, totaling 242,400 equines and $23.4 billion when including related assets, according to a University of Kentucky Department of Agriculture survey.
"KEEP Day is a convenient way for people working in businesses connected to equines, as well as those who show, ride and own horses, to meet with our lawmakers and let them know that every county and district benefits from horses," said KEEP executive vice president Elisabeth Jensen. "We encourage those involved with every breed and discipline to come and show support for our signature industry that creates so many jobs."
Created in 2004 to preserve, promote and protect the state's signature industry, KEEP represents and advocates on behalf of Kentucky's entire horse industry - all breeds and equine pursuits.
"People might be surprised to know how many trail-riding and pleasure horses there are in Kentucky - about 80,000," Jensen said. "While there are about 54,000 Thoroughbreds in the Commonwealth, there also are 45,000 Quarter Horses and 36,000 Tennessee Walking Horses. All these horses eat grain and hay provided by our farmers, and their owners buy trucks, trailers, tractors and tack, also paying for an array of services such as boarding, instruction and training, farriers and veterinarians. We want those voices heard at KEEP Day and encourage participants to let their state legislators know that they are attending."
Rep. James Kay of Versailles said at last year's inaugural KEEP Day that horses are an important economic tool even in areas of Kentucky that aren't home to high-profile breeding farms or racetracks.
"We absolutely benefit from the horse industry every day in ways that people don't always understand," Kay said. "We need to do a better job articulating that, and showing the economic driver that the industry is for our people."