01.31.16

State of the Horse 2016

Posted in State of the Horse at 9:57 pm by Thomas

In discussing the State of the Horse I am speaking of two interconnected thoughts, the animals themselves as well as the the different groups of individuals that are involved with horses.  In reality I guess, the State of the “Horse” is almost exclusively tied to how the people involved with horses are doing.  I am going to speak to my knowledge of what I see in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, though in many ways what I see here would be relevant in a number of other states.

In Kentucky there really are two horse realms, that of the Thoroughbred industry and that of all other horse breeds lumped together.  It is much easier to quantify the state of the Thoroughbred industry because there is a lot of data collected about it.  One of the first pieces of data most people talk about is the number of foals born, in 2015 that was a little over 22,000 which was a 1.9% increase over 2014.  It’s interesting to note though that in 2006 that number was a bit over 35,000 and I do remember years with numbers higher then that, so that tell you how much the “Great Recession” impacted what really is one of the most insulted horse industries anywhere when you consider where the money comes from that drives that industry.  Sales were also up and overall growth in the industry was also up by a couple of percentage points.  Interestingly enough I think you could watch the Thoroughbred industry and know how the overall economy is performing, provided you treat it as a lagging indicator as opposed to leading.  So if the the Thoroughbred numbers are getting better you can probably assume that the underlining economy is getting better or has at least stabilized in a way that allows for growth.  The Thoroughbred horses themselves are probably doing better then in years past because the number of foals being born each year is lower, thus fewer horses for the industry to have to support and the efforts to support Thoroughbreds after their retirement from racing has also produced meaningful impacts on the well being of those horses.

In talking of the other equine realm, this encompasses every other breed and would also include those off the track Thoroughbreds (OTTB) that have found themselves with a new career.   Actually I want to clarify, I am going to exclude one breed from this report because I believe it falls in between the two realms I am focusing on, that is the Standardbred industry, which in some years you could lump with the Thoroughbred industry in how its probably doing and in other years not so much so.  I think the simplest way to define the two realms is that you can really think of the Thoroughbred industry as an industry, where as the other horse realm is less of an industry and more of an individual endeavor.  I will probably get a few nasty emails saying that is an over simplification but for discussing the State of the Horse I think its the way most people think of these two realms.

Now let me try to define and clarify this second realm, which for the most part we can consider the pleasure horse realm.  Now in truth there is an industry that exists because of the pleasure horse, but this industry is more generalized and many parts of it provide for the horse as a secondary aspect of the business not the primary.  Think of the local feed store, selling feed and supplies to the people for their pleasure horses is significant but by far isn’t the only revenue generator that keeps the store profitable.  A prime example of how the pleasure horse realm is doing is to look at your local TSC store, if you think back more then 1o years to how the store was laid out relative to what they carried for horses and you go in there today and tell me you don’t see a difference.  Now I use TSC as an example to clarify the two realms because most Thoroughbred trainers are not using their local TSC store for supplies, they have a pretty defined supply chain of specialized providers but this is because the Thoroughbred industry is large and organized and benefits from that economy of scale.  So in Kentucky I consider the pleasure horse realm to be all those people involved with horses outside of the Thoroughbred racing industry, again some are going to take issue with that but in discussing the State of the Horse that is the construct I am going to use.

So here is the point at which I get to discussing my views on the State of the Horse for 2016, which is really to say what it was at the end of 2015 and what the trend going into 2016 looks like.  Back to my example of TSC, here is a business that most horse people I would venture to say know in one capacity or another, you may not buy your feed there, but you have probably purchased something horse related there.  The change that I have seen there to me is indicative of a business tweaking their retail layout to better meet the needs of those patronizing their stores.  That is to say that in the last 10 years they have seen their revenue from horse related items decrease, interestingly enough while they have seen the interest in chickens increase.  Obviously a part of that has been driven by the urbanization of America as a whole which we also see in Kentucky but a bigger part has been the downturn in the rural middle class which has significantly impacted the pleasure horse realm.  The actual increase is chickens seems to be much more related to urbanites wanting to say they are raising some of their own food, to clarify, eggs because they don’t want to kill their own food but they can produce eggs and its cool because they can relate it to the same product that they would go to super market to buy.  I digress some in talking chickens but the point being is that the growth in interest in chickens vs. the decline in horses are two separate events that make my point about the nature of the pleasure horse industry.  TSC is a business that supports the pleasure horse industry, but not exclusively and as markets change they change their business models to survive.  Now this in some ways is a good thing because a lot of the businesses and professions that support the pleasure horse industry are not going to go out of business because of a down cycle in that realm, so that as the pleasure horse realm grows again the necessary support businesses grow with it.  The short of it though is that the pleasure horse realm has seen a significant contraction since the “Great Recession” and that contraction continues.  One of the structural changes that I have seen over the last 10 years has been a significant increase in other forms of back yard/off road entertainment. In the past 10 years we have seen an increase almost explosive in the numbers and variety of off road vehicles.  Where ATV’s used to be tied to a business or farm need first and those people then might use them on the weekend for a little fun.  Now ATV’s have become the new status symbols with ATV parks springing up around the state and I see convoys of trailers hauling them on the weekends only to wonder how many horse trailers have been traded in for flatbed trailers.

One of the real negative impacts the “Great Recession” has had is truly on the State of the Horse in regards to the horses themselves.  We all like to joke about free horses, and I tell my non-horse friends if you want a free horse I can get you one, but I am the first to follow that up with the fact that I can get you a free horse, but that horse ownership is not free, actually as we all know it can be down right expensive.  The problem is there was an explosion of horses back in the early 2000’s both from professional and back yard breeders and when the economy collapsed these horses very quickly became expenses their owners couldn’t afford.  So in 2016 I believe we are still right in the middle of this crisis in that a lot of those horses are turning up in all the wrong places and are suffering fates that weigh or should weigh on all of us as horse people.  My expectation is that it will take another 10 years for that issue to resolve itself through the normal process of life and death and not because we come together to solve it.  Ultimately I wish the horse world as a whole had put together a framework for dealing with this reality, that it would be better for owners to have the option to humanely euthanize their horse(s) when they can no longer effectively care for them or be certain of what would happen to them if they were sold without having several organization that shall remain unnamed vilify them for trying to make the best choice for the horse in an extremely tough situation.  Now I could write a whole article on my ideas on that and probably should but I am trying to stay on point with this article so I will limit my digressions.

In summing up what I consider to be the State of the Horse in 2015 by making some clear points based on my awareness.

The State of the Thoroughbred industry is largely stable with modest growth, though there are some notable head winds in the future that may impact that growth though I think the industry remains largely insulated from any structural changes.

The State of the Pleasure Horse Realm in Kentucky I believe has stabilized though there are structural changes that have occurred that will likely limit any kind of significant growth and certainly I would not expect us to get back to the numbers we saw in the late 90’s early 2000’s.  In honesty some of the growth we saw back in the 90’s and early 2000’s wasn’t based on sustainable math and obviously I am not just meaning in regards to pleasure horse realm.  I think for those horse breeds that are forward looking there is potential to continue to grow because horses will continue to have a connection to humans that is hard to explain but no less real.

The State of the Horse in regards to the animal itself still pains me, and I will always continue to promote responsibility in regards to the welfare of horses because they deserve nothing less than our best efforts to provide for them in a human and ethical way and to show our appreciation for the beauty and magic they bring to our lives.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

06.15.14

Just Horsin’ Around

Posted in Horse Shows, Kentucky at 9:54 pm by Thomas

This time of the year is Great in Kentucky for so many reasons, the weather is warm, though usually not too hot just yet.  The Days are long as its not truly dark until 10, which makes for a Great Evening at a horse show, which are also very numerous this time of the year.  So this past weekend my family and some friends of ours loaded up 3 of our horses, my OTTB “Mont(e)y”, their Saddlebred “Kiss This” and Walking Horse “Pepper” for a fun all be it, very long evening at the Just Horsin’ Around horse show in Brodhead, Kentucky.  This was actually our second horse show in a week and certainly helped to lessen my disappointment over us not winning the 2018 World Equestrian Games.

We rolled into the show grounds just before 5 PM, the show wasn’t slated to start until 5:30 and we knew it might not get started right at 5:30 because these kind of shows are more about an enjoyable atmosphere then following some specific schedule, it was a Saturday night after all and anybody there wanted to be there and had no where else they wanted to be.  I tacked up Monte as soon as we got there and headed into the ring the warm him up and see what he thought of all the horses and people.  Speaking of horses and people, I don’t know that I have been to a horse show that was as packed as this one which of course makes me happy, because it means there is still a large population of people who enjoy horses and know just how important they are to the Commonwealth.

I entered Monte in one class, Western Pleasure just to give him that experience and spent the rest of the evening just riding around the fair grounds to see how he would react to all the people and horses.  I did un-tack him and give him a long rest at one point until he got bored with that and then I tacked him up again and off we went.  By this time it was after dark which can always present new experiences.  Monte wasn’t phased by anything, I was so impressed with how he behaved with all the different scenarios we encountered.  We spent a long time standing at the entrance to the ring watching a number of classes with numerous other people on horse back, certainly an enjoyable way to watch a horse show.  He stood quietly taking it all in, much like he did everything else that night.  By the time we left it was 1 AM and of the 8 hours we had been there I probably spent half that time on horseback which is where I wish I could spend more time.  The time I spend at horse shows is always quality time that always proves the point of how much horses are a part of Kentucky and how Kentucky wouldn’t be the same without them.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®икони

05.01.14

Rolex to Derby, what a week+! We are, The Horse Capitol of the World.

Posted in Kentucky, Kentucky Derby, Louisville, Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event, Thoroughbred Racing at 9:10 pm by Thomas

I am not sure there is a bigger week in Kentucky that defines us as the Horse Capitol of the World like the 10 days from the start of Rolex through Saturday’s Kentucky Derby this year.  There are a number of interesting factoids in regards to these two events.  The Rolex Three-Day Event takes 4 days from Start to Finish, the Kentucky Derby is decided in 2 minutes plus or minus a few seconds.  Both events are consider a leg of the Triple Crown in their respective sports. A number of successful Rolex horses are Thoroughbreds that started out as race horses and transitioned to Eventing.  Generally Jockeys are short and only weighing about 100 pounds, Eventers tend to run the gambit on body size, William Fox-Pitt who won this year’s Rolex is something like 6′ 5″.    The Rolex is in Lexington, The Derby in Louisville, two cities defined by Horses and Basketball both with a taste for Bourbon.  Both events draw big crowds with significant economic impact both locally and on a State basis.  The Derby does beat the Rolex in the area of TV coverage, 4 days of Rolex are turned into 1 hour of TV a week after the fact, where as the 2 minutes of the Derby equals many hours of live coverage across several channels.  The obvious difference is that you can’t bet on the Rolex, well technically I guess you could, but who would want to, and if you do, you probably need to seek help.  Another thing they have in common is that men and women compete equally and women are certainly a force to be reckoned with in the horse world, maybe more so there then anywhere else in business.  I am sure that last sentence will draw some comments and I don’t have any scientific studies to back that up but feel pretty good about the validity of that statement.  All of this is to make the point that we are The Horse Capitol of the World and that is a pretty cool thing, especially this time of the year.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO

09.07.13

Study Shows State’s Equine Industry Has $3 Billion Economic Impact

Posted in Economics, Kentucky, Kentucky Horse Council, Press Release at 9:18 pm by EPR

Study Shows State’s Equine Industry
Has $3 Billion Economic Impact

Lexington, Ky.  Kentucky’s equine industry had a total economic impact of almost $3 billion and generated 40,665 jobs last year, according to the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey. The tax contribution of the equine industry to Kentucky was approximately $134 million.

nullAccording to Jill Stowe, University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs director and project lead, the total economic impact is measured by the output effect and is an estimate of revenues earned by the sale of goods and services related to the equine industry and its interconnected industries. The study also showed that the value-added effect, which is perhaps a more descriptive measure of economic impact because it accounts for costs of production, has an estimated economic impact of $1.4 billion. The value-added effect is a measure of profitability and new income paid to workers rather than simply revenue.

TheUK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s Ag Equine Programs and Kentucky Horse Council, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, today released the economic impact figures from the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey, a comprehensive statewide survey of all breeds of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. This was the first such wide-ranging study of Kentucky’s equine industry since 1977 and the first-ever detailed economic impact study about Kentucky’s equine industry.

“We are pleased to announce the long-awaited results from the economic impact study. The estimates underscore the continued significance of the equine industry to the commonwealth, and they show that each segment of the industry contributes in important ways to the economy as well as to the rich cultural fabric of Kentucky,” said Stowe, who is also associate professor in agricultural economics.

When looking more specifically at each sector’s estimated impact, breeding had the highest employment figure of 16,198, an output of $710 million and a value-added impact of $333 million. Racing had the highest output impact at $1.28 billion, with a figure of 6,251 in employment and $601 million in value-added impact. Competition figures included 2,708 in employment, $635 million in output and $297 million in value-added impact. Recreation had 594 in employment, $166 million in output and $78 million in value-added impact. Other, which accounts for operations such as therapeutic riding facilities and those where horses are used for work, had an employment figure of 14,914, a $194 million output and a $91 million value-added impact.

“The College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is proud of this project because first and foremost, it represents the best available methods of surveying that universities and government can provide. But the most compelling aspect of this study is that our future policy discussions can be guided by solid numbers. We thank the Kentucky Horse Council and the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board as well as our numerous donors, for recognizing how much the Horse Capital of the World needs a sound foundation for policy decisions,” said Nancy Cox, associate dean for research in UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station director and administrative leader for UK Ag Equine Programs.

nullThe first phase of the study was released in January and measured Kentucky’s equine and asset inventory. That portion of the study found that the state is home to 242,400 horses and the total value of Kentucky’s equine and equine-related assets is estimated at $23.4 billion. The survey’s results identified 35,000 equine operations and 1.1 million acres devoted to equine use.

Also from the inventory portion of the study, the total of all equine-related sales and income for equine operations was about $1.1 billion. That total came from sales of all equines, estimated to be $521.1 million, and $491 million in income from both breeding and non-breeding services, such as training, lessons, boarding, farrier, transportation, purses and incentives.

The first phase also found that equine-related expenditures by equine operations totaled about $1.2 billion. Capital expenditures by equine operations, including the purchase of equines, real estate and improvements and equipment, were estimated to be $337 million. Operating expenditures, including expenses paid for boarding, feed, bedding, veterinary, supplies, farrier services, breeding, maintenance and repair, insurance premiums, utilities and fuel, taxes, rent and/or lease, fees and payments, shipping and travel, training and other fees, totaled $839 million. Notably, 77 percent of these operating expenses were spent in Kentucky.

The study determined that 56 percent of Kentucky’s equine operations are farms or ranches and 30 percent are for personal use, while 3 percent are boarding, training or riding facilities. Breeding operations accounted for 2 percent.

The vast majority of horses inventoried were light horses (216,300), followed by donkeys and mules (14,000), ponies (7,000) and draft horses (5,100). Thoroughbreds are the most numerous breed in the state (54,000), followed by Quarter Horses (42,000), Tennessee Walking Horses (36,000), American Saddlebreds (14,000), donkeys and mules (14,000), Mountain Horse breeds (12,500), Standardbreds (9,500), Miniature Horses (7,000), ponies (7,000), Paint Horses (6,500) and Arabian and Half-Arabian horses (5,500).

The primary use of the majority of Kentucky’s equines is trail riding/pleasure (79,500), followed by broodmares (38,000), horses currently idle/not working (33,000), competition/show (24,500), horses currently growing, including yearlings, weanlings and foals (23,000), racing (15,000), work/transportation (12,500), breeding stallions (3,900) and other activities (13,000).

“The data from this study will benefit the state in many ways. We have already made use of the results at two regional horsemen’s caucuses held in areas with identified concentrations of equine populations. We are looking forward to at least three additional regional horsemen’s caucuses based on this data in 2014,” said Anna Zinkhon, Kentucky Horse Council Board president.

As might be expected, there is a concentration of horses in the Bluegrass area of Central Kentucky but there are also other areas of the state with significant concentrations of equine.

According to the report, thetop 10 counties in Kentucky with equine acres were Fayette (89,000), Bourbon (48,700), Woodford (44,200), Scott (26,600), Grant (22,000), Oldham (21,000), Grayson (18,900), Warren (18,700), Boone (16,500) and Carter (16,400). More detailed county information can be found in the full report online.

“The University of Kentucky has equine expertise in many scientific disciplines. The economic survey is an example of expertise that transcends over, not only the science of horses, but the business of horses in the commonwealth,” said Norman K. Luba, executive director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council. “Documented and dependable economic data will provide critical information about the significant role the horse industry plays in the economic well-being of Kentucky’s economy.”

Funding for the project was provided by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, along with UK’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Kentucky Horse Council and numerous other industry organizations and individuals, a complete listing of which can be found on the project’s website. More information about the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey, including a copy of the final report and appendices, can be found at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/equine/kyequinesurvey.

Contact:

University of Kentucky
College of Agriculture, Food and Environment
Equine Ag Program
Dr. Jill Stowe or Holly Wiemers
(859) 257-2226

Kentucky Horse Council

1500 Bull Lea Rd, Suite 214C
Lexington, KY 40511
Phone:  859.367.0509
Fax:  866.618.3837
www.kentuckyhorse.org

01.22.13

Kentucky Equine Survey Releases Initial Findings

Posted in Kentucky Horse Council, University of Kentucky at 7:59 pm by EPR

Kentucky Horse Council, Inc.

Press Release from the
University of Kentucky
Contact:
Jill Stowe, 859-257-7256
Nancy Cox, 859-257-3333
By Holly Wiemers

Kentucky Equine Survey Releases Initial Findings

Kristen Harvey's photo of Maine Chance Farm filly LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 22, 2013) – Kentucky is home to 242,400 horses and the total value of the state’s equine and equine-related assets is estimated at $23.4 billion, according to the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey.

The comprehensive statewide survey of all breeds of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules was the first such study since 1977. Conducted between June and October 2012 by the Kentucky field office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, with support and assistance by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture and the Kentucky Horse Council, the survey’s results identified 35,000 equine operations and 1.1 million acres devoted to equine use. The results are a snapshot of the 2011 calendar year.

“The value of Kentucky’s equine and equine-related assets, such as land and buildings, is significantly larger than other states for which we have data, and it serves to underscore that Kentucky is the Horse Capital of the World,” said Jill Stowe, UK associate professor in agricultural economics and project lead. “Upcoming economic impact analysis results will provide even more details regarding the importance of the industry to the state’s economy.”

Phase 1 of the study was a statewide survey of equine operations that included an inventory of all breeds of equine, including horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. It included a look at sales, income, expenses and assets of those operations. County-level results from Phase 1 are expected soon. Phase 2 of the project will entail an economic impact analysis of Kentucky’s equine industry. Phase 2 information will be available mid-2013.

With regard to the inventory of Kentucky’s equine operations, the study determined that 56 percent are farms or ranches and 30 percent are for personal use, while 3 percent are boarding, training or riding facilities. Breeding operations accounted for 2 percent.

The vast majority of horses inventoried were light horses (216,300), followed by donkeys and mules (14,000), ponies (7,000) and draft horses (5,100). Thoroughbreds are the most prevalent breed in the state (54,000), followed by Quarter Horses (42,000), Tennessee Walking Horses (36,000), Saddlebreds (14,000), donkeys, mules and burros, Mountain Horse breeds (12,500) and Standardbreds (9,500).

“The University of Kentucky study objectively and scientifically validates the importance of the horse industry to our state. This may well be the most significant body of work ever undertaken to estimate the economic significance of horses to Kentucky,” said Norman K. Luba, executive director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council. “As horse industry enthusiasts, we are indebted to the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund and the Kentucky Horse Council.”

The primary use of the majority of Kentucky’s equines is trail riding/pleasure (79,500), followed by broodmares (38,000), horses currently idle/not working (33,000), competition/show (24,500), horses currently growing, including yearlings, weanlings and foals (23,000), racing (15,000), work/transportation (12,500), breeding stallions (3,900) and other activities (13,000).

“Kentucky’s horse industry is important to a diverse set of people across the Commonwealth, from the 9-year-old 4-H member with her pony to the retired school teacher who just took up trail riding,” said Anna Zinkhon, Kentucky Horse Council Board president. “It is the Kentucky Horse Council’s goal to keep this industry alive and growing. The Kentucky Equine Survey provides us with the numbers, so we’ll know how to develop programs to emphasize strengths as well as work on improving areas of need. It is an important window into the future.”

According to the study, the estimated value of the 242,400 equines in Kentucky is about $6.3 billion. In addition, the estimated value of equine-related assets, including land and buildings, vehicles and equipment, feed and supplies and tack and equestrian clothing, is $17.1 billion, bringing the total value of Kentucky’s equine and equine-related assets to $23.4 billion.

The total of all equine-related sales and income for equine operations in 2011 was about $1.1 billion. That total came from sales of all equines, estimated to be $521.1 million, and $491 million in income from services provided, including both breeding and non-breeding services such as training, lessons, boarding, farrier, transportation, purses, incentives, etc.

The study found that total equine-related expenditures by equine operations in 2011 totaled about $1.2 billion. Capital expenditures by equine operations, including the purchase of equines, real estate and improvements and equipment, were estimated to be $337 million. Operating expenditures, including expenses paid for boarding, feed, bedding, veterinary, supplies, farrier services, breeding, maintenance and repair, insurance premiums, utilities and fuel, taxes, rent and/or lease, fees and payments, shipping and travel, training and other fees, totaled $839 million. Notably, 77 percent of these operating expenses were spent in Kentucky.

“We are pleased that this Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund investment made by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board will provide benefits to one of our state’s signature industries,” said Roger Thomas, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy. “The results of this survey will validate the economic benefits of all breeds of equine to Kentucky’s overall economy.”

“The College of Agriculture is proud of this project because first and foremost, it represents the best available methods of surveying that universities and government can provide. But the most compelling aspect of this study is that our future policy discussions can be guided by solid numbers. We thank the Kentucky Horse Council and the Governor’s Office of Ag Policy as well as our numerous donors, for recognizing how much the Horse Capital of the World needs a sound foundation for policy decisions,” said Nancy Cox, associate dean for research in UK’s College of Agriculture, Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station director and administrative leader for UK Ag Equine Programs.

Funding for the project was provided by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, along with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, the Kentucky Horse Council and numerous other industry organizations and individuals, a complete listing of which can be found on the project’s website.

More information about the 2012 Kentucky Equine Survey can be found on the UK Ag Equine Programs website at http://www2.ca.uky.edu/equine/kyequinesurvey or on Kentucky Horse Council’s website at http://www.kentuckyhorse.org/. A copy of the complete Phase 1 results, including county-level breakdowns, will also be posted on both of these websites when they become available.

Writer: Holly Wiemers, 859-257-2226

UK College of Agriculture, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.

UK Ag Equine Programs
(formerly UK Equine Initiative) |
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture | N212 Ag. Science Bldg. North |
Lexington KY 40546-0091 | Office: 859-257-2226 | Fax: 859-323-8484 | www.ca.uky.edu/equine


ABOUT THE KENTUCKY HORSE COUNCIL – The Kentucky Horse Council is a non-profit organization dedicated, through education and leadership, to the protection and development of the Kentucky equine community. The Kentucky Horse Council provides educational programs and information, outreach and communication to Kentucky horse owners and enthusiasts, equine professional networking opportunities through KENA, trail riding advocacy, health and welfare programs, and personal liability insurance and other membership benefits.  The specialty Kentucky Horse Council license plate, featuring a foal lying in the grass, provides the primary source of revenue for KHC programs.
Contact:

Ginny Grulke
Executive Director
Phone:  859.367.0509
director@kentuckyhorse.org

Kentucky Horse Council

1500 Bull Lea Rd, Suite 214C
Lexington, KY 40511
Phone:  859.367.0509
www.kentuckyhorse.org

01.14.13

South Africa Tourism, model for Kentucky Tourism!

Posted in Adventure Tourism, Bluegrass Region, Destination Tourism, Kentucky, South Africa, Tourism, Travel at 10:27 pm by Thomas

I am recently back from my third(3rd) trip to South Africa in the past year having spent a total of nearly 6 weeks there and I have learned quite a bit.  Most of what drove the South African Economy of the past was mineral(Gold, Diamonds, Rare Earth Minerals, etc…) wealth.  As that has begun to decline South Africa’s other major industry, tourism has come into its own.

I am not going to beat around the bush, the thing that South African Tourism does well, is to sell South Africa as a Destination and a one of a kind experience, somewhere you go and spend a week or two.  This is something that I don’t feel Kentucky does and I am sure I will get many people who will disagree with me on that, but at the very least I will get most of those people to agree we do not do it to the degree we could and should.

Now to be fair, South Africa has some natural advantages that Kentucky does not but Kentucky has a beauty that I would put up against any place in the World and its own unique character that makes it a Great Tourism Destination.  The key with Destination Tourism is that you really are trying to sell to a far off audience, like South African’s, Europeans or just about anybody else on the planet.

I feel there are 4 keys to developing Kentucky as a Great Destination.

  1. Natural Beauty – Kentucky has a beauty that comes through in pictures that people find alluring.
  2. Southern Charm – We do posses an inviting personality that people generally find as warm and relaxing after they have been here.  That is something a little harder to convey to people who haven’t been here but it is possible with the right marketing.
  3. Adventure Tourism – Everything from horse back riding, hiking, cycling, boating to the Kentucky Horse Park and Horse Shows.  Activities that people can do with just the clothes on their back and a couple of days.
  4. Location, Location, Location – Kentucky is very centrally located which allows someone to come here and do day and overnight trips to a number of key Cites and sites, such as Nashville or Chicago or Washington DC.  Even New York City or Disney World are simple plane flights away.

While in South Africa we actually did a day trip up to Botswana just to have that experience and to check out the new Bush Babies Lodge on the Limpopo River that separates South Africa from Botswana.  And on our way back to the States, we came via Europe and changed flights in Paris, France on New Year’s Eve just  to get in another destination.  Now to be fair, we were only on the ground 5 hours so didn’t have time to leave the airport, but still I have the experience of saying I was in Paris for New Year’s Eve 2013.

My point being, that is why everyone wants to travel to far off lands and sometimes even the State next door, is for the experience and I have come to the conclusion that there are 7 billion people on the planet that all want to come to Kentucky they just don’t know it yet.  I realize most of those 7 billion people don’t have that luxury of being able to travel that far but there are a lot of people who can and Kentucky needs to be on their list of Destinations they want to visit in their Life times.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas Demond
KyWEGO

08.15.12

Governor recognizes KHP as world-class; 115 of this year’s Olympic riders competed there

Posted in Government, Governor Beshear, Kentucky, Kentucky Horse Park at 7:08 am by EPR

As the 2012 Olympic Games in London close, Gov. Steve Beshear today recognized the Kentucky Horse Park as an elite international equestrian facility for consistently hosting world-class and Olympic-caliber athletes.

The Horse Park is also a significant economic contributor to the Commonwealth, with an estimated economic impact of approximately $180 million each year.

Rolex Kentucky (photo by www.PixBySteve.com.)

“The Kentucky Horse Park is the only place in our state—and one of the few places in the world—where visitors can see world-class equestrian competitions on a regular basis,” said Beshear. “We are not only the Horse Capital of the World, but Kentucky is also one of the premier homes for high-level equestrian sports. I encourage Kentuckians and visitors to attend one of the many top-rated shows held at the Kentucky Horse Park and witness elite competition firsthand.”

More than 115 athletes who participated in equestrian events in the 2012 Olympics have competed at the Kentucky Horse Park. Seventeen of those athletes earned a medal in the London Olympics.

 

Athletes frequently travel from Australia, France, Great Britain and many other countries to the Lexington facility to contend for top honors in equestrian sports such as dressage, jumping and eventing.

The Horse Park also hosted the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which marked the first time the elite competition was held outside of Europe. That event placed Kentucky in the international spotlight and generated more than $200 million in economic impact, and also built on the park’s international reputation as a signature event site. The new facilities added to the Horse Park for WEG continue to attract competitors and tourists to Kentucky from across the country and around the world.

“We appreciate the continued support from the governor and first lady. We are exceedingly proud of our facility and the competitions that bring in visitors and athletes from around the globe,” said John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “The Kentucky Horse Park is clearly one of the leading equestrian competition facilities not just in North America, but anywhere in the world. We expect the tremendous growth of the sport horse industry in Kentucky will accelerate in the years ahead.”

The Kentucky Horse Park is a 1,200 acre competition facility and tourist attraction recognized as the epicenter of equestrian life, sports and business. Most notably, the park annually hosts the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. The event is ranked at four stars, which is the highest level in international competition.

The Horse Park hosts a number of other award-winning shows as well. The Alltech National Horse Show won the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame’s Show of the year. They were also named the top U.S. show by the North American Riders Group. North American Junior and Young Rider Championships and the two weeks of Kentucky Spring Hunter Jumper were named among the top 25 events in North America.

This year, the facility will host 21 grand prix jumper classes as well as seven national or international hunter derbies, with more than $1 million offered in prize money.

The Park will host three upper-level dressage events in 2013, including the U.S. Dressage Finals.

For more information on the Kentucky Horse Park and its world-class events, please visit kyhorsepark.com.

From Ky. Horse Park

Gov. Beshear Pledges Support for Recreational Trails Program

Posted in Adventure Tourism, Government, Governor Beshear, Kentucky at 6:28 am by EPR

Commonwealth of Kentucky
Office of the Governor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Letter to Sec. LaHood Affirms Kentucky’s Commitment to Program

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 9, 2012) – Gov. Steve Beshear today announced his support for the federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) by signing a letter to U.S. Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood reaffirming Kentucky’s commitment to utilize RTP funds.

“I am extremely pleased that the Recreational Trails Program has been reauthorized for funding,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Kentucky is dedicated to effectively and efficiently using this program’s resources in an effort to enhance tourism, increase economic development and promote healthy, active lifestyles in our rural and urban communities.”

The RTP provides funding to states to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both non-motorized and motorized recreational trail uses.

Last month, Congress and President Obama reauthorized RTP funding with the passage and signing of the Federal Public Transportation Act of 2012.  As part of the legislation, $85 million in annual funding is dedicated to states for the RTP.  However, the legislation also contains a provision that allows state governors to opt out of the program funding.

With this letter of support, Gov. Beshear officially states that Kentucky recognizes the importance of the RTP and opposes any efforts to opt out of the program.

“Recreational trails not only provide an alternative form of transportation, they also spur economic development, increase property values and aid in land conservation,” said Gov. Beshear.  “Trail funding has been a valuable resource to enhancing the quality of Kentucky communities and I encourage other states to take advantage of this funding tool.”

The RTP is funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration.  Kentucky’s RTP grants are administered by DLG and require that applicants match the amount of funds requested. The grants may be used to provide assistance for acquisition of easements; development and/or maintenance of recreational trails; and trailhead facilities for both motorized and non-motorized use.

In 2011, Kentucky awarded $1.8 million in RTP grants to 38 applicants in communities across the Commonwealth to help fund hiking, cycling, horseback riding and other trails.

For more info on Kentucky recreational trails and other adventure tourism efforts in the state, please visit http://www.kentuckytourism.com/outdoor_adventure/great_outdoors.aspx.

Follow Governor Beshear on Twitter @Govstevebeshear, read the Governor’s personal notes on his blog at http://governor.ky.gov/blog, and view his video commentaries at http://www.youtube.com/governorbeshear.

Contact

Commonwealth of Kentucky 

Office of the Governor
Kerri Richardson at:
502.564.2611 or 502.330.6633
Terry Sebastian at:
502.564.2611 or 502.229.6130

Kentucky Horse Council

1500 Bull Lea Rd, Suite 214C
Lexington, KY 40511
www.kentuckyhorse.org
info@kentuckyhorse.org
Phone: (859) 367-0509
Fax: (866) 618-3837

11.02.11

Alltech National Horse Show comes to Kentucky!

Posted in Alltech, Alltech National Horse Show, Competitions, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington at 8:06 pm by Thomas

The Alltech National Horse Show started today at the Kentucky Horse Park. This is the 128th edition of the National Horse Show and it is a Great Honor that this show has come to our Commonwealth. I remember growing up as a kid hearing about riding at Madison Square Gardens as one of those ultimate accomplishments in the competitive horse world. I suspect if we get the honor of hosting this show for another 25 years people will speak of the Lexington in the same way they used to speak of the Garden’s. I have put up a seperate page for the Alltech National Horse so that I can embed the video streams and post other information specific to the show in an easy to access location.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas Demond
KyWEGO®

10.14.11

Kentucky Proud Horses – How to Register

Posted in Kentucky Horse Council, Kentucky Proud at 9:49 pm by EPR

There has been a lot of interest in the new Kentucky Proud for Horses
program.Kentucky Proud
The day of the announcement we added detailed info on how to apply to the Kentucky Horse Council website.  Here is that information, which is also found at http://www.kentuckyhorse.org/kentuckyproud/

Below are the steps you can follow to register your farm as Kentucky Proud:

1. Print out and fill out the Kentucky Proud Equine form. (link) This is a specially designed form just for equine farm applicants.

2. If you would also like to apply for a marketing grant through the Kentucky Proud program, also print and fill out the  Kentucky Proud Grant Application. (link) This form can also be found at http://www.kyproud.com/Members/index.htm. You may apply for a marketing grant at a later time as well.

3. Mail all forms to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.  They will verify your acceptance into the program and the status of your grant request.   Kentucky Department of Agriculture
Attn: Vicky Stucker
100 Fair Oaks Lane, 5th floor
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE KENTUCKY PROUD PROCESS
FROM THE KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

It generally takes 2-3 weeks to process a membership application. Any questions regarding membership should be directed to Ms Vicky Stucker at 502-564-4983 or vicky.stucker@ky.gov

As for the grant applications, those applications requesting less than $5,000 can be reviewed immediately. Those requesting more than $5,000 must be reviewed by the Kentucky Proud Executive Committee which meets once a month, generally the first Tuesday of each month. Any questions regarding the Kentucky Proud grant application should be directed to Mr. Bill Clary at bill.clary@ky.gov or 502-564-1137.

10.06.11

BREAKING NEWS… Horses Added to Kentucky Proud Program

Posted in Kentucky Horse Council, Kentucky Proud at 2:47 pm by EPR

Lexington, KY (October 6, 2011) — The Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), and the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) announced today that horses have been added to the Kentucky Proud program. As new members of Kentucky Proud, horse farms in the Commonwealth will be eligible to receive financial grants from the state Department of Agriculture, will be eligible to participate in a cost-share program, and will be able to use the Kentucky Proud logo in advertising their equine products.

The Kentucky Proud program was created to promote Kentucky-agricultural products.  Over the years, the program has grown significantly and now includes businesses that support and sell Kentucky products as well as those that promote the concept of buying agricultural products from Kentucky.

“Both KEEP and KHC have worked for years to promote Kentucky’s equine industry,” said Patrick Neely, KEEP Executive Director. “The addition of horses to the Kentucky Proud program will allow Kentucky horse farms to apply for grants and to grow their businesses by joining the well-known Kentucky Proud advertising and marketing initiatives.  We appreciate that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has taken this important step to assist our signature industry and the thousands of jobs it creates.”

Anna Zinkhon, President of the Kentucky Horse Council Board, added: “The Kentucky Horse Council is glad to partner with KEEP on this important new program.  Two years ago my predecessor, Madelyn Millard,, initiated the idea by approaching KDA regarding a Kentucky Proud for Horses. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s interest in adding horses to this highly successful agricultural program enhances our farms’ abilities to market their horses nationally and internationally.”

Individually, farms should contact KEEP or the Kentucky Horse Council for applications and more information on the Kentucky Proud program.  Forms may also be found on the Kentucky Horse Council website at www.kentuckyhorse.org/kentuckyproud/. Once approved, farms will have access to all the services and support that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture gives to members of that program, including marketing assistance and product promotion, as well as participation in a cost-share program.  “In working with KEEP and KHC to add horses to the program, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture is expanding its support for Kentucky farmers,” commented Richie Farmer, Commissioner of Agriculture.  “Kentucky is known for its equine industry.  We are excited to have these producers add their horses to our list of Kentucky Proud products.”

Formed in 1972, The Kentucky Horse Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated, through education and leadership, to the protection and development of the Kentucky equine community.   For more information on KHC, visit www.kentuckyhorse.org, email info@kentuckyhorse.org or call 859-367-0509.

KEEP was formed in May 2004 to promote and protect Kentucky’s horse industry. For more information on KEEP, visit  www.horseswork.com, email info@horseswork.com or call 859-259-0007.

To learn more about being a part of Kentucky Proud program, contact Cara Stewart with KEEP (cstewart@horseswork.com) or Ginny Grulke with KHC (director@kentuckyhorse.org).

For Kentucky Proud Equine forms, you may visit the Kentucky Horse Council site at www.kentuckyhorse.org/kentuckyproud/

Kentucky Proud is the official farm marketing program of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Kentucky Proud generated more than $200 million in retail sales of Kentucky farm products just through member retailers in 2010. More than 2,800 farmers, processors, retailers, restaurants, school districts, farmers’ markets, Kentucky state parks, and Kentucky Farm Bureau roadside markets are members of Kentucky Proud. For more information about Kentucky Proud, contact Bill Clary, Kentucky Proud program manager, at 502-564-1137 or bill.clary@ky.gov.

09.27.11

Kentucky Proud Weekend and Gift Shop/Tack Shop Sale! A Celebration of Food, Family and Fun!

Posted in Kentucky Horse Park, Kentucky Proud at 8:01 pm by EPR

LEXINGTON, KY (September 27, 2011)  The Kentucky Horse Park will offer a Kentucky Proud Weekend and Gift Shop/Tack Shop Sale Oct 8-9, 2011, to celebrate some of the things that make Kentucky wonderful: our military, our horse industry, our music, our food and more!

Kentucky Proud Weekend will be a great time for families to enjoy the park while getting a taste of Kentucky home-grown and home-made products.  To make it even easier for families, children ages 12 and under will be admitted free of charge.

Highlights will include:

– Meet two Kentucky Derby winners,
– Cooking demonstrations with Chef Adam Wade, 2:30 pm both days,
– Kentucky Proud product sampling,
– Harvest sale at the Kentucky Horse Park Gift Shop (25% off fine jewelry, 20% off apparel, 25% off framed art, 25% off everything in the Tack Shop!),
– Bluegrass Army Depot displays – honoring our military,
– Vendors: mums, pumpkins, handmade soaps, Old Kentucky Chocolate candies, Rimmer Family Favorites, etc.,
– Kentucky performers – clogging, singing,
– Tour the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center on Saturday to see retired, adoptable Thoroughbred racehorses in a retraining program,
– Book signing by Kentucky cookbook authors,
– Tour new $10-million Al Marah Arabian Horse Galleries with lots of interactive displays for children,
– “Ancient Bronzes of the Asian Grasslands” special exhibition in the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate,
– “Celebrities: Saddlebreds and Personalities from the Silver Screen, Cinema and History” special exhibition in the American Saddlebred Museum,
– Plus all that the park offers on a daily basis, including live equine presentations, Hall of Champions, and much more!

The Kentucky Classic Combined Driving Event will also be taking place that weekend.  The Kentucky CDE is a competitive horse driving event made very popular during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.  Visitors will enjoy watching this great competition with their park admission.

Visitors can also enjoy having lunch or a snack in the Kentucky Horse Park’s new Bit & Bridle Restaurant.

For more information on Kentucky Proud Weekend, call our switchboard, 859-259-4200 or our Kentucky Horse Park Gift Shop, 859-259-4234.

Park Hours and Rates: Through November 6, the park is open seven days a week.  Admission is $16 for adults, $8 for children 7-12. From November 7 to March 14, the park is open Wednesdays through Sundays.  Winter admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 7-12. Children age 6 and under are always admitted free of charge.  Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse – a Smithsonian Affiliate, and the American Saddlebred Museum and Gift Shop.

09.24.11

KHC Equine Industry Planning Session

Posted in Fort Harrod Back Country Horsemen, Kentucky Bred, Kentucky Horse Council, Kentucky Proud at 11:13 pm by Thomas

I had the great opportunity to be a part of the Kentucky Horse Council Equine Industry Planning Session today at the Fayette County Extension Office.    This was scheduled as an all day event starting at 8 AM so it was wonderful to see a solid group of close to 50 participants.  This was a varied group across all areas of the horse industry from Thoroughbred breeders and members of several Equine Departments of our major Universities and Colleges to small local organizations like myself representing the Fort Harrod Back Country Horsemen.

The facilitator was Colonel Walter Herd (Retired U.S. Army) who is also on the KHC Board.  He did an excellent job and was very engaging which set a very positive tone for the day.  The primary topics of discussion were coming up with ideas to bring Kentucky closer to that idea of a “haven for horses” that we all dream of by developing the “culture of the horse in Kentucky”.  Ultimately in simple terms, we are the Horse Capital of the World, which is derived from the impact of the Thoroughbred Horse, how do we expand that definition to be all inclusive of everything Equine in the State or at least that was my take.

I am not going to go into all the details because there was lots of great discussions and ideas.  One tidbit I will report on, we did hear from a member of KEEP that the Kentucky Proud Program was being expanded to include horses and that specific program would be called Kentucky Bred.

At the end of the day we voted on all of these and the KHC is going to digest those results and come up with an action list to start working on in November when they are planning on scheduling the next set of meetings.  I will report on what comes out of those meetings as we get more concrete objectives to act on.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas Demond
KyWEGO®

03.31.11

April is the Greatest, so come to Kentucky.

Posted in Attractions, CCI****, Events of Interest, Keeneland, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, My Thoughts, Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event, Thoroughbred Racing, Three-Day Eventing at 3:46 pm by Thomas

April is the kickoff of so many things horsey in Kentucky and some not so horsey that for me its the best month of the year.  The month starts out with the Kentucky Wildcats on the verge of winning a Championship, I know not a horse related event but certainly a Kentucky event.

Keeneland’s Spring Meet starts the 8th and runs through the 29th with the last major Prep Races for the both the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks.  Keeneland is certainly one of the most beautiful Thoroughbred Race Tracks in the country and with the Kentucky Red Buds and Dog Woods in full bloom it maybe nearly Angelic.

The Kentucky Horse Park starts the month with the Kentucky Spring Arabian Show, then mid-month the Kentucky Spring Premiere kicks off the Saddlebred show season…(DRUM ROLL PLEASE) To finish the month, The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, the only Four-Star Three-Day on North American Soil, with all that excitement I am not sure how I will survive the month.

For more information check out,

Kentucky Horse Park Calendar.

Keeneland

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10.02.10

State of the Games: Mid-way Point!

Posted in 2010 Games, Discussion, Kentucky, Logistics, My Thoughts, My Volunteering, Position Statements, World Equestrian Games at 11:42 pm by Thomas

The attendance totals for today are over 50,000 bringing the total for the Games after 8 days to just over 234,000 which is impressive when you figure at the start of September the ticket sales were not much more then that.  This is an indication of what a lot of us thought, that because of the current economic recession(NBER be damned) that everyone is not wanting to lay down their hard earned cash until they are walking in the door.

This also shows the strength of the silent majority in Kentucky that are horse people in comparison to a very negative and vocal minority that wanted to say these Games would be a failure.  Now before I get accused of putting the cart before the horse (excuse the pun) ,  we are only at the halfway point, so I will not pronounce these Games a success from the financial point of view, that will take many months to say whether a number of the short term goals that were given in that regard were met, but from the stand point of Kentucky being able to put on these Games in a manner where everyone is having a great time, and that word is getting out, and the city is not being crippled while the Games are going on, I think we all can say these Games are going better at this point then any of us could of hoped.

Now again, before anyone says I am just focusing on the things that are going well and I am not giving the total picture,  I will say I have been out to the park 7 of the first 8 days and I have seen some situations were the planning did come up short.  In one case I ended up right smack in the middle of a 30 minute oversight.  I say 30 minute because that was the time difference between when an event was expected to end and when it really did but I can also tell you, that within an hour the negative impact caused by that had been eliminated because the staff and volunteers at the Games are a very flexible and resourceful group.  So as I have said for a very long time, there is a magic with these Games that is very real and a lot of good will come out of these Games for Kentucky for a long time to come.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas Demond
KyWEGO

08.23.10

Keeneland Fall Schedule (WEG Impact)

Posted in 2010 Games, Keeneland, Kentucky, Lexington, University of Kentucky, World Equestrian Games at 10:45 pm by Thomas

Keeneland’s Fall Meet runs Friday, October 8th through Saturday, October 30; post time 1:00 PM.

Basic Schedule for the 3 days overlapping with the Games follows with info and the Grade races.

October 8, 2010

Fall Race Meet – Live Racing
Opening Day Fall Meeting
Darley Alcibiades (G1)
Phoenix (G3)
FallStars Weekend

October 9, 2010

Shadwell Turf Mile (G1)
Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1)
Thoroughbred Club of America (G2)
Abu Dhabi First Lady (G1)
Woodford (G3)
The President of the United Arab Emirates Cup (G1)

October 10, 2010

Juddmonte Spinster (G1)
Bourbon (G3)

Traffic Impacts:   Keeneland opens at 11 AM and is located on the West side of Lexington with the primary bottlenecks being Man O War/Versailles Road at the entrance to Keeneland and Versailles Road/New Circle Road ~ 2 miles East of the main entrance.  The last race generally runs about 5 PM so on Friday the impact will be doubled with normal rush hour traffic.  On Saturday the University of Kentucky (Wildcats) football team will be taking on the Auburn (Tigers)  at home but I will post more information about that at a later date when I have more information on the expected impacts, just wanted to get that information out for people planning on coming out for the last weekend of the Games.

Keeneland area map

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