Lexington, KY (March 4, 2019) – The Kentucky Horse Council has announced support for their top legislative priority for 2019, HB 98 also known as Klaire’s Law. The bill strengthens the laws surrounding equine abuse and neglect.
Introduced by Representative Diane St. Onge, HB 98 creates a new section of KRS 525 clearly defining equine abuse and neglect. Cruelty to equines would be made a Class D felony and the bill provides for termination of ownership interests for guilty parties as well as restitution for damage to the property of others as well as for the costs associated with caring for any equine that was the subject of the offense resulting in conviction. Find the amended bill here: HB 98.
The bill has received bipartisan sponsorship support from Representatives St. Onge, Mark Hart, and Ruth Ann Palumbo. To help advance HB 98, please contact your legislator and voice your support. Individuals can find your legislators here: Find your legislator.
“At a time when Kentucky has been consistently recognized for having the worst animal welfare laws in the United States, we are pleased to see our elected officials taking notice and making a stand to protect equine rights,” said Kentucky Horse Council Board President Ryan Watson. “It is critical that we protect the animals that make up our Commonwealth’s signature industry and take a step forward as a leader in the equine industry in this country.”
For more information on how to support HB 98, please contact Kentucky Horse Council Executive Director Katy Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 367-0509.
Individual Treatment Of Horses Key To Success In Equine Makeover Competitions
Lexington, KY (February 26, 2019) -A variety of equine enthusiasts gathered at the Red Mile Clubhouse for the first meeting of the Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA) in 2019. Presented by the Equine Law Group of Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, the evening highlighted successful competitors in both the Mustang Makeover and the Retired Racehorse Project's Thoroughbred Makeover; both competitions focus on creating horses that are prepared for new careers.
Equine professionals, horse owners and recreational riders heard first-hand about the importance of treating a horse as both an individual and as an athlete to get the best performance from them in the show ring. Dr. Fernanda Camargo, an Associate Extension Professor in the Department of Animal and Food Sciences at the University of Kentucky, spoke on feeding the two vastly different breeds.
"Everything has to do with calories in and calories out," she explained, noting that the breed of horse is not an excuse for a horse to be too thin or too heavy. Thoroughbreds tend to need a significantly higher number of calories per day than Mustangs, which are designed to be thrifty and to hold on to calories they ingest. Additional factors to consider when determining the correct amount of feed to offer a horse include what kind of exercise the horse is expected to do; how often he will be worked; the skill level of the rider; the climate; the condition of the ground on which he will be worked; and the combined weight of the tack and rider.
With only six weeks to nine months to prepare the horse for competition, it's important to constantly reassess the horse and his energy requirements, she noted.
Dan James, a renowned equine educator and competitor, has competed in a plethora of training competitions, including the Mustang Millionionaire and the Road to the Horse competitions; he has coached multiple students to top-level placings in the Mustang Makeover and the Thoroughbred Makeover.
Dan spoke about what he feels is the main point to keep in mind when working with a horse for any format of training competition: the difference between re-education and education. A rider is re-educating a Thoroughbred, who has already had many life experiences by the time he retires from racing. Educating a Mustang is vastly different: The horses used in these competitions are not completely unaccustomed to humans, but they have never been saddled or ridden. Though the management and training of these two breeds may be different, James' advice for success in any makeover competition is the same: Don't go it alone; invest in a quality trainer; and don't underestimate the impact of a mentor.
The final panelist, Emily Brollier Curtis, owns and operates a dressage training and sales business out of Lexington, KY, where she has developed more than 12 horses to the FEI competition levels. She specializes in both young and difficult horses, and has an innate knack for restarting Thoroughbreds that have retired from the track and for finding them new homes.
Emily also reiterated the necessity to treat each horse like an individual. She noted that the horse she prefers as a ride for herself, a professional, is much hotter than a Thoroughbred she is seeking to place with an adult amateur rider whose main focus is to be to enjoy a quiet horse with a good brain. "It's not a bad thing that they want to go," she explains, but it's the rider's job to teach the horse that "go" is not all he is expected to do any longer. She focuses on exposing the horse to new experiences both on and off the farm to make him understand his new job.
Thoroughbreds want to learn and please, then they want to be left alone to do their job, she says. The release of pressure is the best reward for these horses. Though it's important to look at the end game (the competition), it's imperative that the trainer take it one day at a time and treat each horse as an individual to give them the best possible chance for success, she concludes.
The next KENA meeting will take place on May 21 at the Red Mile Clubhouse in Lexington with the topic, "Managing Mud
With so many people participating and watching events such as the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover and the Mustang Makeover, KENA will feature a panel of participants in those events. Emily Brollier Curtis, Dan James, and Dr. Fernanda Camargo, DVM, Ph.D. will make up the panel.
Ms. Curtis is a Grand Prix level dressage rider and trainer through her Miramonte Equine and has a talent for restarting off the track thoroughbreds. She has competed at the Retired Racehorse Project Thoroughbred Makeover in the dressage division. Mr. James, of Double Dan Horsemanship, is a world-renowned equine entertainer, educator, and competitor. He started retraining off the track thoroughbreds early in his career as an eventer and has participated and finished as a Top 5 Finalist in the Mustang Millionaire, in addition to being invited to participate in the upcoming Rodeo Bucking Horse Makeover. In addition to his own success with makeover horses, Mr. James has coached numerous makeover horse Top 5 Finalists, including Mustang Makeover Winners and TB Makeover Winners. Dr. Camargo is a professor at the University of Kentucky in the Ag Equine Program as well as an extension specialist and 4H advisor, will discuss the management of makeover horses, starting with assessing their initial needs, including feeding, shoeing and more.
"We are excited to present such an interesting and timely topic," Kentucky Horse Council Executive Director Katy Ross. "With the increasing popularity of events like the Retired Racehorse Project's Thoroughbred Makeover, Mustang Millionaire and the Mustang Makeover, we see more and more people adopting OTTBs and mustangs. This panel of experts will be able to address some of the challenges and rewards of adopting these animals and participating in these events."
KENA is charged with the mission of providing an educational and social venue for equine professionals and horse enthusiasts from all disciplines. Organized by the Kentucky Horse Council and supported by the University of Kentucky Ag Equine Program, KENA provides the opportunity for attendees to share ideas, business strategies and knowledge, and to obtain up-to-date information on horse and farm management and on issues affecting the equine industry.
The February 19 dinner is presented by Dinsmore & Shohl LLP's Equine Law Group. Dinsmore & Shohl is a full-service law firm with offices in twenty-three cities throughout eleven states and the District of Columbia, including Kentucky offices in Lexington, Frankfort, Louisville and Covington. The Dinsmore Equine Law Group is a generous supporter of the KENA dinner series.
The Kentucky Equine Networking Association welcomes all Kentucky horse owners, professionals and enthusiasts to attend the February 19 event. For details and reservations, visit www.kentuckyhorse.org. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
Kentucky Equine Networking Meeting Focused On Process Of Equine Neglect Cases
Lexington, KY (November 30, 2018) -The Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA) welcomed a diverse range of attendees to their November meeting, which was one of the largest of 2018. Focused on understanding the process of prosecuting equine neglect and abuse cases in Kentucky, as well as the roadblocks organizations assisting with these cases may encounter, the room was full of horse owners, riders and enthusiasts.
Speakers included Lt. Jai Hamilton, a certified Humane Investigator with Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control; Jacque Mayer, Assistant County Attorney for the Fayette County Attorney’s Office; and Karen Gustin, Executive Director of the Kentucky Equine Humane Center in Nicholasville, Ky.
Before delving into her role in equine neglect cases, Jai offered the audience some statistics so they might understand better how her department operates. She explained that in Lexington, there are 11 animal control officers for a city with 321,000 residents, and about 1,600 welfare cases reported each year. Jai pointed out that most animal cruelty complaints her department receives arise from unintentional neglect. Because of this, her department has two goals: to educate clients and to raise the animal’s standard of care.
She noted some challenges within her department: not all Animal Control Officers have equine experience; there are limited funds for the training of officers; and there is high employee turnover because of compassion fatigue. An additional challenge Jai mentioned, and all other panelists reiterated, is that the Kentucky lacks laws to punish animal abuse and neglect. Kentucky currently ranks last of all 50 states for animal safety; animal abuse and neglect in Kentucky is not a felony—it’s a misdemeanor.
This lack of ability to enact severe penalties is part of the of the reason why many animal abuse cases never go to court, said Jacque. The pretrial is extensive, she noted, as it can take a long time to contact witnesses and obtain photos and testimony in a neglect case.
However, she noted that though these cases are more complex, they are easier to prove: Lawyers do not have to prove that the defendant had intent to harm the animals—simply that he or she harmed them. The maximum fine for someone found guilty of animal neglect in Kentucky is 365 days imprisonment per animal (terms that can run concurrently) and a $500 per-animal fine.
Karen Gustin spoke on the how her organization handles neglected and abused horses that come into her care, whether from owner surrender or from another entity like an animal control department. At a minimum, Karen is required to have a veterinarian assess the horse and note its Body Condition Score. She must also take photos from very specific angles upon the horse’s arrival; these images are sent to the State Veterinarian’s Office and the horse is posted on the Stray or Abandoned Equine webpage. If the horse is not claimed by an owner in 15 days, it becomes the property of KyEHC.
“From the standpoint of a Center who provides rehabilitation to abused and neglected horses in order to ready them for adoption, some of the most challenging things we deal with are: A lack of knowledge about who to contact when abuse and neglect occurs; a lack of responsiveness from appropriate agencies … because of very limited resources and facilities to care for horses; and cost,” explains Karen. “Often these cases are very costly from a veterinary standpoint and nonprofits are challenged to ensure that funding is available for treatment. Typically, difficult cases can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 for emergency care and subsequent treatment.”
Overall, each of the panelists reiterated these points:
As a farm owner or horse lover, consider locating an organization that helps with equine neglect and abuse cases in your area and find out how you can help. Help can range from financial donations, housing and care of surrendered horses, or even assistance with training officers unfamiliar with horses.
To learn more about the Kentucky Horse Council visit www.kentuckyhorse.org
To learn more about the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, visit www.kyehc.org.
The next KENA meeting will take place on February 19, 2019 at The Red Mile Clubhouse in Lexington.
The Kentucky Horse Council is a nonprofit 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.
Lexington, KY (November 5, 2018) – The Kentucky Horse Council hosted its 2018 Annual Member Meeting at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY on October 21, 2018. Horse Council members from all over the Commonwealth attended and new board members were elected and new officers elected for 2019.
The new director elections include Dr. Elizabeth James, Jen Roytz, Kelsey Shanley, Jenny Van Wieren-Page, and Shawna White. Dr. James spent ten years as a professor and internship coordinator in the Equine Program at the University of Kentucky and currently manages Double Dan Horsemanship with her husband, Dan James, providing equine education, entertainment, lessons and clinics worldwide. Jen Roytz is the Executive Director of the retired Racehorse Project, co-owner of Topline Communications, a full-service marketing and communications agency, and a writer regularly covering horseracing, aftercare, and equine health topics. Kelsey Shanley is the Director of National Affiliates at US Equestrian. Jenny Van Wieren-Page is a private horse farm owner, account executive at the International Spa Association and the former Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the United States Pony Club. Shawna White worked for The Horse Media Group and has recently transition to a digital specialist at Kentucky Equine Research (KER).
“We are excited to add such a diverse group of people from so many different equine backgrounds to our Board of Directors and to have such strong leadership as the result of our elections,” said Kentucky Horse Council Executive Director Katy Ross. “The skills of the new directors, combined with the experience and leadership of the returning board members, will benefit the Kentucky Horse Council immeasurably as we continue to expand our programming and focus on the health and welfare of horses in Kentucky.”
Additionally, the Kentucky Horse Council Board of Directors elected new officers. Ryan Watson was elected president of the board. Aubri Hostetter was elected vice-president. Hannah Niebielski and Nicole Rivera were reelected as secretary and treasurer, respectively.
For the complete list of the Kentucky Horse Council Board of Directors and more information about membership, visit www.kentuckyhorse.org.
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.
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Lexington, KY (October 25, 2018) -The Kentucky Horse Council has announced the topic for the November Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA) dinner. The November topic will be "Understanding Abuse and Neglect Cases." The dinner will be held on November 13, 2018, at The Red Mile Clubhouse in Lexington, Ky. KENA is a dinner and educational series open to equine professionals, horse owners, and riders and will feature a networking reception from 5:30-6:00 PM, followed by dinner with the main speakers from 6:00-8:00 PM.
Abuse and neglect cases are a complicated issue with many legal requirements and steps that must be taken. This can slow down the process, causing concern for the horses as well as those who may be responsible for caring for them. The November panel consists of Jai Hamilton, Cruelty Investigator for the Lexington-Fayette County Animal Care and Control office, Karen Gustin, Executive Director of the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, and Jacqueline Mayer, Assistant Fayette County Attorney.
"We field a lot of calls from concerned individuals about suspected horse abuse or neglect," says Kentucky Horse Council Executive Director Katy Ross. "Many of these people become frustrated when action cannot be taken immediately to help a horse. We are pleased to have put together a panel that can explain the challenges associated with identifying, investigating, prosecuting and rehabbing abused and neglected horses."
The Kentucky Equine Networking Association welcomes all Kentucky horse owners, professionals and enthusiasts to attend the November 13 event. For details and reservations, visit www.kentuckyhorse.org. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
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
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Lexington, KY (October 15, 2018) – The Kentucky Horse Council has announced they will be awarding two $1,500 scholarships to Kentucky students already attending college or accepted into a college who have demonstrated academic success, equine industry involvement and community service for the Spring 2019 Semester.
The Equine Scholarship will be awarded to students currently enrolled with a university or college in Kentucky in an equine-related major or a horse-related program, or a student accepted into an equine related major or program to start in the Spring 2019 semester. Some examples of courses of studies for which the scholarships are intended are Equine Science/Studies, Equine Business Management, Equine Therapy, Pre-Veterinarian, Farrier Training, Professional Jockey Certificate, Professional Horsemen’s Certificate, etc. Applicants must be student members of the Kentucky Horse Council.
“The Kentucky Horse Council is thrilled to once again be offering scholarships to college students in Kentucky,” says Kentucky Horse Council Executive Director Katy Ross. “Education is an important part of our mission and we look forward to supporting the efforts of a deserving student as they explore a future in the equine industry.”
Applications for the scholarship will be accepted until November 16, 2018. The scholarship will be awarded on December 12. The student is required to be a member of the Kentucky Horse Council. Student memberships are free and interested students may sign up at www.kentuckyhorse.org.
To download the scholarship application, visit www.kentuckyhorse.org.
Lexington, KY (October 10, 2018) - A core tenet of the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) is its dedication to the protection of the state's equine community and its horses. The organization has multiple programs in place to act as safety nets for horses in the state of Kentucky, but one opportunity in particular focuses on strategic teamwork to preserve the safety of horses and other Bluegrass livestock: the Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training.
Offered to all Kentucky-based emergency service responders, veterinary professionals, animal control officers and the public at large, the training prepares attendees for a large-animal emergency rescue situation, focusing on keeping humans and animals as safe as possible during the event. Offered yearly, the course focuses on the facilitation of open conversation between veterinarians, firemen, volunteers and police, showing each how to better assist the other when responding to emergency situations where large animals are involved.
Begun in 2014, the three-day training has both hands-on and classroom learning opportunities. Scenarios that are discussed include entrapments, barn fires, trailer accidents on the roadway, water rescues, natural disaster preparation and response, and riding accidents, among others.
In 2018, 40 people received nearly 24 hours of instruction from Tori and Justin McLeod of 4Hooves Large Animal Service LLC. Based in Spring Lake, N.C., the husband-and-wife duo specialize in large animal technical rescue emergency response and in training for emergency responders and veterinary professionals.
Richard Nolan, a member of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture/Farm Safety Team, attended the Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training and had several "aha" moments during the course. "I'm a firm believer in that 'you can't lead someone where you have never been,'" Nolan says. "Justin and Tori McCloud are great teachers because of their breadth of experience."
While he recognizes that no two scenarios will ever be the same, one of the biggest takeaways he had was that "The broader the knowledge of the team executing the rescue or recovery, the greater the opportunity for success."
This focus on teamwork permeated every aspect of the workshop. Officer Scott Lynch, a mounted police officer with the Lexington Mounted Patrol, says he "gained an understanding of the requirements to succeed and therefore have a better opportunity to keep the situation from becoming worse until personnel and equipment can reach the scene."
"This training is absolutely worthwhile and necessary for first responders or persons working around large animals. The main thing I took away from this ... is the need for preparation before an incident," he explains.
"The Kentucky economy depends on the success of our equine and cattle industries," says Katy Ross, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Council. "We've all heard the stories of both horses and cattle finding themselves in interesting predicaments. It's critical that we have first responders and veterinarians who are properly trained in how to deal with these situations, not only to protect and save the animals' lives, but to protect the humans dealing with them as well."
Want to learn more about the Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training or find out how to register? Click here. https://kentuckyhorse.org/Large-Animal-Emergency-Rescue. Thank you to our 2018 sponsors: US Equestrian Disaster Relief Fund, Otterbein University, Neogen, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, Zoetis, Kentucky Horse Park, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute and Rocky M. Mason, DVM with Lexington Equine Medical.
The 2019 Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training will be held September 20-22 at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Lexington, KY (August 28, 2018) – The Kentucky Horse Council has announced the recipients of two Equine Scholarships for the Fall 2018 semester, Morehead State University student Brittany Rust and University of Kentucky student Morgan Dailey.
The Equine Scholarship is awarded to student members of the Kentucky Horse Council currently enrolled with a university or college in Kentucky in an equine-related major or a horse-related program, or a student accepted into an equine related major or program to start in the Fall 2018 semester. Some examples of courses of studies for which the scholarships are intended are Equine Science/Studies, Equine Business Management, Equine Therapy, Pre-Veterinarian, Farrier Training, Professional Jockey Certificate, Professional Horsemen’s Certificate, etc.
Brittany Rust is a sophomore at Morehead State University majoring in pre-veterinary science. Originally from Cold Spring, Kentucky, Brittany has been an active member of both the Northern Kentucky Horse Network and the Future Farmers of America. She plans to become an equine veterinarian and works with and shows rocky mountain horses.
Morgan Dailey is a freshman at the University of Kentucky studying biology on the pre-vet track. From Louisville, Kentucky, Morgan is a lacrosse player and long-time American Saddlebred rider. She also plans to become an equine veterinarian.
“The Kentucky Horse Council received a large number of very impressive applicants for the Equine Scholarships,” says Kentucky Horse Council Executive Director Katy Ross. “These two young ladies were selected for their academic excellence and their involvement in the horse industry. We are proud to be able to help them further their studies and careers.”
The Kentucky Horse Council will offer scholarships for the Spring 2019 semester. Student memberships are free and interested students may sign up at www.kentuckyhorse.org
Lexington, KY (July 23, 2018) -The Kentucky Horse Council has announced the topic for the August Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA) dinner. The August topic, presented by Zoetis, will be Mitigating Risk for Farm and Horse Owners. The speaker panel for the event will feature Dr. Tim Potter, Travers Manley and John David Christman. The dinner will be held on August 21, 2018, at The Red Mile Clubhouse in Lexington, Ky. KENA is a dinner and educational series open to equine professionals, horse owners, and riders and will feature a networking reception from 5:30-6:00 PM, followed by dinner with the main speakers from 6:00-8:00 PM.
Dr. Tim Potter is employed as an Animal Scientist with Robson Forensic, Inc. He provides technical investigations, analysis, reports, and testimony toward the resolution of commercial and personal injury litigation involving areas of animal science, including appraisals, behavior and training, facility design and construction, fencing, nutrition, reproduction, and safety issues. Travers Manley is an attorney with Dinsmore and Shohl, LLP practicing in the firm's Equine Law Group. He will address the equine activity liability act, waivers and releases and other ways to limit liability for individuals and businesses in the horse industry. John David Christman is an agent with Equus/Standardbred Station, Inc. and will discuss farm and horse insurance and how to use that insurance to limit the financial risks for owners.
"There are so many risks associated with owning a horse farm, business or even just a horse," says Kentucky Horse Council Executive Director Katy Ross. "We are excited to have this diverse panel to help members understand those risks and how to protect themselves, legally and financially."
The August 21 dinner is presented by Zoetis.
The Kentucky Equine Networking Association welcomes all Kentucky horse owners, professionals and enthusiasts to attend the August 21 event. For details and reservations, visit www.kentuckyhorse.org. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
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