The Kentucky Equine Education Project held its first industry conference on October 18 in Lexington. It was focused on highlighting the progress made in the industry to date while also emphasizing how important it is for all breeds to work together in order to benefit the greater good of the horse industry.
“I think people are seeing that unity is how we move things forward,” said KEEP Executive Director Joe Clabes. He also said they hope to hold a similar conference next year and encouraged participants to submit topics of discussion. Unity was the theme of this year’s conference.
“There’s tremendous investment in infrastructure here,” said Hagyard Equine Medical Institute veterinarian/Kentucky Horse Racing Commissioner Dr. Stuart Brown while speaking on a panel about Kentucky’s industry stands. “We have some of the great resources: feed, blacksmiths, farriers, veterinariy diagnostic labs, veterinary medicine and research.
“There are 220 to 250 actively practicing equine vets in the Central Kentucky region. As I tell young people who want to practice in this area, it has to be done at an elite level because everything else here is done at that level.”
Another topic of discussion was the important of historical racing game. Since introduced, historical racing is nearing $2 billion in handle and has generated $22 million for the horse racing industry. In 2006, the Kentucky Equine Education Project helped push tax reform through in Kentucky that has seen roughly $10-12 million put back into the industry. “That was a big deal and it remains a huge deal,” said attorney William Hoskins.