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Kentucky Organizations Team Up to Count Kentucky's Horses

While the often-raised question, "How many horses are there in Kentucky?" is a simple one, the answer isn't as straightforward. The answer depends on who you ask and how the count is done. What is known is that many horses never get counted by the Census of Agriculture because they are not on property classified as a "farm."

Figuring out how many horses live in Kentucky isn't just an exercise in counting. It's important. If we don't know how many horses are in Kentucky and where they live and what activities people use them for, we can't do a lot of things. For example, we can't estimate the economic importance of horses. We also can't argue for the need for riding trails or performance arenas if we can't say how many horses are involved in these activities. That means that determining just how many horses are in Kentucky is important to every horse owner.

"In Kentucky, Horses Count!" is a collaborative effort of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, the University of Kentucky Equine Initiative, the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) and the Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP) as well as many horse associations throughout Kentucky.

These groups are working together to try and contact every person who has a horse in Kentucky so they can answer the short survey. For this to be successful, everyone needs to help. If you have neighbors who have horses, ask them if they have completed the survey, and maybe even help them fill it out!

"This is one of the most important undertakings for the entire horse industry that our organizations can do," said Gene Clabes, KEEP's Interim Executive Director. "It is so important to Kentucky's horse industry and to Kentucky for a number of reasons."

"First, getting an accurate count helps Kentucky maintain its status as the 'Horse Capital of the World.' Equally important, knowing how many horses there are in Kentucky helps us convince policy makers, businesses and non-horse residents in this state just how important horses are for Kentucky's economy," he said.

You can get a copy of the "In Kentucky, Horses Count!" survey in several ways. Surveys are available on-line at or Or you can stop by your local county Extension office to pick up a copy or turn in a completed survey. If you belong to a Kentucky horse association, you can also get a copy from that association. Finally, you can contact Dr. Lori Garkovich, survey coordinator and professor at the University of Kentucky and get a copy from her. She can be reached at:

Lori Garkovich
500 Garrigus Bldg
University of Kentucky
Lexington KY 40546-0215
(859) 257-7581

The survey process will be in place from Oct.15, 2006 to Jan. 30, 2007. Getting everyone to participate is an important step in affirming that Kentucky horse owners, riders, and breeders can be found in many places across Kentucky and make a difference every day in our Commonwealth's economy. What we will learn from the "In Kentucky, Horses Count!" survey will be vital to every aspect of Kentucky's horse industry, from animal health issues to economic impact numbers for each county. This is something that has been lacking and now it's the time for your horse to stand up and be counted!

Kentucky Equine Education Project
Toll Free (866) 771-KEEP

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