- About Us
- Marketing Materials
- Contact Us
About Equine Programs
2010 Equine Initiative Strategic Plan
2012 UK Ag Equine Programs Annual Report
Background & History
The University of Kentucky's Equine Programs was launched in spring 2005 and implemented through three distinct phases. It is a renewed, continuing commitment by Kentucky’s land-grant university to its signature agricultural industry.
The final tipping point to the formation of Equine Programs was Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS), a disease that had not been previously recognized and whose cause was unknown when it appeared in Kentucky in late April 2001. MRLS resulted in widespread foal loss in mares, with an estimated 30 percent of 2002’s foal crop lost because of the disease. It is estimated that Kentucky suffered an economic impact of approximately $340 million due to losses suffered in all horse breeds.
Equine Programs formation
In the spring of 2005, UK's College of Agriculture set out to better serve Kentucky's multi-breed horse industry by building on the University's strong tradition of excellence in equine research, instruction and service and to enhance the Commonwealth's well-deserved status as the "Horse Capital of the World."
In May 2005, UK President Lee T. Todd, Jr. named Equine Programs as one of the University's "Commonwealth Collaboratives," a term encompassing projects aimed at improving Kentucky's schools, business climate, environment, health care and lifestyles.
First five years
Phases 1 and 2 consisted of information gathering and planning. In January 2007, Equine Programs and the College of Agriculture’s new Equine Science and Management undergraduate degree program were formally announced during a press conference at UK's Maine Chance Farm.
2010 – present
Five years after the implementation of Equine Programs, many strides have been made and UK has forged numerous partnerships with key constituents and organizations. There is now a thriving equine undergraduate degree program, increased research in many areas of equine science and greater equine outreach. Additionally, Equine Programs has implemented many channels of communication.
Equine Programs is an umbrella term encompassing all equine activities within UK’s College of Agriculture and crosses all three missions of a land grant institution. In this way, the original vision of the Equine Program’s structure has materialized. It is a multi-disciplinary and cross-department collaboration among equine faculty, staff and students.
Equine Programs academic home is within the College of Agriculture’s Research Office under the guidance of Dr. Nancy Cox. The Executive Director of Equine Programs is Dr. Edward Squires, a faculty member in the Gluck Equine Research Center. An executive committee provides a shared leadership function and an Equine Industry Advisory Committee advises on issues and direction important to the equine industry. Working groups of faculty, staff and students form around areas of equine interest to provide recommendations, planning, events and materials. Day to day operations of Equine Programs are handled by the Equine Programs Office. Other groups include the College of Agriculture Equine Forum, a group of faculty, staff and students from across UK who are interested in equine issues. This group also includes a growing number of external constituents.
Departments with an equine focus include
- Agricultural Economics for studies on the impact of the industry on regional, national and international economies
- Animal and Food Sciences in equine instruction, nutrition, 4-H and extension
- Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering in best management practices, horse transport, barn environments, composting and nutrient management
- Community and Leadership Development for the industry's contributions to communities and overall leadership of Equine Programs planning activities and equine economic white paper
- Entomology with solutions for Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome (MRLS) and farm pests
- Hospitality Management Program (Nutrition and Food Science department) in tourism value
- Landscape Architecture in land use planning and farm design
- Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center (LDDC) for its contribution to animal health
- Plant and Soil Sciences in pasture management, weeds and fescue removal
- Veterinary Science , with the prestigious Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center and Equine Parentage Verification Laboratory
The University of Kentucky's Equine Initiative changed its name to UK Ag Equine Programs. The name change was undertaken by the College of Agriculture in consultation with its internal and external stakeholders to better reflect the breadth of equine offerings at UK and the college's long-term commitment to serving the state's signature equine industry.