Illinois Equine Promotion Board Awards More Than $84,000 in Grants

The Illinois Equine Industry Research and Promotion Board (EPB) has awarded more than $84,000 in grants, according to Chairwoman Karen Freese.

Grants are funded by the Illinois equine checkoff program, which provides for the voluntary assessment of a nickel per 50-pound bag of horse feed sold at retail.

The awards went to 10 projects in Illinois communities. The grants were presented at the 2011 Illinois Horse Fair last weekend in Springfield, attended by more than 10,000 horse owners.

A few of the awards included:

  • Sheryl King, PhD, director of the Equine Science Program at Southern Illinois University, received $7,800 to start "Horse Sense," an educational outreach program for horse novices across the state intended to deliver education and practical experience about horses and their management. "We'll include topics such as safety, nutrition, responsible care and welfare," King said. The program will act as a vehicle for outreach, mentorship and retention of new horse owners while increasing their involvement in the industry; and
  • Samuel Black, PhD, who heads University of Massachusetts' Veterinary and Animal Science department, in conjunction with the Morris Animal Foundation, was awarded $5,000 toward a study to identify the factors that lead to laminitis. "Teasing apart the chemical cascade that leads to laminitis is the first step to finding treatments, or even a cure for this potentially devastating condition," he said. This ongoing research also is supported by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and Knapp Fresian Foundation, and has the potential to benefit not only horses in Illinois, but around the world. The grant was accepted by Megan Hampton, development manager for Morris Animal Foundation.

Other grants included six for renovations or additions to county or district equestrian facilities and lesson farms, and two grants were awarded in support of Illinois therapeutic riding and driving programs.

By law, EPB funds must go to support equine research, education, and promotion in keeping with the enabling legislation's core purpose: "Enhancement of the Illinois equine industry through self-funded programs, projects and activities. Grants to institutions and individuals will be related to equine research, education, and industry enhancements and promotion."

Any group, individual, company, or institution may apply for funding. Preference will be given to projects benefiting the largest number of people/horses.

A detailed research application is available (as well as a shorter project application) at HorsemensCouncil.org or from the EPB administrative office, 3085 Stevenson Drive, Suite 200, Springfield, IL 62703, phone 217/529-6503.

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