'Unwanted' Horses Focus of July KENA Meeting

Four years ago a myriad of events led to an increase in so-called unwanted horses. "Unwanted horse" is a loose term that defines every horse that does not have a purpose, including horses that are owned and cared for but are actually unwanted, those whose owners are neglectful, and abandoned horses.

Reports of abandoned horses running loose on strip mines and in communities found their way into popular press and the internet. Likewise, images of emaciated horses have been top news stories in Kentucky and around the country. Is the situation as bad as some portray? How do you separate the myth from reality? Is there really anything that can be done? How do the incidents of unwanted horses affect the average horse owner?

At the next Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA) dinner meeting scheduled for July 19, a panel of experts will provide insight into the blight of Kentucky's unwanted horses. Presenters include Bob Stout, DVM, Kentucky state veterinarian; David Fugate, DVM, of the West Liberty Veterinary Clinic; Lori Neagle of the Kentucky Equine Humane Center; and Earl Hatter of the Kentucky Animal Care and Control Association.

"The Kentucky Horse Council (KCH) has worked extensively with the Department of Agriculture, veterinary medical association, equine rescues, and animal control agencies to develop programs that address the needs of unwanted horses," explained Anna Zinkhon, KHC president. "Through coordinated efforts, we have learned a great deal about the extent of the problem and the challenges in finding workable solutions. Unwanted horses aren't someone else's problem--they are a concern for all facets of the Kentucky equine community."

The networking meeting begins at 6 p.m. with registration and a cash bar. During dinner attendees will view a special discipline presentation on three-day eventing.

The keynote presentation, "Unwanted Horses: Why we still have them & how it affects you," kicks off with an overview by Essie Rogers, KHC Director of Education & Welfare, at 7:15 p.m.

The evening also includes a silent auction to benefit the KHC SoHo Fund, which provides feed for horses when they are confiscated as part of a neglect case. The KHC Geld Voucher program and Equine Safety Net program are funded by SoHo, as well as Coggins testing and transport for Kentucky horses headed for rescue facilities. Proceeds from the SoHo silent auction will be matched by a generous donation from the Modern Woodmen of America.

KENA is a program of the Kentucky Horse Council and the UK Equine Initiative. It is an educational and networking dinner series for equine professionals in Kentucky, targeted specifically at those who participate in breeding and reproductive services, instruction, training, boarding, and showing.

The July 19 meeting begins with a cash bar and networking at 6 p.m. EDT at the Clarion Hotel in Lexington, Ky. Cost to attend is $25 for the general public and $20 for KHC members. For more information about KENA, the Kentucky Horse Council, or to register for the July meeting, visit kentuckyhorse.org/kena/.

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Kentucky Horse Council

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