Major Equine Survey Planned for Kentucky

State and federal organizations are conducting a major survey of the equine population in Kentucky in the hope of developing plans to move the industry forward.

The Kentucky Horse Council, one of four organizations involved in the survey (the University of Kentucky [UK], University of Louisville, and the National Agriculture Statistics Service [NASS] are the other three), said in order to be comprehensive, the survey must include individuals that keep horses for recreational purposes in addition to commercial farms. The survey will include all breeds and disciplines of horses, as well as ponies, mules, and donkeys, and will be the first such study in the commonwealth in 35 years, officials said.

University of Kentucky officials said the study results will accurately describe the economic impact of the equine industry; quantify the number of horses at the county level; provide information for businesses seeking to locate in the state; provide information to design and implement equine programs; establish a benchmark to allow the horse industry to adapt to market conditions; and allow for better assessment of disease incidence and surveillance.

"The results will be scientifically sound," a UK official said. "Not only will the study yield high-quality data with scientific merit, but because it will involve all breeds and types of horses in every county of the state, it will provide numerous benefits to a wide array of efforts, including economic development and planning."

Interested parties can submit their contact information to NASS at for a chance to be included in the survey. The deadline for inclusion is Feb. 17.

The questionnaire for the study should be available in June, with preliminary results of the survey released in the first quarter of 2013.

The NASS Kentucky Field Office, which falls under the United States Department of Agriculture and surveys other livestock entities, will head polling and survey mailing. The other three organizations are developing questions for the survey.

About the Author

Tom LaMarra

Tom LaMarra, a native of New Jersey and graduate of Rutgers University, has been news editor at The Blood-Horse since 1998. After graduation he worked at newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania as an editor and reporter with a focus on municipal government and politics. He also worked at Daily Racing Form and Thoroughbred Times before joining The Blood-Horse. LaMarra, who has lived in Lexington since 1994, has won various writing awards and was recognized with the Old Hilltop Award for outstanding coverage of the horse racing industry. He likes to spend some of his spare time handicapping races.

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