Among the horses up for adoption at the KyEHC is Bold and Royal, a six-year-old thoroughbred gelding of about 16 hands.
"This is an opportunity for all of us to do the right thing and play a role in ensuring the welfare and humane treatment of horses here in Kentucky, the Horse Capital of the World," said the organization's president, Staci Hancock.
"With Kentucky's signature event, the Kentucky Derby, just around the corner, we believe it is an ideal time to open our doors and bring attention to the plight of horses who are at risk."
Hancock and her husband, Arthur, own Stone Farm in Paris Kentucky, which bred and raised Kentucky Derby winners Gato Del Sol, Sunday Silence and Fusaichi Pegasus. Both are on the frontline of the equine welfare/anti slaughter movements.
KyEHC is a first-of-its-kind facility, established with the specific goal of providing owners with a humane option when they need to give up their horses. The Center is located on a tranquil, 50-acre horse farm just outside of Lexington, Kentucky, which will be a safe refuge for at-risk horses of all breeds and disciplines. No horse in a precarious situation will ever be turned away. Adoptable horses will be placed in loving homes. Horses which are unadoptable due to chronic pain or permanent, crippling injuries will be humanely euthanized.
Kentucky Derby-winning trainer, Nick Zito (Strike The Gold and Go For Gin) and his wife Kim, are on the KyEHC board of advisors.
According to Nick, "Regardless of pedigree or performance, all horses have to be treated the same. Consequently, we all have the same responsibilities to meet those needs, whether we are working with Kentucky Derby winners or horses that are just horses. Again, they have to be treated the same."
John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park, site of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 and home of legendary racehorses John Henry and Cigar, observed, "A tremendous responsibility comes along with the privileges of being the Horse Capital of the World, so our industry and state need to make certain we are setting the highest possible example when it comes to equine welfare.
"Unfortunately, there is a vast, urgent need for shelters that will take all breeds of horses.
"The Kentucky Horse Park is contacted on a regular basis by people who are desperate to find a safe place for horses who are in a vulnerable situation. We are very happy that the Kentucky Equine Humane Center will ease suffering by meeting some of those needs."
The KyEHC is governed by an impressive board of directors and advisors*, representing a number of breeds and disciplines, whose commitment to horses and to the horse industry are matters of record. The organization's executive director, Lori Neagle, was co-founder of the successful Thoroughbred rescue organization, ReRun, and has extensive management and hands-on experience with racehorses, and in particular with geriatric horses.
The KyEHC has already received support from the equine industry and the community. Among those who have already committed their around-the-clock support are Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, Sallee Horse Vans, Jerry Parks Insurance Group, Equus Media, The Bell Group, Griffin Industries, Kentucky Horseshoeing School, Stephen Hillenmeyer Landscape Services, and Dean, Dorton and Ford. Several organizations in the National Horse Center at the Kentucky Horse Park are also networking with the group, including the United States Equestrian Foundation and the Kentucky Horse Council.
*KyEHC Board Members: President - Staci Hancock; Vice President - Joan Ciampi; Treasurer - Ralph S. "Bud" Watson II, CPA; Secretary - Meg Jewett; Susan Bryson, Esq; Tom E. Daugherty, DVM; Arnold Kirkpatrick; James Smith, DVM; Advisory Board: Josephine Abercrombie, Alice Chandler, Diane M. Curry, Tracy and Carol Farmer, Greg and Becky Goodman, John Hettinger, Chris and Judy McCarron, Lori Kirk-Wagner, Congressman and Mrs. Ed Whitfield, Mary Lou Whitney and John Hendrickson, Nick and Kim Zito.