Friday, February 10, 2012

UK equine program drops 'Initiative' from its name, reflecting maturity and growing role in industry

The University of Kentucky's program for the horse industry, a key part of the Midway area, is growing up. Formerly called the Equine Initiative, it is now UK Ag Equine Programs, reflecting its home in the College of Agriculture and its growing number of offerings.

The program was launched in 2005 when the college "set out to radically change how it served Kentucky’s signature equine industry and provide a suite of services appropriate for a land-grant university," a UK press release said. Since then, "We have indeed transformed the ‘initiative’ into established, world-class, service-oriented programs across the board," said Nancy Cox, the college's associate dean for research and administrative leader for program.

Norm Luba, executive director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council and chair of the college’s equine advisory committee, said in the release that UK “has delivered on its promise of initiating a diverse portfolio of equine research, teaching and service programs. The UK Ag Equine program is now a permanent resource to the Kentucky horse industry, as well as poised to benefit an international horse industry that looks to Kentucky as the horse capital of the world.”

Program director Ed Squires said, “The name change reflects the broad nature and many areas of expertise, across many departments, of our equine programs at UK. We continue our commitment to be a world leader and premier resource for the equine industry.”

UK has long had equine-health and nutrition-research programs, and outreach programs targeted to horse owners, but until recently did not have a dedicated undergraduate degree in equine studies, or a focal point for the college's equine work. It now has a four-year degree in equine science and management with 39 graduates and 220 students; an internship program completed by 94 students; several new equine-focused faculty and staff doing new research; an online monthly newsletter; and new outreach programs, such as one to evaluate pastures. For more information, click here.

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