Horse Council, University of Kentucky to survey all breeds, impact

The Kentucky Agricultural Development Board on Thursday approved a $300,000 grant for a statewide, all-breed survey of the economic impact of equines.

The $600,000 survey will be done by the Kentucky Horse Council in conjunction with the University of Kentucky, which has provided $200,000 in matching funds; the University of Louisville; and the National Agricultural Statistics Service. An additional $100,000 is coming from industry associations across Kentucky.

According to the Horse Council's application, the survey will measure "the scope of all industry participants, from production and training, to recreation and hobbyists."

Horse Council executive director Ginny Grulke said she thinks the data will be powerful.

"I think it will be really good market data and may help develop tourism," she said. "If someone wants to put in a new show facility, we'll help them find out if it will be profitable."

The survey will document how many horses are in Kentucky, what kind and where, and what they are used for, with an eye to where new growth and services can go.

With the data, the horse industry hopes "to provide sound responses to emerging markets, create (a) business framework that leverages resources and may increase demand. The applicant hopes this will increase profitability across the industry."

The council must present its results to the Agricultural Development Board by June 30, 2013. The board wants the survey to include an economic impact study; the number of horses and their breeds, locations, abilities, and value; services; profitability; and a comprehensive list of commercial breeders, trainers and businesses related to the industry.