My daughter and I took a trip down to Nicholasville, Kentucky with horse trailer in tow to haul an adopted horse home from Kentucky Equine Humane Center (KyEHC) for one of our lesson students. The beautiful drive took us through the heart of the Bluegrass in Versailles, Kentucky. We passed such notable Thoroughbred horse farms as Ashford Stud, Claiborne Farm, and Keeneland Race Course. This was the same area the box office hit movie Dreamer was filmed. We were quite surprised when we turned on to the road that Kentucky Equine Humane Center was located on to see Eclipse Award winning Ramsey Farms, another notable Thoroughbred farm. Needless to say we were in the middle of horse country.
The horse barn at Kentucky Equine Humane Center.
Kentucky Equine Humane Center is a non-profit organization that takes in all breeds of horses, with about 50% being Thoroughbreds, that are in critical need of care and needing to be re-homed. They work with animal control and law enforcement agencies by taking in horses who have been abandoned or abused. The center leases 72 acres and now has 32 horses, yesterday there were 33 when we arrived, and has room for 35. The Center takes in and adopts out about 4-6 horses a month. If you look at the list of founders of this organization they are the whose who of the Thoroughbred racing industry.
One of the resident equines at Kentucky Equine Humane Center grazes in one of the picturesque pastures.
We were there to help approved adopter Kelly McCulloch and her mother Annette find the perfect horse for Kelly. Kentucky Equine Humane Center Director Karen Gustin, trainer for the Center Olivia Dixon, and barn manager Julie Cooper were also there to assist Kelly in picking out her new equine partner.
Kelly McCulloch gives Warmblood mare Lilly a test ride.
The first horse Kelly tried out was a 9 year old stout chestnut Warmblood mare named Lilly. Lilly was a little out of shape but a calm enough mount. She would need more ride time to get herself back into shape. Most of the horses at Kentucky Equine Humane will need some extra work/re-training in order for them to be considered finished horses. She quickly became a contender for adoption by Kelly.
The Center's director Karen Gustin has Thoroughbred Three Wild Wonders awaiting his turn to be tacked up and ridden for his test ride.
The next horse was a 6 year old bay ex-racehorse Thoroughbred gelding named Three Wild Wonders. As most Thoroughbreds are, Three Wild Wonders was quite forward and willing to go when asked. He did all that was asked of him as best he could for the stage of training he had after being retired off the track. Although he was a bit more forward then Kelly was comfortable with my daughter Carly loved riding him and he was considered a great project for eventing due to his stamina.
The Center's trainer Olivia Dixon warms up Three Wild Wonders for his test ride as barn manager Julie Cooper looks on.
There was one horse that Kelly had considered as her favorite to try out. This pretty 5 year old Thoroughbred mare’s name is Magic Heiress. The staff at Kentucky Equine Humane thought she would most likely fit the bill for 12 year old Kelly. Magic Heiress did not disappoint and rode calmly for Kelly and was willing to do all that was asked by her. In the end the decision came down to the Warmblood mare Lilly or the Thoroughbred mare Magic Heiress.
Happy Kelly McCulloch with her brand new adopted Thoroughbred mare Magic Heiress.
The two mares were discussed and compared and in the end Kelly’s top contender won out and she became the proud new owner of Magic Heiress. Magic Heiress is now at her new home.
If you are interested in adopting one of the horses at Kentucky Equine Humane Center you will need to fill out an adoption application on the Center’s website and get approved first.
If you would like to help out Kentucky Equine Humane Center there are plenty of ways to do so as they have many fundraisers going on. The Center is funded by gifts, donations, fundraisers, and special events. Approximately 80% of their hay is donated with 40% of their grain donated. The most helpful areas that the Center can use help on are with veterinary care, farrier care, and feed. Veterinary clinics Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital and Haygard Equine Medical Institute help the Center with veterinary care. One of the fundraisers for the KyEHC is a silent auction during Hats Off Day at the Kentucky Horse Park sponsored by Rood & Riddle held on August 4. Another fundraiser is a Black Tie Dinner held during the Alltech National Horse Show held at the Kentucky Horse Park on October 30 - November 4. For more information on how to help out the Kentucky Equine Humane Center or to adopt one of their horses go to their website here.
The mission statement for the Kentucky Equine Humane Center is as follows:
To provide humane treatment and shelter while working as a clearinghouse to seek adoptive homes for all of Kentucky's unwanted equines, regardless of breed.
To educate the public and raise awareness for responsible equine ownership so that fewer horses end up in crisis.
To work with and serve as a model for organizations with the same mission in other states: to save America's equines from inhumane treatment.
Kentucky Equine Humane Center is located at 1713 Catnip Hill Rd. in Nicholasville, KY 40356.
Photos: Courtesy of Sandy Dolan