County equine survey reveals
extensive economic impact on region
Council says study supports need for a horse park
Helen E. McKinney
(January 2008) As of Dec. 31, 2006, equine owners
and related businesses contributed more than $32.7 million to Oldham
County and Kentucky economy through expenditures. Such data as this
was revealed through the recently completed Oldham County Equine Survey.
by Helen McKinney
Lowry and Doug Wampler
review the equine survey at the
Longfield Farm offices in Goshen, Ky.,
a portion of which is below.
Horses contribute to our quality of life,
said Mary Lowry, executive director of the Oldham County Equine Council.
Ken Heppermann, owner of Equine Business Resources LLC in Goshen, Ky.,
compiled this survey for the Equine Council and Oldham Ahead as a way
to determine the number of equines in Oldham County and to determine
the equine industrys economic impact on local economy.
For some time, Lowry has been on a mission to create a greater awareness
of Oldham Countys horse community. She conducts lessons, clinics
and camps from her Skylight farm, Alta Vista, and helped institute the
18-member Equine Council in January 2007.
This survey is one of the few countywide equine economic impact studies
completed in Kentucky and the United States.
Surveys were mailed to 451 respondents, with a total of 122 positive
responses. Follow-up phone calls and personal visits were made to operations
that did not respond to the mailed survey in an effort to maximize response
rates. Six basic categories were covered: Breeding Farms, Race Horse
Training Centers, Boarding Stables, 15 Head and Up, 5-14 Head, and 1-4
Results will be presented to state leaders in Frankfort
in the future and shared with horse racing industry affiliates and the
Kentucky Horse Council. A copy has been sent to State Sen. Ernie Harris,
The equine industry impacts tourism and land use as well,
Lowry added. She played host to the Flying Cross Farm Horse Trials on
Sept. 22-23. This was a large event that drew in 175 entries, 110 of
which were from out of state.
The equine industry is one of the defining industries in the county
and the state, said Doug Wampler, director of Oldham Ahead. He
believes Oldham County is a significant player on a state
and national level.
Wampler cited the 2002 Census of Agricultural that included an equine
inventory and ranked Oldham County eighth in the state and 217th in
the nation. He believes Oldham County can become a model for other
counties to better define how horses relate to each county.
Many equine operations are dispersed throughout the county, and Lowry
said that residents drive past these invisible businesses every day
without fully recognizing what we have in the county. For
this reason, many such businesses may not be counted in official statistical
The equine industry is not just about big farms or what you see
on the road. It involves a lot of people, said Betsy Lavin. Lavin
and her husband, Doc, own the 700-acre Longfield Farm in Goshen, where
a press conference was held on Dec. 6 to release the survey results.
Many times people say horses are just a hobby, said Wampler.
But thats not so. It takes money to maintain them. The equine
survey results provide Oldham County citizens and officials an appreciation
as to the economic impact of the horse industry and community within
Oldham County is unique in that it has breeding and training centers,
trail riders, pony clubs and quarterhorses. If you go into other
counties, you dont have that mix, said Heppermann.
Boarding and training centers are the most labor-intensive facilities,
said Heppermann. This is a very labor intensive industry.
Most people who work on the farms live in the county, said Lowry.
Wampler sees the countys equine industry as a good reason
to pursue a horse park. He said he hopes to move forward with
horse park plans, since it would be a huge coupe for Kentucky.
With the 2010 World Equestrian Games not far off, a horse park in the
county would provide another place for related events to take place
especially since the Kentucky Horse Park is already booked
Now that the survey is completed, the next step is to work with Planning
and Zoning to map out a visual tool that can be used, said Wampler.
He pointed out that Shelby County has done an excellent job of plotting
its equestrian locations into maps.
The Oldham County Equine Council plans to work closely with equine businesses
and the Oldham County Cooperative Extension Service in this endeavor,
By recognizing the contribution to the county, we can ensure the
industry is preserved and strengthened for the future, said Wampler.
For more information or to view an online
directory, visit: www.oldhamequinecouncil.org.
The Oldham County Equine Council will meet again at 6:30 p.m. on Jan.
16 at the Belknap Community Center, 12414 W. Hwy. 42, Goshen. For
information about the Equine Council, call Mary Lowry at (502) 228-9539.
For information about the upcoming meeting, call Traci Missun at the
Extension Office at (502) 222-9453.
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