New Partnership Between Schools, Kentucky Thoroughbred Businesses Seeks To Mold Future Industry Leaders

Middle and high school students in Central Kentucky will soon have more opportunities than ever to become a part of the state’s Thoroughbred industry. A three-year partnership announced Tuesday between Fayette County Public Schools and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders will send $322,000 from 22 area farms and equine businesses to develop a more robust equine studies program at the county’s schools.

The core of the new program will be three years of courses (in the classroom and hands-on) in addition to an internship or apprenticeship a student could complete at one of the area’s Thoroughbred farms. The program will offer older students the ability to customize their studies to focus on equine business, horsemanship/training, or horticulture through the lens of a horse farm. It will also include club activities to attract younger students to horses before they are old enough to have classes available to them. Those activities will coincide with existing chapters of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and the National Society for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANNRS).

The school system’s Locust Trace AgriScience Center already offered some equine studies for the high school students from six area schools, in addition to other agricultural, environmental science, and food science courses. Now, those opportunities will be expanded. Thanks to the industry grant, the Fayette County Public Schools will go from one full-time teacher covering equine studies to two, as well as funding for middle and elementary school outreach programs, transportation, and additional operational resources. School officials project a total enrollment of 2,480 into the new equine programs across all grade levels, with 160 to 175 new students attending new equine classes at Locust Trace.

High schoolers will have the opportunity to take dual credit or dual enrollment courses via Bluegrass Community and Technical College, which also offers equine studies programs through the North American Racing Academy.

“Once you get inside the door of the horse industry it’s really eye-opening how many avenues there are, but most of them fall back onto those basic horsemanship skills,” said Braxton Lynch, chair of the KTA/KTOB. “I think just that first step of exposure will open up so many doors for them, and really it’s up to them where they want to go.”

School officials anticipate the educational programs at Locust Trace could eventually expand to include adult education in the evenings for those who want to build skills to work in the horse industry.

As diversity has become a recent focus in the equestrian and racing industries, Fayette County Public Schools superintendent Manny Caulk said he is working with the Legacy Equine Academy and others to ensure students of all backgrounds recognize that these programs are available to them.

“As our national grapples with the issues of racial and social justice, our moral imperative as a district is to provide access and opportunities for students who otherwise wouldn’t have those advantages,” said Caulk. “People of all races have a rich history in the Thoroughbred industry and we want this generation of students to not only see themselves in that history but also to take ownership for writing their own future. That story will be continued as they find themselves and find their life’s passion in the equine industry.”

For the industry stakeholders in the project, the investment in the school programs is something of a long-term investment. All involved are hopeful students will complete the program with basic horsemanship skills they can apply to a job in any portion of the business from a breeding farm to a training barn to a bloodstock agency.

“Locust Trace has been here quite a while; our industry has been here for two centuries,” said Chauncey Morris, executive director of the KTA/KTOB. “It’s really incumbent on us to maximize how it’s going to provide services not only to our industry but to the community as a whole. We look at this very much as a down payment on the community. We know that the instructors and additional operational funds that are being added to this, it’s going to take those three years to really see how that’s going to mesh in our industry, but we’re looking forward to that.”

The post New Partnership Between Schools, Kentucky Thoroughbred Businesses Seeks To Mold Future Industry Leaders appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.