LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — The equine industry is a huge driving force in Kentucky. A group of passionate students are working to make sure that’s always the case.
October 8–14 marks the University of Kentucky Agriculture Equine Programs UK Equine Week of Service 2023. It’s headed by a group of student ambassadors known as the Wildcat Wranglers. The goal of the week is to serve at different locations, including the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Braden Heath and Loralye Page are both wildcat wranglers, and they both agree it’s a blessing to be able to be a part of this week.
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“It’s really cool for me because I work with thoroughbreds, so it’s cool to see like where the thoroughbreds come off the track and they get to find a new home and find a new job and have like another chance at life,” Heath said.
“It’s just so great to be able to come out and serve the industry and get to meet people. You don’t realize how open and willing people are to teach you until you go out and meet them,” Page added.
This week showcases the growing interest in the equine industry. Dot Morgan is the executive director at New Vocations, and she’s a 1971 graduate of the UK College of Agriculture. Morgan witnessed the interest in the program firsthand at a recent job fair for the equine and distillery divisions.
“I was practically in tears. They were just so eager and fresh and wanting to work in the equine industry, and they held so much promise, and then a week later or two, they’re out here volunteering, blue shirts in the flower beds and blue shirts in the gift shop, and just doing all kinds of work, clean up, and organization. It just thrilled me,” Morgan said.
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This is an industry that makes use of multiple skill sets, which is good news for those who want to combine design and horses into one career. Delaney Foster designed the shirts for 2023.
“Those are my two passions. I was so excited that I was going to volunteer anyway, but knowing that I had an opportunity to design something and really use my art to also make an impact on the industry was exciting. I’m very happy to be here,” Foster said.