Kentucky Horse Council

Story and Photo by Jen Roytz


Serving Kentucky’s Horses and Those Who Love Them

Have you ever seen those cute license plates featuring a foal basking in the Kentucky bluegrass? Sporting the foal plate on your vehicle not only lets you show your pride for our state’s equine heritage, but funds raised from those adorable plates goes toward supporting the Kentucky Horse Council, the nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection, welfare and development of Kentucky’s equine community. 

Each year the Kentucky Horse Council advocates on behalf of the horse industry at the state and national levels; they also put on educational programming and offer training for horse owners and first responders.

“We all see the cute foal license plates all over Kentucky, but most people probably don’t know all they represent.”

Their Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training teaches police officers, firefighters, animal control offers and others how to safely and effectively manage emergencies involving animals, such as barn and wildlife fires, motor vehicle accidents involving trailers and horses in water, mud, ice rescues and more.

“This is an important program, as witnessed in 2018 when a Lexington Police horse fell and got his leg trapped in a manhole during the annual holiday parade,” said Ryan Watson, president of the Kentucky Horse Council board of directors. “A number of emergency responders had recently completed our Large Animal Emergency Rescue Training and were able to free the horse without serious injury.”

Their Livestock Investigation Training educate law enforcement and animal control officers about how to identify and manage abuse and neglect situations involving large animals, as well as how to handle horses, cattle and other livestock safely.

As we have learned all too well in this unprecedented year, good people can fall on hard times. For horse owners unable to afford necessities such as adequate food, shelter or veterinary care for their equine, the Kentucky Horse Council’s Save Our Horses (SOHO) Fund was established to help them provide for their horses during times of financial hardship.

“The Kentucky Horse Council is a statewide all-breed, all-discipline organization dedicated to helping the horses and horse people of the Commonwealth,” said Katy Ross, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Council. “We focus on issues that impact the entire industry and try to fill the gaps not met by more targeted organizations.”

The Kentucky Horse Council is also a premier resource for information on topics affecting Kentucky’s horse industry, including disease outbreaks, job postings, equine-related events and legislative issues.  

In a non-pandemic year, the group also hosts quarterly gatherings of the Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA). This dinner series is open to horsemen and women of any background. It includes a networking cocktail hour followed by a featured speaker or panel to discuss topics pertinent to horse owners, such as pasture and farm management, equine health and nutrition, injury care and prevention and more.

“We all see the cute foal license plates all over Kentucky, but most people probably don’t know all they represent,” said Watson. “The work our organization does is directly funded by the sales of these license plates and donations and sponsorships for our events. By purchasing the Kentucky Horse Council’s foal license plate, you directly and positively impact the horses in our state.”

To learn more about the Kentucky Horse Council’s initiatives and how you can offer support, go to