HorseQuest Web site wins national award

The HorseQuest Community of Practice eXtension Web site was named the winner of the 2008 National Association of County Agricultural Agents Communications Award, an award recognizing excellence in the use of communications media.

The University of Kentucky has an active role in the management and expertise of the HorseQuest Web site. The site bested 30 others submitted nationwide for the top honor.

"The award is significant because it is recognition from a community's peers, as well as people who use the information, that the content is high quality, engaging, and useful for a broad audience and clientele group," said Craig Wood, associate director, eXtension Initiative.

According to Wood, who has been involved with eXtension from its inception, the HorseQuest was a prototype and pioneer Community of Practice, a central place for experts in their field of research to gather and share information with a public source.

The national equine resource team known as HorseQuest now consists of more than 50 equine experts. These experts are extension horse specialists from around the country, including teaching and research faculty, veterinarians and professional extension staff from leading universities. They began collaborative work to provide Internet visitors a source of reliable and up-to-date horse information through a knowledge base of commonly asked questions that have science-based, peer-reviewed answers. According to the Web analytics tracked for eXtension, the horse content created by the HorseQuest community is the most commonly viewed on eXtension.

     The eXtension Web site provides access to a variety of topics concerning the horse industry. Internet users can search frequently asked questions to find simple, clear answers from experts on topics such as nutrition, reproduction, health care, management, training and behavior, selection and many more. Other sections include news and upcoming events about the horse industry, instructional videos on topics such as safe handling, basic training and horse

showing and learning modules that feature a self-paced lesson addressing the needs of adult leaders for youth horse clubs. Users can request information from an equine expert by submitting specific questions online and can join an online chat or webcast to personalize management techniques. A self-paced equine certificate course is also taught by the experts and offered through the My Horse University partnership available through the Web site.

"HorseQuest is the prototype for maximizing the value of the collective land grant expertise for horses," said Jimmy Henning, UK College of Agriculture associate dean for extension. "It is a great testimony to the insight and creativity of the HorseQuest team that many of the features they pioneered are now standard parts of the eXtension system."

If you are interested in finding out more information about HorseQuest or eXtension, visit http://www.eXtension.org. If you would like more information on how to be a part of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents or would like more information about the 2008 award winners, visit http://www.nacaa.com.

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