April 21, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald
LEXINGTON, KY.

The popularity of the horse industry has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. With all the interest and specialization out there, horse enthusiasts need a clearinghouse of reliable information.

Cooperative Extension professionals from 13 land grant institutions in the southern United States have combined their equine knowledge and launched a comprehensive Web site of peer-reviewed horse information. The group put www.Horsequest.infoonline in early April. 

“Equine Extension specialists in the Southern Region expressed their need for a more efficient system to address client needs and requests as a result of a high volume of phone and e-mail questions,” said Ashley Griffin, UK Extension communications specialist. “They also wanted to embark on more collaborative programming and this was just the way to do that.”

Griffin said the Web site’s purpose is to provide nonbiased, research-based information about horses that will answer common horse-related questions.

“We want Horsequest.info to be a place people can come to get answers to questions about feeding, breeding, riding, management, shelter and many other equine topics,” said Craig Wood, associate director of agricultural communications and information technology at UK and part of the HorseQuest slate of specialists. “Our goal is to always have the most up-to-date information available and to link clients directly with equine experts via the Web.”

Funding for Horsequest.info, which is powered by RightNow Technologies Revelation knowledge engine, was provided through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Agriculture and Telecommunications grant/American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC).

Although all information is available free of charge, users are required to log in when they first visit the site. Griffin said the information is confidential and only used for statistical purposes.

“Accounts help identify where the client is from, allowing us to customize the Web site to identify that person’s respective land grant university,” she said. “Knowing where clients are from helps the experts better answer questions and helps account for geographical differences.”

For a more in-depth look at the information available, visit www.horsequest.info 

Contact: 

Craig Wood  859-257-4736, ext. 254