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Kentucky youth participate in inaugural Equine Is For All

Kentucky youth participate in inaugural Equine Is For All

Kentucky youth participate in inaugural Equine Is For All

The event provided young Kentucky students, from all backgrounds, an opportunity to learn about equine and demonstrate the basics of leading, moving and caring for horses. 


The first Equine Is For All event invited Kentucky middle and high school students to learn about the equine industry and educational programs, along with grooming and basic horse handling, maneuvers and commands at the Spy Coast Farm Equine Education Center.

Organized by the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Office of Diversity, UK Ag Equine Programs, UK Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) and Frankie's Corner Little Thoroughbred Crusade (FCLTC), students experienced in real-time how to work with horses through several workshops and trainings — supervised by current UK MANRRS students in the equine science and management and animal and food sciences programs, and professional experts.

Jermo Reese, founder and clinician of Frankie's Corner Little Thoroughbred Crusade, instructing the students.
Jermo Reese, founder and clinician of Frankie's Corner Little Thoroughbred Crusade, providing instruction to the students. Photo by Matt Barton

One of those professional experts was Jermo Reese, founder and clinician of FCLTC, who teaches equine to youth using an education-based curriculum and basic horsemanship. Reese also first imagined Equine Is For All.
Over half of the students in attendance were novices regarding their knowledge or personal interactions with equine. For Reese, this was a big opportunity to introduce many students to the industry and horses. 
“We’re giving students across Kentucky an opportunity to learn hands-on skills,” Reese said. “Equine is one of the largest sectors in Kentucky. Occupations such as law, any type of business or any type of medicine, can apply to the equine world as well.”

During the showmanship clinic, students observed Reese and the trained UK MANRRS group safely leading their horses, walking and trotting, communicating basic commands forelimbs and hindlegs, as well as simple steps to begin developing trust and bonding with the horse. 

Students also learned about other facets of equine, including the equine science and management program and a showcase from UK Polo and UK Equestrian, part of the UK Ag Equine’s clubs and teams

Youth grooming a horse at Equine Is For All event.
Youth grooming a horse at Equine Is For All event. Photo by Matt Barton

Additionally, members of the City of Lexington’s police department, representing the Mounted Unit, talked about the value of horses in keeping the city safe. A professional animal communicator also discussed the importance of listening, setting boundaries, and having empathy to establish a better relationship with horses.  

Tyler Crutcher, a student at Leestown Middle School, shares why he’s attending Equine Is For All.  

“I didn’t really know much about horses, so I thought it'd be good to explore and dive into new things,” Crutcher said. “I appreciate everyone using their time to teach me and everybody else about horses. Being here is opening my eyes to new things.” 

Mia Farrell, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, and her team, partnered with Reese to bring Equine Is For All to fruition.

 “We wanted to ensure that all students knew what opportunities were available in the equine sector,” Farrell said. “Sometimes you don't know what you can be if you don't see it. Many of these students have never seen, heard or touched a horse. This event is bridging the gap. It’s truly exposing our young people to the equine sector and giving them confidence about careers in this industry. This is the first step to show them that yes, you do belong!”

At the event conclusion, students demonstrated what they learned, including proper grooming, leading, turning, setting up, and moving their horse in a fun competition before judges. 

Reese is optimistic about how the kids will use this experience to elevate their leadership and launch their possibilities in the equine world.  

“The horse looks to you to be the leader,” Reese reinforces. “My hope is that this opportunity will keep our kids’ light sparked and expose them to these beautiful, amazing animals that we work with every day.” 

Event sponsors included: Aleseria Farm, The Cornett Family, Ed Brown Society, Fayette County Urban Government, Frankie's Corner Little Thoroughbred Crusade, Horse Kicks, Keeneland, Lion’s International, One Lexington, Spy Coast Farm and Visit Lex.  

For more information about future Equine Is For All programming, visit    

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The Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment is an Equal Opportunity Organization with respect to education and employment and authorization to provide research, education information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, physical or mental disability or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

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Scovell Hall Lexington, KY 40546-0064