2007 press conference announcing the formation of Equine Initiative

A press conference was held Jan. 29, 2007, on UK's Maine Chance Farm to announce a new equine undergraduate program being launched at the university as part of the UK Equine Initiative, now UK Ag Equine Programs. Pictured, then UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Dean Scott Smith addresses more than 150 attendees and media about the new undergraduate major.


The University of Kentucky's Ag Equine Programs was launched in March 2005 and implemented through three distinct phases. It is a renewed, continuing commitment by Kentucky’s land-grant university to its signature agricultural industry. (To learn more about the background, read about the identified need for a front door to equine programs at UK and how the Equine Initiative evolved over three phases: Phase 1Phase 2 and implementation.)

Since the formation of the Equine Initiative in 2005, and renaming to UK Ag Equine Programs in 2012, the equine landscape at the University of Kentucky and within the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has been dramatically altered. UK Ag Equine Programs considerably added to the noteworthy but decentralized equine work being done in the college prior to 2005. The formation of UK Ag Equine Programs allowed the public access to all of UK’s equine programs through one front door and was a commitment by the college to Kentucky’s equine industry to offer the same excellence in horse services as it did in other species and aspects of agriculture. It also provided a collaborative structure that crosses all three land-grant university missions of research, teaching and extension, something that makes the program unique and noteworthy.

UK Ag Equine Programs is an umbrella term encompassing all equine activities within UK’s College of Agriculture Food and Environment and crosses all three missions of a land grant institution. In this way, the original vision of its structure has materialized. It is a multi-disciplinary and cross-department collaboration among equine faculty, staff and students.

Below is a timeline of important milestones achieved by the program in its early years. 

major milestones of the program early on