Dear Fellow Equine Enthusiasts,

As chief executive officer of the United States Equestrian Federation and as chairman of the World Games 2010 Foundation, I know well the importance of the horse to the identity of Kentucky and support the Saddle Up Safely initiative sponsored by the University of Kentucky's medical arm, UK HealthCare, and the UK College of Agriculture.

A main part of the Federation's mission statement is to protect and support the welfare of the horse. This can be accomplished in part by teaching proper riding practices, wearing protective equipment, knowing your horse and its unique behavior, and learning the rules for safe riding.

In addition, after holding a Safety Summit last year, USEF teamed up with faculty and students of the UK Engineering Department to develop safer jumps, both for rider and horse. We are proud of our efforts but feel that more can be done to spread the word about safe riding practices.

As a horse owner and rider, I know well the feeling of being seated atop one of these tremendous animals and how easy it can be in the next minute to be unseated. My hope is that through the efforts of the Saddle Up Safely program and the University of Kentucky, all Kentucky riding enthusiasts can enjoy a safer and more rewarding experience on horseback.

Best regards,

John Long