LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 16, 2006) - Kentucky and horses are quite often synonymous. To help build on this powerful association and promote the partnerships that exist between the Commonwealth's equine industry and the University of Kentucky, the UK College of Agriculture has hired Holly Wiemers as communications director for the UK Equine Initiative.


The Equine Initiative was announced by UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. in May 2005 and represents a partnership between the UK College of Agriculture and the horse industry. It was established through efforts of College of Agriculture faculty and administrators, the Gluck Equine Research Foundation, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders and many other important industry partners.


Already well underway, the Initiative will design ways to work more closely with Kentucky's multi-breed horse industry and focus on ensuring that ongoing UK programs are more responsive to the daily needs of the equine industry.


"The Equine Initiative was established by Dean Scott Smith in March 2005 and represents a challenge to the College of Agriculture faculty to provide integrated programs for all phases of the equine industry," said Nancy Cox, UK College of Agriculture Associate Dean for Research. "The position of communications director is key to establishing communication within the university during the planning and establishment of these programs."


Wiemers joins UK with more than eight years of public relations, marketing communications and editorial experience. Prior to joining UK, Wiemers worked as public relations and communications manager for the central information technology provider at the University of Colorado at Boulder; as communications and editorial assistant for the International Arabian Horse Association (now Arabian Horse Association); and as an account representative at a web-based marketing start-up company. She also held positions with a daily newspaper in New Mexico, on a city public relations team and with New MexicoStateUniversity's Agricultural Communications Department.


Wiemers received bachelor's degrees in communication studies and biology from NMSU and a master's degree in integrated marketing communications from CU-Boulder's School of Journalism. She is a member of Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators.


Wiemers grew up riding and showing Paint horses and competing in 4-H equine programs in New Mexico. She was one of the founding members of NMSU's equestrian team, which went on to win a national championship during her tenure there. She also competed on collegiate and 4-H horse judging teams.


"The success of the initiative will depend on communication to the College's stakeholders about the diverse programs UK will build and expand upon to serve the equine industry," said UK College of Agriculture Dean Scott Smith. "We are fortunate to have someone with both excellent communications skills and a background within the industry."


"I feel very honored to be able to combine my professional experience with my love for horses and am excited by the potential the Equine Initiative offers the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the equine industry,"

Wiemers said. "There are some really remarkable things underway."


Wiemers will be responsible for communicating with and gathering information from various equine stakeholder groups around Kentucky and helping to promote future equine activities within the College of Agriculture.


Wiemers can be contacted at holly.wiemers@uky.edu. For more about the UK Equine Initiative, please visit www.ca.uky.edu/equine

Contact: Nancy Cox, 859-257-3333