On September 9th, twenty people from around the Commonwealth converged on HIndman, KY in Knott County to discuss and plan how to increase the economic impact of the horse industry in the region.
Kentucky is known as “Horse Capital of the World”, yet many of the economic benefits of that reputation have not been fully realized in Eastern Kentucky. This group of individuals set out to identify how to increase job and business opportunities by growing and increasing the activities based on horses.
What rose to the top of all the ideas were TRAILS. Because Appalachian Kentucky is already blessed with such scenic natural resources – mountains, creeks and rivers, wooded hollows – attracting visitors to come ride, and to RETURN, has the most opportunity for success.
The economic impact of trail riding visitors extends into numerous “side industries”, such as horse camps, cabins and lodges, cafes, restaurants and food options on the trail (chuck wagons), and full packaged trips that include not just riding but additional activities and tours to show visitors the rest of the region and culture.
There are two key steps to get this process started:
- Make the public aware of the existig economic impact of horses in the area by identifying horse businesses and telling the story of all the purchases and income that the businesses create.
- Inventory what currently exists in the region: Number and types of horses, horse activities (Trail rides, shows, etc.), facilities such as show rings, boarding or breeding barns, etc., and the free-roaming horse population.
To see a full listing of all of the recommendations and actions from the planning session, CLICK HERE.
We will post here as progress moves forward in this effort to expand the equine industry in Southeast Kentucky.