Our History

A Kentucky coalition representing tourism, the coal industry, the horse industry, the humane industry and the Eastern Kentucky region came together in 2013 to begin to craft solutions to the concerns regarding free-roaming horses. (Read more about these concerns on the Perspectives page).

The solutions were multi-faceted. First, the coalition lobbied Kentucky legislators to reduce the amount of time that a stray horse must be held before finding it a new home. The hold time had been 90 days, one of the longest in the country. It was successfully reduced to 15 days.

The next step, led by the Kentucky’s horse rescue organizations and funded by ASPCA and the Kentucky Horse Council, was to hold free gelding and wellness clinics for horse owners. Seventy-five horses were serviced the first year (2015).

Finally in early 2015, the coalition started envisioning a center where horses from the mountains could be held for the required 15 days and, if not claimed, would become part of an innovative initiative to create a positive economic impact in the region.

From the simple idea of building a “holding Center” evolved a more versatile Center, where some of these unclaimed horses would be used to provide Equine Therapy, Job Training in the Equine Industry, and Tourism to those who want to see Free-Roaming horses.

Thus the Appalachian Horse Center concept was born.