Partnership links students, horse industry

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – A new program is giving students in Fayette County the opportunity to learn about the horse industry and even have a career in it.

And at the same time, it’s helping the horse industry train a new generation of workers to replace ones who are near retirement age.

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Fayette County School District announced Tuesday it is teaming up with the Kentucky thoroughbred industry to offer middle and high school students hands-on training in the  industry. Superintendent Manny Caulk says 22 thoroughbred businesses have pledged $322,000 over the next three years to the first-of-its-kind program.

The goal of the program is to create a school-to-farm employment pipeline.

“Horsemanship is not an easy thing to teach. You can not teach it strictly out of a book. You have to have the hands-on experience. So when you have a facility like this to teach in, you’re going to give these kids a baseline knowledge of horsemanship skills, where then we can bridge the gap to get them to the farms,” said Braxton Lynch, chairman of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association.

The program will be run out of the Locust Trace Agriscience Center equine area on Leestown Road.

The three-year agreement that includes both financial resources and unprecedented access to working farms. This unique effort will provide middle and high school students with real-world experiences in the equine industry that will both support college and career readiness.