What is the Kentucky Equine Council?

The Kentucky Equine Health and Welfare Council is hereby established and shall be attached to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture for administrative purposes only.

The council shall:(a) Assist, advise, and consult with the commission created by KRS 257.192 on equine health and welfare issues; (b) Act to maintain the health, welfare, and safety of equines in the Commonwealth; and (c) Carry out the duties assigned to the council in KRS 257.474.

Recommended minimum standard of care for Equine


Horses must have access to their fill of clean water; preferably the water source would be a continuous free choice supply. The average horse, under resting conditions, will consume a minimum of 3-12 gallons of water per day3. Under heavy workloads, or when experiencing high heat and humidity, horses may consume double to triple this amount4. Mares who are gestating or lactating may consume 30%-70% more water than usual1. Water must be clean, free of feces and other contaminants3. Water containers should be cleaned regularly and free of any hazard.


Horses must be fed a diet which adequately maintains a healthy weight/body condition of greater than 3 on the Henneke scale1,3. Geriatric or horses suffering longstanding illness may occasionally have less than the ideal body condition score1. Horses generally consume a minimum of 1 to 1.5% of their body weight in forage (either grass or hay) per day for maintenance1. Maintenance requirements are those which a horse needs to maintain current weight/body status. Equine nutritional needs increase due to several factors including growth, gestation, lactation, and performance of work3. Horses with increased nutritional needs may require supplements to their diets such as concentrates high in energy, beet pulp, and fat or oils. Horses who require more than 5 pounds of grain per day should have the amount given over multiple feedings1.


Space should afford protection from the elements and allow room for horses to maneuver without fighting.5,1 To protect horses from inclement weather, shelter may be natural terrain that includes trees and land barriers or constructed. -Stalls, in which horses are housed for more than 4 hours, should be large enough to allow horses to turn around completely, lie down comfortably and stand completely erect. They should have adequate ventilation and drainage and be kept clean of excess waste1. Horses that are tethered require additional supervision to prevent injury. -Pastures should be free of hazards such as sharp objects, holes, and farm equipment. Adequate space should be provided for exercise. Fences should be inspected regularly and should adequately contain horses to prevent escape, particularly onto roadways. Fencing needs vary according to disposition, number of horses, and size of pasture.


Horses who exhibit signs of pain, suffering, injury or illness shall receive appropriate care within an appropriate time period1. Horses should be observed for wellbeing at least once every 24 hours. Preventative health care should be performed regularly. Hooves should be maintained in functional condition. Prescription and extra-label medications must only be obtained and administered with the advice and involvement of a licensed veterinarian in the context of a valid Veterinary-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR). When medication is indicated, label instructions for route of administration, dosage, storage and withdrawal times must be followed. All practices and procedures pertaining to the health/medical treatment of livestock must be done humanely.


Euthanasia may be the only option for horses that have become severely injured, ill, or are suffering with little or no likelihood of recovery. To eliminate suffering, horses in this situation should be humanely euthanized. Kentucky's Law, KRS 258.095(12) defines euthanasia and requires that humane death occurs using a method specified as acceptable in the American Veterinary Medical Association's Guidelines on Euthanasia (formerly AVMA Panel on Euthanasia). A licensed veterinarian, law enforcement officer, or approved animal control or humane society personnel can provide assistance in identifying an acceptable method of euthanasia for the current situation and environment.



KRS257.472 Duties, members, meetings

KRS257.474 Duties and functions of council

KRS257.476 Equine health and welfare fund

Certified Rescue/Retirment Facilitiles

Kentucky Equine Humane Center 9/30/2014
Second Stride Inc 2/1/2014
Our Mims Retirement Haven 8/29/2014
New Vocations KY @ West Wind 8/29/2014
Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirment 3/5/2015

Facility Certfication Checklist/Application

Council's Annual Reports to Governor

2011    2012    2013    2014    2015  2016