By Holly Wiemers
When Kentucky’s horses need her, Sarah Coleman is there. From helping with recovery efforts following a destructive tornado in Western Kentucky, to organizing the delivery of vital supplies after historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky less than a year later, she is often on the front lines helping horses in need. Whether it’s a vaccination and gelding clinic, first responder training for large animal rescue efforts or hay assistance to horse owners, Coleman is one of Kentucky’s go-to people for equine wellbeing.
In recognition of her tireless work, Coleman was recently named 2022 Friend of the University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs. She is the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and developing the Kentucky equine community, and a long-time advocate and partner on many UK initiatives.
“Sarah has been a great friend and collaborator with UK Ag Equine Programs, but in all fairness, she is a tireless and fully engaged advocate for all horses and everyone who cares about them,” said James MacLeod, UK Ag Equine Programs director and faculty member at the UK Gluck Equine Research Center.
Coleman said she is thankful to those within UK Ag Equine Programs who have assisted the KHC during the state’s recent natural disasters.
“The kindness and support the college has shown the KHC as we have sought to help horse owners in counties affected by floods and tornadoes is truly invaluable,” Coleman said. “From helping locate extension agents for real-time needs to hauling hay and administering vaccines, to simply being a sounding board for ideas on how best to protect the horses in the commonwealth, there is no greater advocate for the horses and the equine industry in Kentucky than UK.”
Coleman was co-nominated for the award by Bob Coleman (no relation), extension horse specialist and faculty member in Animal and Food Sciences, and Nancy Cox, UK Vice President for Land-grant Engagement and College of Agriculture, Food and Environment dean.
Her nomination letter lauded her support of the 2022 Kentucky Equine Survey and her willingness to serve as a public face for the collaborative project while also doing legwork to garner funding and industry support. The letter also included information about her impact on longstanding issues in the equine industry.
Eastern Kentucky has dealt with free-roaming horses for many years. It is a challenging issue with many moving parts. Coleman’s nominators said that she has worked to understand the issue and find reasonable solutions by developing strong relationships with the people from the area and being a great listener and willing partner.
The nomination also highlighted her hands-on efforts in disaster recovery, from organizing supplies to loading trucks and trailers and hauling supplies to those in need.
Nominators pointed out that as executive director of the Kentucky Horse Council, Sarah worked hard to make sure the horse industry is at the table when issues related to agriculture are discussed. The letter noted that she represents the industry well and includes all horse owners in her efforts.
An avid equestrian, Coleman grew up in northeastern Ohio and graduated from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. She moved to Kentucky in 2004 to work with multiple equine- and agriculture-related publications. She shifted to equine-oriented roles at Lexington Catholic High School and Georgetown College before transitioning to the community and public relations director for New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. In that role, Coleman oversaw the construction of New Vocations at Mereworth Farm and established the New Vocations All-Thoroughbred Charity Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park, among other endeavors. She has been in her role with the Kentucky Horse Council since 2020.
Coleman also serves on multiple equine boards and committees, including secretary and treasurer of the Kentucky Hunter Jumper Association, a member of the UK’s Saddle Up Safely program and a member of the Kentucky Horse Breeders Incentive Fund Non-Race Committee.
She continues to work as a freelance writer for several publications including Hobby Farms, Midwest Harness Report, Horse Illustrated, Equestrian, Kentucky Equestrian Directory, Business Lexington and Young Rider and serves as a contributor to the Paulick Report.
The Friend of UK Ag Equine Programs was created in 2005 to recognize people who have provided advocacy, funding or other extraordinary support or a college or university employee who has generated an exceptional relationship with stakeholders that manifested into a new program, new advocacy success or new resources.
Past Friends of UK Ag Equine Programs include Fred Sarver, of Cornerside Farm; Tom Riddle, a Lexington-based veterinarian; Matt Koch, of Shawhan Place Farm; Bennie and Cheryllee Sargent, of Sargent Quarter Horses; Stuart Brown, a Lexington-based veterinarian; Norm Luba, executive director of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council; Dan Rosenberg, of Rosenberg Thoroughbred Consulting; Northern Kentucky county extension agent trio Don Sorrell of Campbell County, Dan Allen of Kenton County and Jerry Brown of Boone County; and David Switzer, former executive director of Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Owners and Breeders Association.
For more information about UK’s Ag Equine Programs, visit http://www.ca.uky.edu/equine.
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Photo available on request
In recognition of her tireless work, Sarah Coleman was recently named 2022 Friend of the University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs. Photo provided by Sarah Coleman.
Writer: Holly Wiemers, email@example.com
UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.