LEXINGTON, Ky. (December 21, 2020) – The Kentucky Equine Education Project (KEEP), Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, announced the hire of an equine education coordinator.

Annise Montplaisir will be the first person to hold this position and will be responsible for building awareness of the equine industry and the industry’s educational and employment opportunities. This will be accomplished through creating relationships with 4-H, FFA, and breed youth councils, among other organizations. Additionally, Montplaisir will be responsible for marketing industry programs through social media, special events, and the KEEP Equine Summit Luncheon Series. Montplaisir will also serve as an ambassador of the horse industry across the Commonwealth, creating a framework for other states in the U.S. and developing international relationships.

Montplaisir will work specifically with multiple programs and entities, including:

  • Amplify Horse Racing: a national education and recruitment resource used to leverage current educational and occupational opportunities
  • Equine Apprenticeships: a program aimed at providing “earn and learn” training in horsemanship for individuals interested in working in the horse industry
  • K-12 School Districts: facilitating emerging relationships with schools and districts across Kentucky to implement work-based learning opportunities and participate in community and industry engagement
  • Emerging Populations: working with various entities to engage with, and encourage, industry involvement from various underserved populations

This new position is the result of collaboration among the KEEP Foundation, Fasig-Tipton, Glen Hill Farm, Godolphin, The Jockey Club, and Mt. Brilliant Farm.

Montplaisir grew up near Fargo, North Dakota. She received a Bachelor of Science in management communication and international studies and a minor in Spanish from North Dakota State University. She developed a passion for horse racing and gained experience with the industry through multiple internships. She is a recent graduate of the Godolphin Flying Start program and has worked as the project manager for Together for Racing International, as well as co-hosting a bilingual horse racing show called La Trifecta.

Commenting on the new position, Montplaisir said, “Horses have always been a guiding light through my own educational journey. They’ve inspired me to dream bigger and explore adventures that once would have been unimaginable. I am thrilled to begin my role as the equine education coordinator, and to teach people that educational programs and careers in the equine industry are accessible to anyone. Through this position, I hope to promote existing programs, encourage collaboration between initiatives, and facilitate connections that will help newcomers get involved. Ultimately, I believe that education can positively impact the sustainability of the Thoroughbred industry – and the equine industry as a whole.”

Katie LaMonica, director of charitable initiatives for Godolphin USA, added, “Following a global forum on education hosted by Godolphin in Newmarket last November, a team of invested U.S. industry professionals came together to explore ways to address the current workforce problem the equine business faces. This position is the result of that collaboration and is an exciting opportunity for Kentucky’s signature industry to engage with the youth of the state. For the first time, there will be a dedicated representative marketing the industry to young people and educators across the state, connecting them to the many opportunities our industry offers and streamlining existing equine educational programs in Kentucky. Godolphin is proud to be a partner in this collective effort vested in the future of our industry.”

This hire speaks to KEEP’s investment in education and workforce development that began with the creation of the KEEP Foundation in 2014. The KEEP Foundation is supported by donors and the sale of the KEEP Foundation’s Seattle Slew specialty license plate.

In 2018, KEEP and the KEEP Foundation partnered with the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center to launch the Equine Workforce Initiative. The equine education coordinator is an outgrowth of that program and will work closely with the KEEP Foundation and the Equine Workforce Initiative to help modernize the recruitment, training, and placement of qualified employees into the pipelines of the ever-growing equine industry.

The mission of the KEEP Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), is to support the economic success of Kentucky’s signature industry by ensuring its continued economic viability, making the industry accessible for all who want to participate, introducing more young people to the industry and its opportunities, and educating the people of the Commonwealth about the importance of horses to the state, its economy, its heritage, and its people.

The KEEP Foundation seeks to fulfill this mission through:

  • Generating wider interest from the general public and creating new fans and participants for Kentucky’s horse industry.
  • Raising public awareness on the importance of all horse breeds and disciplines in all 120 counties of the “Horse Capitol of the World” through educational events and community engagement that explores the breadth and depth of Kentucky’s horse industry.
  • Attracting new people and populations to careers in the industry and reducing the barriers of entry to career paths in the industry.

The Kentucky Equine Education Project, Kentucky’s equine economic advocate, is a not-for-profit grassroots organization created in 2004 to preserve, promote and protect Kentucky’s signature multi-breed horse industry. KEEP is committed to ensuring Kentucky remains the horse capital of the world, including educating Kentuckians and elected officials of the importance of the horse industry to the state. KEEP was the driving force in the establishment of the Kentucky Breeders Incentive Fund, which has paid out more than $177 million to Kentucky breeders since its inception in 2006, and pari-mutuel wagering on historical horse racing, which has been responsible for more than $50 million to purses and more than $24 million to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

KEEP works to strengthen the horse economy in Kentucky through our statewide network of citizen advocates. To learn more about how you can become a member or support our work, please visit www.horseswork.com.