Representative Rick Nelson Receives Equine Heritage Award

Lexington, KY, February 3, 2011 - In 2010, the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) introduced a new award which recognizes public officials who make a significant contribution to keeping Kentucky's horse community vibrant and growing.

The first recipient of this award, the KHC Equine Heritage Award, was Representative Rick Nelson whose district includes Harlan and Bell counties.  Representative Nelson was commended for his perseverance in helping Harlan County re-open a historic trail that connects to Cumberland Gap National Park.  The trail, known as the Brush Mountain Trail, had been used for many years as a route for Hensley Settlement pioneers to come down the mountain for supplies, and more recently by local horsemen as a beautiful route to access horse trails in the Cumberland Gap National Park.

"Representative Nelson committed to getting the trail opened, and spent hours in strategy sessions, meetings with state officials and initiated a bill to achieve those goals," commented Ginny Grulke, KHC Executive Director.  "He also provided Kentucky Horse Council representatives with advice on the best way to get results in the legislature, and arranged meetings with the bill's stakeholders to make our goal a reality."

For these efforts, which resulted in a successful Memorandum of Understanding between the Harlan Fiscal Court, the KY Fish and Wildlife Department, the State Nature Preserves, and the Kentucky Division of Water, Representative Nelson was given the inaugural 2010 Equine Heritage Award.

Anna Zinkhon, KHC Board President noted, "The many horse owners of Kentucky need more representatives like Representative Nelson, who go above and beyond the call of duty to their constituents and assist rural communities develop opportunities for Equine Adventure Tourism.  In Harlan County, there are tremendous tourism opportunities for a horseback riding trail connected to a National Park."

The award was announced at both the KHC Annual Conference in Lexington on January 15, 2011 and at the Kentucky Trail Summit at Barren River State Resort Park on January 29, 2011.

About The Kentucky Horse Council

The Kentucky Horse Council is a non-profit organization dedicated, through education and leadership, to the protection and development of the Kentucky equine community. The Kentucky Horse Council provides educational programs and information, scholarships, personal liability insurance, trail riding advocacy, horse show support, and an annual statewide equine industry directory.  The specialty Kentucky Horse Council license plate, feature a foal lying in the grass, provides the primary source of revenue for KHC programs.

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Council visit or call 859-367-0509.