Newswise — An oral history collection on the horse industry in Kentucky hopes to showcase the bond forged between the horse and the Commonwealth. For the past two years University of Kentucky Libraries’ Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History has been recording the stories of Kentuckians who work with horses. The resulting 110 hours of interviews with 37 individuals represents both racing and non-racing breeds.

Doug Boyd, director of the Nunn Center, says the project intends to collect at least 150 individual interviews during its first phase. “We want to build a collection that represents all aspects of the horse industry and fosters a greater understanding of the importance of the horse to Kentucky.”

With more than 7,000 interviews representing 100 different projects, the Nunn Center’s Oral History Collection is one of the nation’s largest. But until recently, very few interviews have been directly associated with Kentucky’s signature industry. Boyd notes that UK initiated the project “to fill that void in Kentucky’s historical record.”

The Horse Industry in Kentucky Oral History Project is guided by an advisory committee comprised of industry representatives. Bloodstock agent Dan Kenny serves as chair of the committee and First Lady Jane Beshear serves as the honorary chair. “Kentucky’s equine history is rich in generations of individuals who have provided the sport with leadership and talent,” says Kenny. “While so many of the stories are lost to us, we have the opportunity to collect interviews today that will inform and educate generations to come.”

Among the 37 individuals whose stories have been recorded are Alice Headley Chandler, William McGee, Mackenzie Miller, Ted Bassett, Henry White, Ted Bates, Harry Scott Jr., Tom Embry, Edward Teater, Redd Crabtree, Joan Hamilton, H.T. Derickson and Bennie Sargent. Transcripts of interviews will be available to the public later this year.

“Our goal is to have most of the interviews accessible online by the summer of 2010,” says Boyd. “We want the thousands of visitors attending the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games to have easy access to the stories that will introduce them to the diversity of Kentucky’s equine community.”

The Horse Industry in Kentucky Oral History Project received initial funding from the Kentucky Equine Education Project. Additional funding has been provided by the Keeneland Association, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, Kentucky Downs, Kentucky Oral History Commission and individual contributors.