Representatives of five programs at Eastern Kentucky University are joining together to track free-roaming horses in the rural southeastern part of the state by flying over Breathitt County early Friday.
The flyover allowed animal studies major Katelyn Wagner to perform an aerial inventory of the horses. Previous ground studies showed between 200 and 400 horses freely roaming the 492 square miles of Breathitt County.
EKU Sociology Professor Stephanie McSpirit said the abandonment of horses is a consequence of mine site reclamation without a longer term management plan. The herd is unique in that many in the rural Kentucky county see it as a potential asset, rather than a nuisance. There are plans for a horse viewing center. McSpirit said the video from the hour and a half flight will be reviewed over the weekend to try to determine a horse count.