Campus News

Equine Testing Lab Relocates to UK, Lexington

Lexington, Ky. - (Sept. 17, 2010) - Already the site of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, First Lady Jane Beshear today announced Lexington will be the location of the United States Equestrian Federation’s (USEF) Equine Drug Testing and Research Laboratory.  USEF will relocate the specialized equine drug testing facility from Ithaca, NY later this year, creating a dozen specialized new jobs and a capital investment of nearly $1.5 million to the Commonwealth.

“USEF’s equine drug testing and research lab will be an excellent addition to the Commonwealth, already known as the Horse Capital of the World,” said Mrs. Beshear. “The creation of a dozen, high-paying jobs, dedicated to providing and maintaining a safe and level playing field for equine athletes, will have a positive effect on the Lexington community.”

The University of Kentucky’s Coldstream Research Campus will be home to the new facility, which is expected to occupy a 7,500-square-foot space. In addition to testing more than 15,000 samples each year collected from USEF licensed competitions across the country and samples from the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), the USEF’s lab will be fully capable of serving any additional needs for equestrian sport.

“Our facility is one of the world leaders in cutting-edge drug testing and research,” said John Long, CEO of the USEF. “During the last few years, the size and scope of our program has nearly doubled. Growth of this size presents challenges and we look forward to meeting those challenges by relocating our facility closer to our headquarters, in the heart of Lexington.”

Before making its transition to Lexington, the lab in Ithaca will be responsible for processing the samples collected during the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. The lab is one of only five in the world used by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) to receive samples collected at FEI competitions.

In addition to the relocation of the lab, Mrs. Beshear also announced a partnership between USEF, the U.S. Eventing Association and the University of Kentucky’s College of Engineering that will have a significant impact on safety in the equestrian sport of eventing.  An Olympic sport and part of the World Equestrian Games, eventing includes dressage, cross country and stadium jumping.

The UK research team is working to develop new designs and new materials for cross country jumps that will greatly decrease the chance of severe injuries to the rider and horse.  While these injuries are infrequent, the severity of the injury has led a worldwide effort to reduce their occurrence and improve eventing safety.

“We are very proud to be in partnership with USEF,” said UK President Lee T. Todd Jr. “Having this lab at Coldstream provides great synergy between USEF and our researchers, and will attract even more equine-related businesses to our research campus. Currently, there are seven equine-related companies and the UK College of Agriculture Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (formerly the UK Livestock Disease Diagnostic Lab) at Coldstream.”

Established in 1917, USEF serves as the National Governing Body for Equestrian Sport.  The federation trains, selects and funds the United States Equestrian Team which consistently wins medals at the highest level of international competition, including the Olympic Games. The USEF also licenses 2800 equestrian competitions of all levels across the United States each year in 28 different breeds, national disciplines and international disciplines. 

“We have some of the world’s top equine researchers at the University of Kentucky Gluck Center and the world’s best horses. USEF will be a welcome addition,” said Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry.  “This is another clear example of the capacity of the horse industry and the strength of UK research to attract good jobs to our community.”

“Commerce Lexington is excited that USEF has chosen to relocate its equine testing lab to Lexington,” said Bob Quick, president and CEO of Commerce Lexington Inc.  “Having a world-class lab in Lexington will only strengthen our standing as the Horse Capital of the World.  Congratulations to USEF on their expansion in the Bluegrass.”

USEF was preliminarily approved by the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority for up to $300,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program.  The performance-based incentive can be earned over a 10-year period through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments.  The average annual approved amount to be earned by USEF is $30,000.

A detailed community profile for Lexington (Fayette County) can be viewed at  Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at