WILMORE, Ky. (LEX 18) — On more than 300 acres outside Wilmore is Asbury University's Equine Program. The program broke ground on a new 29,000-square-foot facility that will include 26 stalls and a Western Riding arena on Asbury's equine property.
"I am sitting pretty close to heaven," said founder and equine director Harold Rainwater. "I founded the program 25 years ago and I've worked at Asbury for 50 years. So this is full circle. And I'm still hanging on, as long as they'll let me."
The new facility means Asbury can expand programs, including western riding and training horses for police work. With the extra space, they can add another discipline involving horses and therapy called Equine Assisted Services.
"We know we have an incredibly unique program here. We are hoping we can invite many many new students into this program, but that means we also need more space for those students," said Cathrin Wilbanks, assistant professor of Psychology and Equine Studies.
"The arena is going to be way bigger than the one we have right now, like reining, barrel racing, all the things we can't do in that arena," said Emma Whitis.
Whitis is a recent graduate and says she's excited to see how future students benefit from her alma mater's new addition.
"With this new barn, it's going to be dedicated to our quarter horses, and our western horses, and that way we can have a space all to ourselves," said Whitis.
It's a space Rainwater has also dreamed of for decades.