There are friends, and then there are longtime friends—the kind who were friends well before a program ever existed. Bennie and Cheryllee Sargent, who were collectively recognized as the 2015 Friend of the University of Kentucky’s (UK) Ag Equine Programs during its Equine Science and Management program reception Sept. 8 at Spindletop Hall, in Lexington, can be counted as those longtime kind of friends.

Based out of Paris, Kentucky, the Sargents of Sargent Quarter Horses, have been supporters of UK’s equine programming efforts for nearly 20 years, from Bennie Sargent serving as coach of the UK Equestrian Team, western division, to the couple hosting and helping with numerous 4-H activities and extension programs.

“UK’s equine program is unique across the country because of where we are located and the great support we receive from industry professionals like Bennie and Cheryllee Sargent,” said Bob Coleman, PhD, director of undergraduate studies in equine science and management and equine extension professor. “They are truly our friends, and it is great to have them recognized for all they do.”

Coleman, who also serves as UK Equestrian Team faculty adviser, nominated the couple for the honor.

The Sargents have helped raise Kentucky’s profile in the world of American Quarter Horses through their years of service to the Kentucky Quarter Horse Association. Bennie has been a successful trainer for more than 35 years and was named the 2006 American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Horseman of the Year. He has trained and shown horses to multiple versatility championships, AQHA championships, an