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Shawhan Place's Koch Named Farm Manager of the Year

Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club honors the second-generation horseman.

Matt Koch

Matt Koch

Fasig-Tipton Photos

Matt Koch of Shawhan Place has been named the 2022 Ted Bates Farm Manager of the Year by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club. Koch is a second-generation hardboot following in the footsteps of his father, Gus Koch, who was awarded the Farm Manager of the Year title in 2004.

They join B.G. Hughes and Scooter Hughes as the only father/son recipients of this annual prestigious award, bestowed upon a farm manager who has demonstrated quality and success in their management role; service to the community; involvement in the KTFMC; and industry leadership and dedication.

Koch is a graduate of both the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Kentucky Horseshoeing School. He paid his way through college shoeing horses. After college Koch joined the United States Marine Corps where he served his country in Afghanistan and Kosovo, rising to the rank of Captain. Upon discharge from the Marines in 2004, he established a Thoroughbred operation at his parents' Mt. Carmel Farm, while continuing to work full time as a farrier. In 2006, neighbor Teddy Kuster, KTFMC FMOY 1986, proposed a partnership and the duo formed Shawhan Place. 

"I am thrilled to hear Matthew has won this prestigious award," said Teddy Kuster, co-owner of Shawhan Place. "The club has meant a lot to Matt's entire family and all of us at Shawhan Place. Matt is a wonderful individual who wears many hats. He's a farm manager working in the trenches and has given back to his community by serving on several boards. He serves as State Representative for 72nd District (Bourbon, Nicholas, and Fleming County) and was instrumental in passing HHR for the industry. He and I started Shawhan Place in 2006 with six mares and he has grown it into a successful business that has raised many graded stakes winners including G1 winners Hilda's Passion and Mucho Gusto. The farm now breeds around 100 mares each year. Even more important than raising horses, Matthew raises the next generation of young horsemen and women. He is a mentor to many and regularly hosts interns from both KEMI and the University of Kentucky."

Longtime client Marette Farrell added, "We are so lucky in this horse business to have access to a man with the credentials of Matt Koch. Firstly, a Marine, now a successful businessman, he is a wonderful father and family man. He will go to the mat to uphold the principles he was raised on, in the mold of his father Gus Koch. But, most significantly, in light of the many recent and future changes in the horse business, he has selflessly stepped into the political arena to represent his constituents and our fragile horse world with integrity and foresight. Without him the HHR would not have passed. I am proud to call him a friend and tell him we are indebted to him for his leadership and boots on the ground approach, which is so needed at this time. The committee chose a very deserving recipient for this year's FMOY award."

While Koch has been involved in many leadership positions and served on many boards, industry insiders are most familiar with his roles on the KEMI board, CBA, KTA, and of course, the KTFMC where he served as Director, Treasurer, VP, and President in 2009. Koch currently resides in Bourbon County with his wife, Kristen, and their three children, Taylor, Jack, and Nate. The kids are carrying on the family tradition by helping on the farm regularly.

The Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club will be hosting its annual Dinner Dance to honor Matthew Koch at The Carrick House in Lexington on December 2, 2022. A silent auction will be held with all proceeds benefitting The Horse Farm Workers' Educational Assistance Fund. Tickets and sponsorships for the event will be available for purchase through the club website at later this month.

This press release has not been edited by BloodHorse. If there are any questions please contact the organization that produced the release.