Monday, June 20, 2011

Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY-The Horse Capital of the World

Monday, 6/20/11 - Will said he wanted to see a horse park and boy did we, we spent over 6 hours at the Kentucky Horse Park today. We are staying in the Horse Parks campground which is located right next door so about 9:30 am we headed over there. A must see website

When you enter the Visitors Center you get a map of the grounds and a schedule of the activities. The first activity was at 10 am a Trolley Tour, however, when we arrived there were to many people waiting in line and we would miss the next activity at 10:15 am - Hall of Champions, so we headed over there instead. We were seated around a show ring and they bring the horses in from their barns and parade them in front of us. These were all famous racetrack winners that are now kept here at the Horse Park. The most famous was Cigar, who won 16 races in a row, which is a record. This horse earned almost 10 million while racing. The stud fees would have been unbelievable, but unfortunately, Cigar turned out to be sterile and this cost the insurance company over 25 million. They brought out about 4 more horses and one was actually bred in Fresno. It was great fun as they also showed on the overhead TVs, clips of the horses while racing.

The next activity was the Parade of Breeds Show at 11 am which highlighted selected breeds; the riders wore authentic costumes while putting the horse through their paces and the announcer explained the heritage of the horse. My favorite was the Tennessee Walker, a high stepper unfortunately I don't know the types of the other horses they showed but it was very interesting. Afterwards, the riders remained on their horses and came to the fences where we could pet them and ask questions of the riders. After this show was to be the Mare and Foal Show in the same arena, which turned out to be a disappointment as we thought it would be mom and baby, but all they showed were miniature horses. I guess its the wrong time of the year for mares and foals.

By now it's noon and we head back over to the restaurant for lunch and a chance to relax. Great fun there as they had on the TVs - 4 different racetracks, all showing horse races. OMG, I was in heaven, Will could have left me there. But no, off we went back on "the circuit."

We head back to the Trolley Tour which is a trolley pulled by a John Deere a horse farm no less, even the kid next to us was complaining, how come they don't use horses to pull the trolleys? Good question kid! But it was interesting, they drove us all around, showing us different areas and what they were used for and we were able to see where we wanted to go back and visit. When we left the trolley we did just that, starting with the different barns - the Carriage barn, the Farrier & Tack shop, the Draft barn, the American Saddlebred museum, the Horse Cemetery and the Arabian Horse museum. Now all of this is so interesting but takes many hours and lots of reading, taking pictures and walking.

We head back to the MAIN International Museum to see the movie, The Kentucky Horse Park, 2010 & Beyond, tour the museum, buy a few postcards and our last stop is to see the famous Man o' War Memorial. A beautiful setting and gorgeous statue of this horse plus several plaques placed around the statue telling the story of Man o' War. So many interesting things about this horse but the one that amazed us, was he had a stride of 28 feet. They had this marked off & had you to walk this length and see how many steps you took within 28 feet. Will had 11 and I had 13 inside the marker. By now the sky has gotten very dark and looks like it is going to open up and pour rain down on us. We are so tired but had a great experience and learned more about horses than we ever thought possible, but then when we arrived home, the sun came much for Kentucky weather. Much love to all family and friends.

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