Director's Welcome

Dear Friends:

As you’ve seen, our website is emblazoned with the headline, “The Kentucky Horse Park: Epicenter of equestrian life, sports and business!”

It’s true; the Kentucky Horse Park is recognized around the world as the epicenter of equestrian life, sports and business. Yet, as proud as I am of our 1,200 acres, the world-class tourist and competition facility that we have developed, our equine office park and the international-level equestrian events that take place here, to find the real epicenter we have to look deeper.

The true epicenter is not something for which human beings can take even a morsel of credit, because it isn’t man-made. The Kentucky Horse Park is the epicenter of equestrian life, sports and business because this is where the heart of the horse finds its earthly counterpart in the people whose hearts beat in rhythm with his. This is the place where the essence of that remarkable relationship between man and horse is appreciated and honored in everything that we do.

Our tourists and other park visitors from around the world get to experience the breadth and depth of this relationship a thousand different ways at the Kentucky Horse Park:

They hear it in the squeals of children who touch horses for the first time here, setting a course for a life-long love affair with an animal that will enrich their lives in ways that they can’t even imagine.

They smell it when they bury their noses in the mane of one of our resident horses on a warm day.

They understand it when a mare nickers her first greeting to her new foal, and her words are so low and soft and sweet that their hearts melt every time they hear it. They may not know exactly what she’s whispers to her baby, but they still know the content of her heart.

They feel it when they’re on one of our trail rides; when they’re moving with a horse in perfect cadence.

They share it in the collective gasp that rises from spectators when a horse stumbles, and the thunderous applause a moment later when something Divine lifts him up and his heart carries him across the finish line in one of our races.

They express it with deep sighs of relief when the wizened old racetrack veterans in our Hall of Champions get a good prognosis from the veterinarian, and deep cries of grief when they don’t.

They notice it in the appraising glances between horses who are sizing each other up before a competition in our warm-up rings.

They love it when wounded and traumatized soldiers are brought back to wholeness by the unconditional acceptance of a horse in our Horses for Heroes program.

They encounter it when physically or emotionally challenged people meet the healing power of horses in our therapeutic riding programs.

They relive it when stories of the shared history of man and horse are unfolded in our museums.

They recognize it in nods of approval exchanged between even the fiercest competitors after a good effort by their mounts in our show rings.

They imagine it in the moments of silence when a horse and rider are airborne, flying over impossibly high fences.

They experience it in speechless wonder every time a soul-to-soul connection is made with a horse…

So I encourage you to get personally involved in preserving and protecting this extraordinary animal and to discover the marvelous bond that we share. Visit the Kentucky Horse Park and other equine facilities that are dedicated to nurturing this wonderful relationship. Support organizations that rescue horses. Take horseback riding lessons from a local stable. Read “Black Beauty” again. Watch the Kentucky Derby. Go anyplace where you can be around a horse; you will be blessed by the sight, sound, smell and feel of him, and you will both be the better for it.

I could certainly continue, but I will close by saying that on our website you’ll learn much more about us and what we have to offer our visitors and competitors. Then, we hope that you will decide to experience it for yourself.  Visit us in person soon and let us know if you agree that the Kentucky Horse Park is the epicenter of equestrian life, sports and business… and something much, much deeper.

Yours sincerely,
John Nicholson
Executive Director 
Kentucky Horse Park


Video from John Nicholson's Retirement Announcement


Following the 2012 legislative session, the Kentucky Horse Park presented this business plan for the future financial operations of the park.

KHP 2012 Business Plan