March 17, 2013
Mr. John NicholsonKentucky Horse Park4089 Iron Works ParkwayLexington, KY 40511
Dear Mr. Nicholson,
My family and I recently visited the horse park to celebrate the occasion of my grandmother’s 90th birthday. She lives out of state and has been staying with my parents in Lexington after a recent hospital stay. Due to her recent illness and other family members living so far away, it was a challenge to come up with a way to commemorate such a monumental milestone! She has always loved horses, and we could not think of a better way to celebrate her day than to give her the experience of the horse park and all it has to offer.
We arrived rather late in the day, and we were greeted by Martha at the guest reception desk. Martha was wonderful to our family. She immediately secured a wheelchair for my grandmother and when we told her the reason we were visiting the park that day she made a huge fuss over my grandmother and her birthday. She made her feel very special and told us how to make the most of the limited time we had to spend in the park.
We went straight up to the Hall of Champions on Martha’s suggestion. My grandmother was amazed at the history and majesty of the horses there. It was obviously feeding time for the horses, and the staff was winding down for the day. We stayed long enough for my grandmother to get a good look at all the horses in the hall. She was mystified!
As we were getting ready to leave to see the other sights of the park, I asked Robin if there was anywhere in the park we might be able to get my grandmother’s picture taken with a horse since it was her 90th birthday. Robin never hesitated. She asked if she would like to meet Be A Bono, the Racing American Quarter Horse world champion. Robin got Be A Bono out of his stall and walked him right up to my grandmother. This 90-year-old woman immediately transformed into a little farm girl again! She got to pet him, and Robin told her about Be A Bono’s history and how long he had been at the park. Before you knew it, all the staff and some visitors were standing around watching my grandmother in awe of this animal. It was quite a sight to see! We got some really wonderful pictures that we will all cherish for years to come.
As if meeting Be A Bono was not enough to make her day, Dennis presented her with a wrapped picture of Cigar to commemorate her day. We were also able to catch Cigar running in the field and snap some photos of thoroughbred racing’s all-time money winner.
She was so excited and so appreciative! Everyone… staff and visitors alike, were wishing her a happy birthday. She felt so special! Then, as luck would have it, one of the managers and farriers, John, stopped to talk to the little lady in the wheelchair. She told him she got to meet Be A Bono and showed him her picture of Cigar. She told him she was having quite an exciting day.
John told her she could not leave and have an appropriate 90th birthday without having her picture taken with a Kentucky Derby winner. John took his time to get Funny Cide, the Derby winner of 2003, out of his stall, and we all got pictures with him. John was so good to talk to her about Funny Cide’s history and how he came to live at the horse park. My grandmother was in tears at this point—not only because of the horses but because of the kindness and generosity of the staff. Dennis and John also brought Da Hoss out for her to meet and we again got pictures that we will cherish for a lifetime! John and Dennis both posed for pictures with her, and she remarked how lucky she was to have her picture taken with such handsome men!
The day could not have been a better day for her! It was all made possible by the lovely, kind, truly generous staff of the horse park.
Thank you all for making her 90th birthday a day we will all remember for years to come! We look forward to bringing her back to the park very soon to see Martha, Robin, Dennis, and John—but most of all the amazing horses!
Sincerely,A.R.Cross Lanes, WV