Horse Park regularly hosts Olympic-caliber athletes FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 13, 2012) – As the 2012 Olympic Games in London close, Gov. Beshear today recognized the Kentucky Horse Park as an elite international equestrian facility for consistently hosting world-class and Olympic-caliber athletes. The Horse Park is also a significant economic contributor to the Commonwealth, with an estimated economic impact of approximately $180 million each year. “The Kentucky Horse Park is the only place in our state—and one of the few places in the world—where visitors can see world-class equestrian competitions on a regular basis,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are not only the Horse Capital of the World, but Kentucky is also one of the premier homes for high-level equestrian sports. I encourage Kentuckians and visitors to attend one of the many top-rated shows held at the Kentucky Horse Park and witness elite competition firsthand.”More than 115 athletes who participated in equestrian events in the 2012 Olympics have competed at the Kentucky Horse Park. Seventeen of those athletes earned a medal in the London Olympics. Athletes frequently travel from Australia, France, Great Britain and many other countries to the Lexington facility to contend for top honors in equestrian sports such as dressage, jumping and eventing. The Horse Park also hosted the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which marked the first time the elite competition was held outside of Europe. That event placed Kentucky in the international spotlight and generated more than $200 million in economic impact, and also built on the park’s international reputation as a signature event site. The new facilities added to the Horse Park for WEG continue to attract competitors and tourists to Kentucky from across the country and around the world. "We appreciate the continued support from the Governor and First Lady. We are exceedingly proud of our facility and the competitions that bring in visitors and athletes from around the globe,” said John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “The Kentucky Horse Park is clearly one of the leading equestrian competition facilities not just in North America, but anywhere in the world. We expect the tremendous growth of the sport horse industry in Kentucky will accelerate in the years ahead." The Kentucky Horse Park is a 1,200 acre competition facility and tourist attraction recognized as the epicenter of equestrian life, sports and business. Most notably, the park annually hosts the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. The event is ranked at four stars, which is the highest level in international competition. The Horse Park hosts a number of other award-winning shows as well. The Alltech National Horse Show won the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame’s Show of the year. They were also named the top U.S. show by the North American Riders Group. North American Junior and Young Rider Championships and the two weeks of Kentucky Spring Hunter Jumper were named among the top 25 events in North America.This year, the facility will host 21 grand prix jumper classes as well as seven national or international hunter derbies, with more than $1 million offered in prize money.The Park will host three upper-level dressage events in 2013, including the U.S. Dressage Finals. For more information on the Kentucky Horse Park and its world-class events, please visit http://kyhorsepark.com/.
Photo above from Rolex Kentucky, by www.PixBySteve.com.
LEXINGTON, KY (September 29, 2011) The Kentucky Horse Park will welcome four rare Marwari horses on permanent loan from Francesca Kelly, who imports this breed from India. Three of the horses arrived Tuesday, September 27.The horses came from Kelly's farm on Chappaquiddick Island off the coast of Massachusetts. Francesca Kelly is a writer who is dedicated to preserving the breed and has increased the number of these horses outside their native India. She is moving her herd to England and is allowing the park to keep three mares and a yearling. The Kentucky Horse Park is the only known location in North America where Marwari can be seen by the public. John Nicholson, executive director of the park, stated, "We are delighted and honored that Francesca Kelly has chosen the Kentucky Horse Park as the keeper of the last, precious band of these rare equines on this continent. They will be treasured by our staff and enjoyed by the literally millions of park visitors who will see them in the upcoming years." He continued, "We applaud the efforts of people like Ms. Kelly who dedicate their lives to preserving rare and endangered breeds." The Marwari horse was used hundreds of years ago as warhorses known for their extreme endurance. The Marwari are considered very brave and athletic horses. They are attentive and pick things up quickly through their senses. Visitors at the park during last year's Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games watched "tent pegging" demonstrations using some of Ms. Kelly's Marwari. The most noted fact about this breed is their extremely distinct ears. The ears curve inward and sometimes touch or overlap when in front position. The ears are the main characteristic that the registry uses to judge this breed.
The breed is available in all colors but the albino is held in highest regard. The albino Marwari is often used for religious purposes and ceremonies in its native home of India. They often become very attached to their handler and can become protective of them.
The three Marwari mares are on view to the public during park hours. The fourth, a yearling colt, will arrive later this fall.
Photos by James Shambhu.
Laura is a 3-year-old Suffolk Punch, who just arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park on August 11, 2011, from her home in Alabama. She will be on staff in the park's Draft Horse Barn, representing her breed, the Suffolk, which originated in England.
The Suffolk Punch is small for a draft horse, usually only 16.1 hands, and always chestnut.
They are known as the Rolls Royce of the draft horse breeds.
This is the first time Laura has been away from her farm, so she is still a little unsure about her new home in Kentucky. Watch a video.
Billy O'Brien, a Gypsy Vanner horse, arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park on the morning of August 11, 2011. He will be the newest staff member in the Breeds Barn, where he will be shown in the daily Parade of Breeds for park visitors. He will represent his breed under saddle and driving a carriage.
Watch a video taken minutes after Billie O'Brien arrived.