The Southern Lights holiday festival, presented by Toyota, is returning for the 19th year to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, from November 16 to December 31. In September, the American Bus Association (ABA) selected Southern Lights a Top 100 event for 2013, which is an annual compendium of the best events for group travel in the United States and Canada. Winners are chosen from hundreds of celebrations, festivals, fairs, commemorative events, and more that have been nominated by ABA members.
With all the family-friendly activities offered annually, Southern Lights has been a well-known Bluegrass tradition for almost twenty years now. Kids of all ages delight in the holiday driving tour. Visitors take in displays of the Christmas Village, the 12 Days of Christmas, Keeneland Race Track, Show Jumping, Steeplechase and the Spires of Churchill Downs—each composed of thousands of twinkling lights. New this year will be several basketball themed light displays celebrating our 2012 National NCAA Champion UK Wildcats.
Southern Lights’ indoor attractions prove to be just as popular as the driving tour with its holiday craft merchants, the KHP Gift Shop full of gifts for under the tree, seasonal entertainment and children’s activities, the International Museum of the Horse, an exotic petting zoo, pony and camel rides, the Mini Train Express, model train displays and photos with Santa. In recent years, more than 27,000 cars and 114,000 people have attended.
Southern Lights is open from 5:30 pm to 10 pm nightly. Indoor attractions will be open every night except November 22 and December 24 - 31. The cost is $15.00 per car Sunday through Thursday and $20.00 per car on Friday and Saturday. In addition, the cost for an extended van or limousine is $30.00, a mini-bus is $50.00, a school bus is $75.00 and a motorcoach is $125.00. Group admission is available by contacting Chris Nentwick in the KHP Foundation at 859/255-5727 or at
All proceeds support the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. The 2012 Shining Star Presenting Sponsor is Toyota and the Holly and Ivy Sponsors are Kerr Brothers and Café Press.
The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, fulfills its mission to enhance, expand and improve the Kentucky Horse Park by fundraising within the private sector. This partnership between private donors and the support of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is what has enabled the incredible success of the Kentucky Horse Park. Since its inception in 1985, the KHP Foundation has raised more than $25 million, which has funded critical improvements such as new facilities, research projects, new horses, landscaping ventures, and much more.
Come Join Us on the Legacy Trail
WHO: All Fayette citizens are challenged to come out in support
WHAT: 2nd Sunday on the Legacy Trail – an afternoon to walk, run, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, push a stroller or walk a pet
WHEN: Sunday, October 14, 2012 – 2-6 p.m.
WHERE: Legacy Trail located along the Newtown Pike corridor
WHY: Since 2008, the University of Kentucky Extension Service has coordinated community wide 2nd Sunday events by closing downtown streets, airport runways, etc.
In 5 short years 2nd Sunday has exploded into hundreds of communities across the state. In Fayette County, permanent infrastructure of trails is becoming assets the community now owns and utilizes. The Legacy Trail is the crown jewel.
Kentucky is one of the least healthy states in the US. 2nd Sunday is a prime opportunity for local citizens to display their resolve in remedying this status. Be there. Be healthy.
COMMUNITY HOSTS: Fayette County Cooperative Extension; Kentucky Horse Park; Lexington-Fayette County Health Dept.; Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government; Lexmark; Spindletop Hall, YMCA of Central Kentucky
Kentucky Horse Park:
2-5pm: $5.00 adults admission and free for kids under 12 and under along with Free parking. Must present 2nd Sunday sticker for parking and admission (each individual), so be sure to hit the Legacy Trail first. Note: For the safety of our guests, equestrians and horses, BICYCLES ARE NOT PERMITTED on park grounds beyond the main visitor parking lot or campground (without permission of the KHP Mounted Police.)
Drinks and Snacks
2-6pm: Fayette County Extension, Chiro One Wellness Center 2-4pm: Cane Run Water Shed Display 3-5pm: Capoeira Volta Ao Mundo
North Lexington YMCA:
2-6pm: Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, Hydration Station, Maximized Living, Community Action Council
2-4pm: Kids Bike Races
2-5pm: Rollerblading, Better Bites
For more information and updates visit:
Our website: www.2ndsundaylexington.com
Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/2ndSundayLexington
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/2ndsundaylex
The Paso Fino Horse Association is proud to present the 40th Annual Grand National Championship Show to the Horse Capital of the World, Lexington, KY. “Brio in the Bluegrass” is the theme for this year’s event, which will bring close to 600 horses to Kentucky October 7-13, 2012. Brio is a Spanish word referring to the energy and lively spirit displayed in this breed. The event is included with Kentucky Horse Park admission during the hours of 9-5, and open to the public without charge in the evenings. The public is also welcome to participate in the “Ride a Paso Fino” program on Friday and Saturday to experience the naturally smooth ride for which the Paso Fino is known.
Audiences can view these remarkable horses competing all seven days of the event. Traditional lead line and under-saddle classes will be complimented by several recreational competitions, speed events, and exhibitions. Watch the Classic Fino type horses display their quick-stepping gait and cheer with the crowd as they move down the sounding board. Come see the 2nd Annual Paso Fino Cowboy Mounted Shooting Competition – one of the fastest growing equine sports in the nation. Watch Paso Fino Horse Soccer, a growing interest among equestrians for both competitive and rehabilitative purposes. Watch Paso Finos barrel race and pole bend, showing off their agility and quickness. Watch the horses navigate natural hurdles in the Obstacle Trail Challenge and display their all-around versatility in the Freestyle Competition and a Freestyle Exhibition by Camilla Willings and her stallion ‘Mercy,’ the 2010 North American Wind Rider Challenge Champions. After all this, ride one for yourself in the Ride a Paso Fino program!
The Paso Fino horse is a gaited breed that is gaining popularity in the US due to their sweet temperaments and spirited nature under saddle – not to mention the smoothest ride in the world. Perfect for all riders, especially youth, these horses range in size from 13-15 hands and have the versatility required for any number of disciplines. Their size, smooth gait, and sweet demeanors also make them the choice mount for those with back injuries or limited mobility. Paso Finos come in every equine color, with long manes and tails. They naturally prefer their unique, smooth gait, but can also walk, canter, and even gallop like non-gaited breeds.
The Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park, John Nicholson, says, “We are honored that the Paso Fino Horse Association has selected the Kentucky Horse Park to host their Grand National in 2012, which will be a wonderful asset to our park and the surrounding communities. It will also be an exciting introduction for Kentuckians who will quickly be dazzled and enamored by this very old and elegant Spanish breed. Their beauty and brilliant style will win countless hearts, and many local businesses will benefit from the Paso Fino Grand National moving to our state.”
The show is included with park admission during the day and free at night. The PFHA will be welcoming our US Veterans and Active Military with free admission on Friday of the show week. We invite any and all to come out and learn about this fabulous, gaited breed. For more information, visit www.pfha.org or watch online at www.PFHAlive.com. Sponsorship opportunities are available.
High resolution photos available.
Standardbred pacer Won The West will be welcomed to the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions on Saturday, October 6. This Two-Time Divisional and Breeders Crown Champion was retired in September as a leader in Standardbred racing with lifetime earnings of $3,939,836.
In honor of the horse’s arrival at the park, Mayor Jim Gray has declared October 6 “Won The West Day” in Lexington, KY, and his office has prepared a certificate that will be presented to the owners on Saturday.
Won The West made 109 lifetime starts in his career with 36 firsts, 24 seconds and 15 thirds. In 2009, he won the Breeders Crown in a stakes-record time of 1:47, and he won the same race again in 2010. This 8-year-old gelding was voted Older Pacer of the Year in 2009 and 2010 by the U.S. Harness Writers, and was twice awarded the Dan Patch trophy as top older pacing horse.
“The Kentucky Horse Park is honored to have Won The West join our Hall of Champions,” said John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “This exceptional horse is a star for the Standardbred industry, and we look forward to sharing him and his story with the throngs of visitors who enjoy the park each year. He will be a welcome addition to our champion line-up, and we thank his connections for entrusting his care to our team.”
Won The West was bred in New Jersey by Fair Winds Farm by Western Hanover out of Gabrielle by Dragon’s Lair, he was foaled in 2004. Won The West was purchased for $35,000 by trainer Brian Brown at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. Brown purchased the colt for James Koehler’s Country Club Acres, Inc. of Findlay, Ohio; the Kantzer family’s Strollin Stable of Marion, Ohio; and, William Robinson of Findlay, Ohio.
With trainer Ron Burke added to the team in 2007, Won The West went on to be one of the highest-earning horses on the Standardbred racing circuit, beating some of the biggest names in racing such as Mister Big and winning the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Indiana Pacing Derby, the Bobby Quillin Memorial and the Dan Patch Invitational, as well as three American national stakes titles.
Won The West joins fellow Standardbred pacing champions Staying Together and Western Dreamer, and Standardbred trotting champion Mr. Muscleman, at the Hall of Champions.
The public is invited to welcome him to Kentucky at the Hall of Champions at the Won The West Welcome Ceremony at 10:00 am on Saturday, October 6. The welcome ceremony is open to the public, or guests may choose to stay and visit the rest of the park with regular visitor admission ($16 for adults, $8 for children 7-12, no charge for children 6 and under in the party).
The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man's relationship with the horse. The park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and hosted more than 825,000 visitors and campers, as well as 15,000 competition horses in more than 200 special events and horse shows in 2011. The park is home to the National Horse Center which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations. Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is The place to get close to horses. Open daily March 15 to Nov. 4, and Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 5 to March 15.
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.
WHO: Richard and Jeannette McGrath of Hearts Up Ranch
WHAT: Press conference with Public Safety Administrative Officer Rick Curtis, representing Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, Kentucky Horse Park executive director John Nicholson, and the McGraths.
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept 7, 4pm
WHERE: Kentucky Horse Park's Alltech Arena
WHY: Richard and Jeannette McGrath are 3,000 miles into a 4,000-mile coast-to-coast horseback journey to raise awareness and funds for Hearts Up Ranch, a serene, working ranch established in Jackson, Wyoming where "emotionally broken people can find peace with both God and themselves once again." Their ride began on March 4, 2010. They have traversed the deserts and mountains of the west, winter on the plains, and the flooding and storms of the spring on the same 4 horses (who will be resting and recuperating at the Maker's Mark Secretariat Center, located at the Kentucky Horse Park before finishing the last segment of the ride in Virginia Beach). www.HeartsUpRanch.com. HOW: Members of the media should go to the Alltech Arena. Past the parking booth, take the roundabout to Cigar Lane, then turn left on Alltech Way. The press conference will be held outside the main entrance (signs will be posted for alternate rain location). For more information please contact Equestrian Influence Media Department, www.equestrianinfluence.com, 615-830-1001, or
Watch an interview with the McGraths from the Kentucky Horse Park: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfElmeNDETk
Watch a video from WTVQ-ABC36 from the press conference: http://www.wtvq.com/news/9551-4000-miles-on-horseback-to-heal
Photos from the Lexington Herald-Leader from the press conference:http://www.kentucky.com/2011/09/07/1873207/couple-rides-x-country-on-horses.html
Lexington, KY - September 6, 2011 - The Kentucky Travel Industry Association named the Alltech National Horse Show as part of their line-up of 2011 Fall Top Ten Festivals and Events.
Founded in 1883 at the original Madison Square Garden, the National Horse Show is America's oldest indoor horse show, firmly established as a major fixture on the national and international sports and social events calendars. For its 128th edition, the National Horse Show elected to move to the Kentucky Horse Park where it will be housed in the beautiful, new Alltech Indoor Arena. Now called the Alltech National Horse Show, the five-day event will offer $650,000 to the nation's top riders. There will also be children's activities, interactive exhibits, and special social events.
The Kentucky Travel Industry Association names its Top 10 Festivals & Events four times a year. To be eligible, festivals or events must be recommended or produced by a Kentucky Travel Industry Association member. A panel of impartial judges selects the winners for each season. Criteria for selection include popularity of the event, its impact on the local tourism economy as well as cultural and historical significance.
The Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) is a nearly 900 member, statewide association representing all sectors of the state's travel industry. The Association's mission is to unite Kentucky's third largest industry through governmental interaction, communication and education. For more information on KTIA, phone 502.223.8687, email
The Alltech National Horse Show, 128th Edition, will be held from November 2 - 6, 2011, at the beautiful, new Alltech Indoor Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
This year's show, designated CSI4*-W, will feature a complete schedule of 'AA'-rated hunter divisions, including the Pony Lane Farm High Performance Hunter section. Also on the agenda, a big money Open Jumper division highlighted by the Sasco Creek Farm $50,000 Welcome Speed Class, the $75,000 Double H Farms Thursday's Jump-Off class, the $60,000 Spy Coast Farm Faults Converted Speed class on Friday and of course, the $250,000 Alltech National Horse Show Grand Prix, an FEI World Cup qualifying event. $100,000 will be up for grabs for the Junior and Amateur Jumper divisions, including the $50,000 SJHOF Junior/Amateur Championships, sponsored by Sleepy P Ranch, Chansonette and Deeridge Farm. The final Sunday is highlighted by the signature event of the National Horse Show, the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals, presented by C.M. Hadfield's Saddlery.
Founded in 1883 at the original Madison Square Garden, the National Horse Show is America's oldest indoor horse show, firmly established as a major fixture on the national and international sports and social event calendars. The National Horse Show Association's primary activity is the annual production of the National Horse Show and all ancillary events. Over the years, the National Horse Show has provided financial aid to many worthwhile charities.
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.