US Equestrian, the national governing body for equestrian sport in the United States, hosted an official grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly-completed, state-of-the-art headquarters located at the Kentucky Horse Park. The new building will provide a collaborative work space for more than 155 employees and service the organization’s 145,000 members, 11 breeds, 18 disciplines, and 20 affiliates. As part of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee family, the building proudly displays the official designation of the Olympic rings and the Paralympic symbol, and is located directly inside the main entrance at the iconic Kentucky Horse Park.
US Equestrian hosts official ribbon cutting ceremony of new headquarters. Photo Credit: Andrea Evans/US Equestrian
“We believe this building sets the stage for a bright, new future for US Equestrian and reflects our commitment to service for all of our members, affiliates, and partners every single day,” said Murray Kessler, President of US Equestrian. “This is the first time ever that the Olympic and Paralympic marks are proudly and prominently displayed on our building, which is representative of the role we play as the national governing body for equestrian sport in the U.S.”
The design and construction process was a two-year undertaking. The final product highlights the history and heritage of equestrian sport while promoting the overarching vision of US Equestrian to bring the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible. The interactive and educational lobby, which also includes a ShopUSEF retail and merchandise space, provides a unique display of the diverse activities encompassed by equestrian sport in the United States.
“Our new headquarters provides a space where you can see the productivity happening. When you have a building like this, where people can interact and you put the right departments together, the ideas flow and great things happen,” continued Kessler. “We’re passionate about our vision, and our vision is to bring the joy of horse sports to as many people as possible. I truly believe this building will help us do that better than ever before.”
The decision to construct a new building was the result of a thorough cost analysis by the US Equestrian Board of Directors and executive staff, leading up to the expiration of the long-term lease on the former office site within the Kentucky Horse Park. The new headquarters is estimated to generate more than $200,000 in annual savings, which will be repurposed to better serve the needs of the organization’s membership and re-assert US Equestrian’s commitment to preserve its location at the horse park.
“This day is monumental in that not only does it talk about our relationship, but the commitment the US Equestrian Federation has made to the horse park, to our state, to our sport, and to our city,” said Laura Prewitt, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park.
US Equestrian has worked closely with both state and local government officials to support the organization’s desire to have their key operational space continue to be located in the state of Kentucky. Lexington’s Mayor Linda Gorton spoke to the impact of the equine and agricultural industry on the Central Kentucky region, and the importance of ensuring a successful future here for US Equestrian.
“The Kentucky Horse Park is home to dozens of equine-related associations. Organizations that represent different breeds, different professions, different activities, and we are so proud to say that one of these organizations is the United States Equestrian Federation, which has now built what we hope will be a permanent home at the horse park,” said Mayor Gorton. “I’m a strong supporter of our equine industry – it’s a key part of our signature brand here in Fayette County and Central Kentucky, as is the horse park. The farms that surround our city sustain our economic health and quality of life.”
Secretary Don Parkinson of the Kentucky Tourism, Art, & Heritage Cabinet also spoke to the profound importance the presence of US Equestrian’s headquarters has for the tourism industry and for the other associations and businesses that reside at the Kentucky Horse Park.
“This organization is so important to all of us here in Kentucky, as well as here at the horse park,” commented Secretary Parkinson. “Having this anchor all of the horse industry here is so very important to everyone at the horse park. We have over 30 organizations that are officed here, and it was really important that we have the big capstone with US Equestrian.”
US Equestrian extended its sincerest thanks the following contractors, individuals, and partners for their continued support and dedication to this project, as well as to the US Equestrian staff for their flexibility and patience as construction completed.
DW Wilburn – Doug Wilburn, Kim Blethen, Kevin Taylor & Mitchell Roe
Integrity Architecture – Joey Nolasco, Joe Rasnick, Aaron Bivens, Adam Gillett & Carrie Hendrickson
ID&A – Jessica Hardin, Abby Hall, Alicia Hester & Jordan Hope
PNC – John Gohmann & David Kidd
Nomi Design – Matthew Brooks, Melody Jackson & Jeremy Clements
Kentucky Horse Park – Laura Prewitt & Jonathan Lang
Kentucky State Department –Don Parkinson, Secretary of Tourism, Arts, and Heritage & Regina Stivers, Deputy Secretary of Tourism, Arts, and Heritage
US Equestrian Staff – David Harris, Vicki Lowell, Jessica Strayer, Ian Thornton, Ryan Hays, Josh Talboo, & Will Johnson
To learn more about US Equestrian, please visit www.usef.org.