REGIONAL TRAVEL ISSUE
BY DAMAINE VONADA PHOTOS BY JAMES SHAMBHU, COURTESY OF KENTUCKY HORSE PARK
EQUINE DISNEYLAND Kentucky Horse Park celebrates 40 years as a favorite Bluegrass State attraction
he horse is Kentucky’s icon, and no place celebrates all things equine better than Kentucky Horse Park.
Located just outside Lexington, the park is like Disneyland with horses. Pristine grounds and specially designed buildings echo the beauty of the surrounding Bluegrass horse country, while programming and activities harness humanity’s relationship with horse breeds throughout the globe. Although it is owned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, its pedigree began in Virginia in 1777, when Governor Patrick Henry granted thousands of acres in the Kentucky Territory to a Revolutionary War veteran, Col. William Christian. Subsequent owners raised Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds on that land, and John R. Gaines of Lexington’s Gainesway Farm put forth an idea for an equine-themed park and followed through to spur its development as a public-private partnership. Since its opening in 1978, Kentucky Horse Park has grown into a multifaceted facility that combines a working farm with equestrian venues that host prestigious competitions, such as the Kentucky Three-Day Event, a world-class dressage, cross-country, and jumping triathlon. It’s also home to top equine associations, museums, a campground, and, between April and October when operations are in full swing, more than 100 horses. The park turns 40 in 2018, so it’s an ideal time to enjoy its unparalleled brand of horseplay. Here’s a quick guide to its attractions and experiences.
OHIO COOPERATIVE LIVING • APRIL 2018
Go For Gin, the second-oldest living Kentucky Derby winner, greets visitors daily to his home in Kentucky Horse Park.