A visit to Kentucky Horse Park – Red Bluff Daily News


Kentucky Horse Park was one site we wished we had more time to visit, during the Western Livestock Journal Bluegrass Tour, as the two hours was definitely not enough time. If you go, plan at least half a day or more.

Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm, international equestrian competition venue, and educational theme park that opened in 1978 in Lexington, Kentucky. The equestrian establishment is a 500-hectare park dedicated to the relationship between man and horse. Open to the public. Each year the park hosts a number of special events and horse shows.

We managed to get on the horse drawn wagon pulled by a Clydesdale and a Percheron as we toured part of the riding park. Looking down on the arena where the horses were ridden, both Western and English.

The bronze statue of Secretariat, legendary thoroughbred champion, 1970-1989. Bold Ruler was father, mother was Somethingroyal by Princequillo. “Secretariat, a chestnut colt of imposing size and beauty, was the quintessential thoroughbred of the last half of the 20th century. He showed his genius early on by winning the Eclipse Horse of the Year award at the age of two. He won 16 of his 21 starts, sweeping the 1973 Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, setting new track records in every race. His 31-length triumph in the Belmont impressed the racing world and sports fans everywhere as one of the most thrilling events of all time. Here he is pictured in the winner’s circle after the Kentucky Derby with his jockey Ron Tucotte on board and led by his husband Eddie Sweat. Bronze by sculptor Edwin Bogucki.

The beautiful statue of Sgt. Reckless, May 12, 2018 A bronze statue of Sergeant Reckless was placed and dedicated in Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington Kentucky. “Staff Sergeant Reckless (c. 1948 – May 13, 1968), a decorated war horse who held an official rank in the United States Army, was a Mongolian horse breeding mare. Descended from a racehorse dam, she was purchased in October 1952 for $250 from a Korean stable boy at Seoul Racecourse who needed the money to buy an artificial leg for his sister. Reckless was purchased by members of the United States Marine Corps and trained to be a pack horse for the Recoilless Rifle Platoon, Anti-Tank Company, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. She soon became part of the unit and was allowed to roam freely around the camp, entering the Marines’ tents, where she slept on cold nights, and was known for her willingness to eat almost anything, including scrambled eggs, beer, Coca-Cola and, once, about $30 worth of poker chips.

We saw the Hall of Champions, when Western Dreamer, a Standard-bred bay trotter who won the Triple Crown in 1997 and is now 28, was introduced to us. Won The West, a Standard breed pacer who made $4 million and set a record in 2009 that still stands, now 17 years old. Point Given was a 24-year-old stud, who got syndicated for $50 million. Into the 2010 Hall of Fame. Funny Cide was getting washed as we passed him on his way to see all three.

The museum has the Calumet Farm trophies, as well as a collection of dresses worn at the Madden Derby Eve Party. “A central part of every Derby Eve Party was a whimsical element. At the Fountain of Youth party in 1975, a large fountain stood in the tent. In the middle of the evening, an old woman wandered into the tent, fell into the fountain and emerged as a beautiful young woman.The 1985 Jungle Fever party included a three-meter-tall volcano that erupted at midnight.In 1988, at Fabergé’s Imperial Derby Eve, two large eggs in gold and bejeweled opened at 10 p.m. to reveal two dancing ballerinas who performed in front of the crowd. Guests at a Madden party knew how to expect the unexpected. The Maddens knew how to make an evening memorable. dresses worn by Anita Madden in the 80s and 90s were on display.

The Horse in Sport textile banners were a series of 20 interconnected padded banners, the banners represent a wide range of equestrian activities.

In another room was a large collection of silver trophies, bowls, plates and pitchers from the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden. “As America’s first horse show of truly ‘national’ scope, the National hosted a wide variety of classes in its early years – from indoor steeple hunters to stock-cutting, elegant Lipizzaners from the Spanish school of d riding at the Donkey and Mule Lessons, there was something for everyone. It was also the place to see and be seen when the National kicked off the town’s social season – a not to be missed event for people from all walks of life, from firefighters to millionaires who both attended and participated in. The National Horse Show began in 1883.

The Francis W. Eustis Draft Horse Gallery was fascinating with its equipment and history. Draft animals in early America were oxen, then large farms needed more horsepower. Then new machines replaced the workhorse. The draft horse competes in the show ring today. We only think of the Clydesdale, but there is the Suffolk, born around 1770, bred exclusively for agriculture and known for its formidable pulling power. First imported to America around 1880. In 1961, the Suffolk Association represented all 18 Suffolk breeders in America.

Clydesdales are the most well-known draft breed in America. “The Clydesdale originated in the valley of the River Clyde in the Scottish county of Lanard around 1750. Following European tradition, many businesses, especially breweries, set up colorful four- and six-horse carriages to help make advertising their products. Since the repeal of Prohibition, Budweiser Clydesdales have carried on this tradition, helping to make the Clydesdale one of the most recognizable breeds in America.

Belgian, the most numerous draft breed in America, originated in Belgium. “1866 first imported to America. After World War I, Belgian breeders were among the first to respond to the American breeder’s desire for a more compact and therefore more economical workhorse. As with horses lightweight, modern workhorses are increasingly used as pleasure horses.Today’s Belgian can be found in show rings across the country in halter, conformation and driving classes , and was also very successful in pulling competitions.

Percheron, the first important draft horse in America. “They were the first of the draft breeds to come to America, and the most numerous until they were overtaken by the Belgians in 1937. Four were imported in 1839. After World War II, the tractor virtually destroyed the American draft horse market. As a result, only 58 Percherons were registered in 1954. With the renewed interest in draft horses in the 1960s, registrations rose to 1,253 in 1982.”

Shire, the elegant urban workhorse. “The Shire originated in the east-central English counties of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. The first Shire was imported to America in 1853. Due to their large size and flashy action, the Shire had been especially popular in urban America. By the end of World War I, however, the draft horse had all but been replaced by the truck, subway, and electric streetcar in the city. At the same time, farmers were looking for a smaller, more economical horse to work the fields. In 1985, there were 121 registered Shires in America.

The museum also had light horse breeds and horse history, but not enough time to see them.

Jean Barton has been writing her column for the Daily News since the early 1990s. She can be contacted by email at jbarton2013@gmail.com.


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