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October 12, 2012

Olympian Reed Kessler And Professional Hunter Rider Melissa Murphy Reach Out To Local Students

The city of Lexington has always been rich with not only the bluegrass fields, but also the gem of the state - the horses. With the Alltech National Horse Show rapidly approaching October 30 - November 4, 2012, the nation is growing excited as the 129th edition returns to the Kentucky Horse Park for its second consecutive year.

Bobby Murphy, along with Olympian Reed Kessler and professional hunter rider Melissa Murphy, traveled to The Lexington School yesterday for the opportunity to partake in an educational endeavor to introduce students to the history and tradition of the Alltech National Horse Show.

Nearly 150 students from The Lexington School gathered to listen to Reed Kessler and Melissa Murphy divulge their favorite parts of not only the horse sport, but also for their excitement as the Alltech National Horse Show returns to Kentucky. When Kessler asked aloud how many of the students had ridden a horse, nearly every hand shot into the air - their excitement was palpable as they spoke to some of the best local equestrians of the industry.

"This was a great opportunity for the Equine Education Program to reach out to the students and talk to them about the upcoming horse show," Bobby Murphy remarked. "Through conversations with Reed and Melissa, it was clear that they were making connections, and in turn, fans."

Bobby has been working diligently over the years to continue to grow the thriving equine industry throughout the Lexington area through his efforts with the Equine Education Program. He decided to bring Kessler and Melissa Murphy to The Lexington School as a way of putting a new spin on the program. With the help of Caroline Smith, an alumnus of The Lexington School and a member of the Murphy Manor staff, the professional riders and Alltech Marketing Coordinator Ariel Weisman were able to answer any and all questions the students had surrounding the approaching show. After seeing the reactions of the children and the teachers, Bobby admitted that this was the perfect fit.  

"It was a younger group of kids, and they were pretty knowledgeable about horses. I talked a little bit to them about our "journey to the Olympics", and the kids were great," Kessler explained. "They asked genuine questions; I have never seen a group of kids so fascinated by horses and so knowledgeable."

Using visual aids, as well as saddles and bridles, the students were able to learn about the equipment used in the hunter and jumper disciplines. Alltech not only donated coloring books and stickers to the children, but each one was able to take home general admission tickets for the Alltech National Horse Show.

"I think the kids enjoyed it, and it was wonderful to be able to reach out to the younger generations and have them feel the excitement for having the Alltech National Horse Show in their backyard," Melissa explained. "I wore my show outfit to demonstrate for the kids what we wear in the hunter ring, and explained the equipment. They were really interested in the program my horse Picasso is on to prepare for Indoors, and I think also all of his quirks."

Melissa continued, "Running Murphy Manor, I have a variety of age levels for clients, but I definitely love teaching the kids. It was fun to answer their questions and educate them."

Melissa will be showing her 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood, Picasso, at the Alltech National Horse Show. "I think he was a great horse to talk to them about, they really got a kick out of me explaining his love of Doritos," Melissa concluded with a laugh. "He is a favorite around the barn, and to be able to see the compassion that still comes with riders on the circuit, I think it really made a connection for them. I think they will definitely want to come out and support the show."

At the end of the event, Kessler asked the students if they were going to come to the Alltech National Horse Show to see her horse in person and experience the horse show first hand. Their response was an exuberant 'yes!'

"It was clear that they have a true passion for horses, and it was wonderful to be able to give back to the community," Kessler expressed. "One girl's mom came running up to me afterward, and she told me that I was her daughter's inspiration. She had watched me on television, and decided that she wanted to go to the Olympics, too. I never imagined that I would be able to inspire someone like that, it was such a sweet moment."

The 2012 edition of The Alltech National Horse Show will be held October 30-November 4 at the prestigious Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY. Designated CSI-W 4*, the $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix will serve as an FEI East Coast League World Cup qualifying event. In total, the show will feature over $600,000 in total prize money, including $100,000 in the Junior and Amateur Jumper divisions and new this year, the high-stepping American Saddlebreds will make their National Horse Show debut.

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.

For more information on the National Horse Show Association of America, Limited, please visit www.nhs.org.