Saturday, May. 18, 2024

More Than The Big Event: Other Things To Do At The Kentucky Horse Park

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Coming to Lexington for the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park? While the marquee five-star event offers plentiful entertainment on its own, between some of the world’s best eventers, a massive trade fair and even a recently added show jumping grand prix, there are still more things to do when you visit one of Kentucky’s state parks. 

Established in 1978, the state-owned Kentucky Horse Park has hosted horse shows from the introductory level to world championship competition. It’s also home to a long list of equine businesses, associations and operations at the National Horse Center. 

So if you’re bringing people along on your pilgrimage who aren’t quite as into eventing as you, or if you just want a change of pace during your visit, we’ve compiled a list of things to do at the park that will almost certainly satisfy any horse enthusiast.

The Parade of Breeds features five to six different breeds daily. Photos Courtesy Of Kentucky Horse Park

When making your plans, check out the daily schedule, as it differs seasonally. The times and activities below are for the 2023 spring season, which ends April 30. The park is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday in the spring.

  1. The Breeds Barn and the Parade of Breeds

How many horse breeds do you know? A stop into the Breeds Barn offers a chance to learn about horse breeds, both common and rare. Stick around to see some of them in action during the Parade of Breeds, showing off their history and culture as they perform in costumes and attire native to their lands. This is also an opportunity for guests to snap fan photos, pet the horses and chat with their riders. Barn open during regular park hours, parade at 1 p.m. daily

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2. Hall of Champions

It’s like a little taste of horsey Hollywood in the heart of the Bluegrass. Sit down for the Hall of Champions Show to learn about Kentucky Derby winners and other international equine stars who call the KHP home. Show 11 a.m. daily

The Kentucky Horse Park is home to an array of Thoroughbred superstars, including Point Given, winner of the 2001 Preakness and Belmont Stakes and the first Thoroughbred to win four consecutive million-dollar races.

3. The International Museum of the Horse, the American Saddlebred Museum & the Wheeler Museum

The International Museum of the Horse is a Smithsonian affiliate and showcases the role of equines in different societies for thousands of years. It has permanent exhibits and featured showings, as well as an art wing. 

The American Saddlebred Museum spotlights Saddlebred horses historically and culturally. The museum features a research library in addition to its exhibits. 

With a focus on show jumping, the Wheeler Museum encourages a walk (or trot) down memory lane. Browse antiques like tack and training tools; see famous trophies and iconic photos and learn the story behind them. Museums open during regular park hours.

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The Calumet Trophy Collection in the International Museum of the Horse.

4. Trail Rides and Pony Rides

When weather is on your side, guided trail rides are offered around the perimeter of the park. This excursion is not included in KHP general admission, and tickets are first-come, first-serve each day. $30 per person for a 35-minute ride. 

For children 7 and younger, who are not permitted to take the trail rides, pony rides around the paddock (adjacent to the playground) are available. These tickets are also secured on a first-come, first-serve basis. $6 per ride. 

5. Legacy Trail

If walking the cross-country course isn’t quite enough cardio for you, the Legacy Trail offers a place to get your exercise in. Visitors can walk, run, bike, in-line skate or skip along the 12-mile (caveat: at the moment, only 8 ½ miles of it is completely finished/paved) trail leading from the Kentucky Horse Park Campground to downtown Lexington.

Legend, an American Drum Horse, is one of the newest members of the Kentucky Horse Park Mounted Police.

6. Meet the KHP Mounted Police Force

As the first responders to any emergency on the park’s grounds, the KHP Mounted Police play an important role in keeping the area safe for humans and equines. The stables are open for tours during regular park hours, during which visitors can meet officers and give the police horses much deserved pets. During LRK3DE, the mounted police will be primarily out monitoring. If you see them, feel free to stop and say hi.

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