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Lexington farm tours?

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  • Lexington farm tours?

    I'm thinking of doing a Lexington farm tour with my wife and a couple of friends next week.

    The Lexington vistors site has many listed but does anyone have a recommendation of one to use or perhaps a particular farm 'not to miss' but visible on such a tour?

    An option is just going to visit Old Friends on our own, but I think the organized tour would be more interesting to the rest of them

  • #2
    Blue Grass tours is a good one. They take you into some of the stallion barns and to the training center. You can visit Three Chimneys and Ashford just by calling them . They are very welcoming. Kesmarc is the rehabilitation center with the swimming pool and hyperbaric chamber if you are interested in such things.
    Touchstone Farm. Visit us at the slideshow of our Dutch mares and foals below! 30 mnutes of photos.


    • #3
      We just toured Three Chimneys this past weekend. We'd been there before, but this tour was especially thrilling because they presented all of the stallions (except Sky Mesa) in the main barn to us - Big Brown, War Chant, Lewis Michael, Smarty Jones, and Point Given. Big Brown had no mares booked for the upcoming breeding session, so we were able to watch him rip in his paddock, afterwards.

      The big surprise was that we were also permitted to watch Good Reward breed a mare in the "shed" and then watched Exchange Rate come up to breed a mare as well.

      But here's the rub - you probably won't be able to schedule a tour at this point during the Keeneland meet. I booked months in advance. But it's sure worth a try!


      • #4
        We arranged much of our tour with Nancy Hapgood of UnBridled Horse Tours and were very pleased. (Worth noting we did book at least a month in advance as I recall.) Their tours are customized; you tell them if you want to see breedings, visit equine hospitals or training centers, or somewhere in particular (it is tricky getting in to some farms during breeding season.) She got us in to Adena Springs (Ghostzapper! and El Prado!) & WinStar (Tiznow!), and drove us through a whole bunch more like Hill 'n' Dale and Darby Dan where we got to visit the graves of Seattle Slew & Ribot, respectively. We were also able to get some hands-on petting time with mares & foals at Audubon Farm.

        Three Chimneys does their own tours. They are worth the visit, but I did not appreciate the frosty tour guide. At. All.

        On our own, we did Old Friends, morning works at Keeneland, the Horse Park, as well as a private tour of Margaux Farm (Cryptoclearance, Devil His Due, Kela) which we had arranged in advance (we were sure to tip the stallion manager at the end of the visit for showing us such hospitality.)


        • #5
          I vote for Ashford as it is SO gorgeous, and Claiborne as it is so historic.
          We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for the replies! Indeed it is short notice and I suspect that getting on a tour this late in the game during the meet would be tough. However its worth a shot. Since some locations can be visited without the need for an organized tour they might be more flexible when I call.

            Is Calumet Farm a location that can be visited? Everyone seems to have a drive-by as part of their deal but since they are a quasi active farm (training, boarding, etc) again I'd assume there is less interest in having tourists roaming around


            • #7
              I had a friend in town last weekend on short notice. Three Chimneys was booked, and Ashford said that they did not do tours on Saturday. However, we were able to get a LOVELY tour of the stallion complex at Darley. Two gentlemen in the Darley Flying Start program gave the tour and they were fantastic! There were a total of 4 people on the tour, and we got to walk around to see all of the stallions who were turned out at the time. Give them a call!
              *Absolut Equestrian*

              "The plural of anecdote is not fact...except in the horse industry"


              • #8
                I have been to several farms over the years...The one I loved the most was Taylor Made. It is a private tour not a group. The girl that gave us the tour took about 1 1/2 hours with us. I got to see ALL the stallions, Forestry, one of my favorites and I got to meet Round Pond and Fleet Indian. They were both there on Lay-ups...The most historic, Claiborne by far the most beautiful, well that's tough...Gainesway is gorgeous Three Chimmney is nice Adena Springs is supposed to nice but hard to get into..
                If can peer into Calumet that is the only way to see it but if you fly into Blue Grass airport you go right over it and you can at least see the grounds....It has not been open to the public in quite some time the rumor is they may open during WEG in 2010
                Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"


                • #9
                  I have been to both Three Chimney's and Ashford...both were lovely and gave great tours. Like someone else said, Three Chimney's will let you watch the breeding if they have one scheduled after a tour.

                  *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*


                  • #10
                    Two years ago, during Rolex, we took a tour organized by the KHP. We visited two farms (one with Irish connections - can't remember the name at all) and Winstar (saw Tiznow in action). We stopped at Keeneland to watch a race too. We loved it and had a great guide in the van and very nice guides at the farms.
                    It was too late (two months ahead of time) to book Three Chimneys. The drive through the countryside was wonderful too.


                    • #11
                      I have been to 3 Chimneys (my favorite), Gainesway (I have watched them breed mareas there several times) , Gainsborough (now another Darley Farm), Calumet, Walmac, Fawn Leap, Lanes End, Brookside (no longer that name), Ashford, Vinery, Two Bucks (they bred Monarchos) and others...I highly recommend you seeing 3 Chimneys and Gainesway. Very nice people though all the folks in that area are!


                      • #12
                        What can also be very special is that if you own a horse that was bred at one of these farms they respond really well to that also. I was at Gainesway and noticed that they had my horse's grandpa, Blushing Groom there for a while and when I asked the stallion manager, Marion, about him a whole new world opened up for us...Also, when at Taylor Made, now my horse was bred there so his Daddy, Candy Stripes, was there for a short time also made for a fabulous tour for us.....Gotta love those farms!!!!
                        Coolemore has a nice place also....heehee!
                        Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
                        Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
                        "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"


                        • #13
                          Let me know if you can't get into certain farms and I'll see what I can do. I used to work at a few of the farms and have friends at others. You can call most of them direct to get appointments. Just be on time, and remember to tip the person giving you the tour.

                          Not sure if you know Laurie B, she'd be a good source.


                          • #14
                            Gainesway, Claiborne, Airdrie, Castleton Lyons, Shadwell, Stonewall Stallions and Ashford were my favorites. The barns at Gainesway are just lovely. Can't beat the history at Claiborne, and the folks at Aidrie were just so generous with their time. Castleton Lyons is a magnificant farm. Shadwell is newer, and the people are very, very nice. Stonewall is also new, the managers are terrific, and Marquetry LOVES peppermints!

                            Remember to tip your guide! $20 for a small group is a good amount.
                            Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


                            • #15
                              Yes! You are right...

                              [QUOTE=ivy62;4006898]What can also be very special is that if you own a horse that was bred at one of these farms they respond really well to that also. I was at Gainesway and noticed that they had my horse's grandpa, Blushing Groom there for a while and when I asked the stallion manager, Marion, about him a whole new world opened up for us...Also, when at Taylor Made, now my horse was bred there so his Daddy, Candy Stripes, was there for a short time also made for a fabulous tour for us.....Gotta love those farms!!!!

                              Very true - - - I have an Appalachee gelding that I bought in KY. Appalachee stood at Gainesway years ago, and when I was last at the farm, in 2006, I discussed both the one that I have and that stallion with Marion Gross, the Stallion Manager. Sadly, Marion passed away a few weeks ago. Not to go off topic, but he was one in a million and really took the time to spend with me and other visitors.


                              • #16
                                I am going to KY in August...when should I book my farm tours? Is it too soon, or not soon enough? Thanks!
                                In loving memory of Chutney (1977 - 2008)