May 16, 2012
Lexington, KY- Calling all pony lovers, it’s your time to shine in the latest exhibit at the Wheeler Museum, located in the USHJA Headquarters at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The exhibit, Ponies Through the Decades pays homage to a vital part of both the sport of horse showing itself, and the people and ponies throughout history, who have influenced us all.
A special opening reception hosted by USHJA was held on May 15th and officially debuted memorabilia from some of history’s most revered pony athletes such as, Midget, a 12.3 hand grey mare owned by Nancy Baroody. This pair is one of the most successful teams on record, having won the American Horse Show Association’s (now USEF) most coveted Horse of the Year Award four consecutive years- 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969, and during this era were the highest scoring junior horse or pony in the history of the AHSA awards. Nancy has donated much of Midget’s legacy to the exhibit and shared her insight on the exhibit, “I’m so happy that I can share her legacy with everyone, because from an educational and a historical standpoint this era really was the beginning of the sport with the ponies and it [the exhibit] really shows people how the sport began with these ponies. The attire and the kind of appointments we used. I’m hoping people can see the perspective of it all-where we’ve come from and where we are today.”.
Ponies Through the Decades presents the pictures, ribbons, coolers, and trophies that these special and often famous ponies have been awarded. Among these treasures guests will learn about Gremlin’s Delight, the little mare that Marguerite Taylor-Jones purchased from Farnely Farm for the then three year-old daughter Marianne. Gremlin would become a champion at events nationwide and in 1961, partnered with Sally Todd produce a perfect score over fences to take the win at the International Pony Team competition held on the grounds of Windsor Castle in England. Gremlin went on to become the foundation broodmare for the highly respected Taylor Made Ponies breeding program. Many of the mare’s prodigies, such as Dresden and Swan Song inherited her championship qualities and continue to be celebrated among the greatest equine athletes. Throughout this exhibit are mementos capturing the Taylor Made Ponies glorious history and influence in our sport.
“Working with the Wheeler Museum Committee to put together the Ponies Through the Decades exhibit really made me understand the importance of our museum in preserving and keeping alive the history of our sport. In the process of putting this exhibit together we built connections with so many individuals who are passionate about our sport and were so excited to have the opportunity to share their memories of special ponies with us, tell us how the Taylor Made line of ponies came about, remind us of the days when ponies and horses competed head to head at the National Horse Show, share their experiences traveling as a team member to represent the US at the International Pony Hunter Competitions and so much more. We have a responsibility and opportunity with the Wheeler Museum to make sure that those new to our sport are aware of its history and I feel that this exhibit has propelled us forward toward achieving that goal.” Shelby French, CEO USHJA said.
The pony loving public is invited to visit and learn how many of our most accomplished riders today started out as pony riders, and take a look at how history has evolved with regard to ponies and their special place in our sport. Grandparents and parents alike, who are horsemen and horsewomen themselves, can both reminisce and share memories. Spectacular sterling silver goblets, gorgeous ribbon displays, specially created Breyer® horses, wardrobe items, and exquisite retired trophies from such prestigious shows as Devon, will be just a few of the items on display. The exhibit opened May 15th at the Wheeler Museum and will continue until September 23rd.
For more information on the Ponies Through the Decades exhibit please contact Shelby French at
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 6, 2012) - The Kentucky Horse Park will welcome 900 first-graders to the park April 10 at 10:15 a.m. to watch a re-enactment of the famous 1938 Seabiscuit - War Admiral match race in the Pimlico Special. Live Thoroughbreds, period costumes, music from the era, antique cars, and real jockeys - including Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron - will add to the experience. The event will be the highlight of a reading program created by the Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program. The students have been participating in the program since earlier this year when a live horse from the Kentucky Horse Park delivered Seabiscuit books to area schools. When the students received their books, they also got to try on real jockey silks and goggles, put their heads through photo boards and pretended to be jockeys on the home stretch.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 23, 2012) - The Kentucky Horse Park will welcome 4,800 fourth-graders to the Alltech Arena on March 29 to watch an original, live equine show, written and choreographed exclusively for them. The show is a highlight of a reading program created by the Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program, which the students have been participating in since last year.
Today, March 21, is Worldwide Equine Rescuers Recognition Day, so we're asking all of our friends to do something nice for an organization that assists horses, donkeys, mules, burros or ponies.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 | 6:00 - 8:00 PM
LEXINGTON, KY – The Headley-Whitney Museum announces Art After Hours at the International Museum of the Horse on March 21, 2012 from 6:00-8:00 pm. Join students, young professionals and the young at heart as they get an opportunity to explore the unique exhibits presented at the International Museum of the Horse. During this event, participants will be guided through several exhibits as they get the inside scoop while handling many of the Museum’s objects. The Museum is located inside the Kentucky Horse Park at 4089 Iron Works Parkway Lexington, KY 40511. Cash bar from 6:00- 7:00 pm and catering provided by DaRae & Friends Catering. For more information on the International Museum of the Horse please visit their website at www.imh.org/ or call 859-259-4237.
LEXINGTON, Ky, USA/Imphal, Manipur, India (January 20, 2012) The Secretariat of His Excellency Gurbachan Jagat, the Governor of Manipur, and the International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, are pleased to announce that a unique gift of traditional Manipuri Polo (Sagol Kangjei) gear has been donated by His Excellency to the museum on behalf of the people of Manipur. The donation was arranged by Dr. R.K.Nimai Singh, Secretary to the Governor and L. Somi Roy, a film and media arts curator, of New York.The gifts were designed and fabricated by Meisnam Khelen of Khurai Thongam Leikai, former captain of the Manipur Polo team following the most authentic process and materials. They include the traditional Manipuri wooden saddle, braided bridle, braided leather whip, a full set of traditional polo player's attire, two traditional polo mallets and a ball. Mr. Roy made an additional gift of traditional Manipuri darts (arambai) with peacock feathers, also made by Mr. Khelen.The Governor of Manipur is pleased that he was able to donate the items on behalf of the people of Manipur. Even though Manipur is the origin of modern polo, most people do not know this and he expressed that this small gift will at least provide a window to the glorious polo tradition of Manipur to the outside world. He expressed his gratitude to the museum for accepting the gifts for display."We are extremely grateful to the governor and the people of Manipur not only for the significant donation of ethnographic materials related to the Manipuri Pony* and polo in Manipur, but also for allowing us to do our small part to raise awareness of these historically significant animals and the current threat of their extinction," said Bill Cooke, Director of the International Museum of the Horse.The gifts will be displayed in the museum's permanent exhibit called "The Horse in Sport." An exploration of the contemporary uses of horse in recreational activities, the exhibit features sections devoted to rodeo, polo, Thoroughbred racing, Standardbred racing and more. The exhibit was renovated in the summer of 2010 and now features a major section devoted to eight disciplines of the World Equestrian Games, which the Kentucky Horse Park hosted in 2010. Manipuri sagol kangjei will be featured alongside English polo, tracing the origins and history of modern polo. Expected to open to the public in the Spring of 2012, the exhibition panel will display Manipuri sagol kangjei and English polo in traditional attire as well as video and photographic displays. In addition, the museum will add the Manipuri Pony, or the Meitei Sagol, to its online exhibit "Horse Breeds of the World" and will highlight the breed's special characteristics, its importance in the region and culture of Manipur and its present endangered condition.The governor's Secretariat and the International Museum of the Horse are pleased to acknowledge the contributions to this addition to the museum by Dr. Evelyn Knight, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Health Behaviour, University of Kentucky College of Public Health; Becky Ryder, Director of the Keeneland Library at the Keeneland Association Race Course in Lexington; Mary Molinaro, Associate Dean for Library Technologies at University of Kentucky Libraries; and Rachel Roberts, Digitisation Studio Manager at the British Library in London.For more information and additional press materials, please contact Cindy Rullman,
*For more information on the Manipuri Pony click on http://tinyurl.com/6rb2bp2.
LEXINGTON, Ky (Dec. 15, 2011) - The Kentucky Horse Park is proud to announce its expanded Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program (KHPLP), which combines horse-themed books and experiences with live horses to inspire a life-long love of horses and reading.
Formerly known as the Black Stallion Literacy Project, the program has already distributed in excess of 15,000 books to more than 10,000 first- and fourth- grade children in its first two years. Now operating as the Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program, it will expand to other grades to broaden literacy and the love of horses to a greater number of schools in more counties.
This year, the program has already introduced "War Horse" by Michael Morpurgo, prior to the opening of the film based on the book. The program also will include Meghan McCarthy's "Seabiscuit, the Wonder Horse" for younger children. "We love children. We love horses. And in Kentucky we need them both to succeed, so we are delighted to be able to expand our Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program which will allow us to reach out to far more children across the Commonwealth," said Mollie Jameson, volunteer chair for KHPLP.
"Literacy and horses are each vital to Kentucky's future," said Kentucky Horse Park Executive Director John Nicholson. "In our Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program, not only do children develop a love of reading, but we also hope that they will begin to appreciate the tremendous gift that they have inherited as heirs of the Horse Capital of the World.
"We are especially pleased to include 'War Horse' this year. It's a wonderful tale of honor, courage, nobility, duty and sacrifice on the parts of both the people and the horses in the story. And with Steven Spielberg's movie - based on the book - coming out soon, we know that the books will be a big hit with school-age readers."
Books for first graders will be delivered to participating schools by one of the Kentucky Horse Park's resident horses in February and March. Once the children have each taken a turn meeting the horse in person, each is given "Seabiscuit the Wonder Horse" by Meghan McCarthy, to read and keep. After reading the book, most classes will visit the Kentucky Horse Park on April 10. They will watch a live reenactment of the famous Seabiscuit/War Admiral match race, including music, live horses, real jockeys, period costumes, antique cars, award ceremony and paddock scene. They will also be invited to visit the gravesite of the real War Admiral, who is buried at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Fourth-grade students in Fayette, Woodford, Bourbon, Grant, Scott, Clark and Madison counties have already received 4,500 copies of Michael Morpurgo's "War Horse" book. On March 29 in the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, these fourth-graders will enjoy a live equine production. They will also have the option of touring the blockbuster exhibition, "The Horse," in the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate, at a special discounted school rate.
The KHPLP has already reached out to share the love of reading and horses to children at the UKHealthCare Kentucky Children's Hospital. Also, 2120 books recently were delivered to seven elementary schools in Clay County, where every child in kindergarten to sixth grade received an age-appropriate book published by Scholastic. Toys for Tots received 600 books written by Walter Farley for its Christmas drive in Scott County, and the Blue Grass Farms Charities received 60 books to distribute to children of local horse farm workers.
The Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program is funded entirely through private donations and led by a dedicated group of community volunteers. The program's 2011-2012 sponsors include: Kentucky Bank, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, UKHealthCare Kentucky Children's Hospital, Kentucky Thoroughbred Association, PNC Bank, The Little Foundation, Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, and other generous donors.
For more information contact Mollie Jameson, 859-509-1915 or email
Editor's Note: Watch a short video overview of the program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2fGTmyBLq0&;feature=youtu.be
Cigar, who was named "Horse of the Decade," is a resident of our Hall of Champions. He earned nearly $10 million on the racetrack and is ranked as the 18th greatest racehorse of the 20th century.
Find out what's been happening at the Maker's Mark Secretariat Center this fall!
LEXINGTON, KY (September 29, 2011) The Kentucky Horse Park will welcome four rare Marwari horses on permanent loan from Francesca Kelly, who imports this breed from India. Three of the horses arrived Tuesday, September 27.The horses came from Kelly's farm on Chappaquiddick Island off the coast of Massachusetts. Francesca Kelly is a writer who is dedicated to preserving the breed and has increased the number of these horses outside their native India. She is moving her herd to England and is allowing the park to keep three mares and a yearling. The Kentucky Horse Park is the only known location in North America where Marwari can be seen by the public. John Nicholson, executive director of the park, stated, "We are delighted and honored that Francesca Kelly has chosen the Kentucky Horse Park as the keeper of the last, precious band of these rare equines on this continent. They will be treasured by our staff and enjoyed by the literally millions of park visitors who will see them in the upcoming years." He continued, "We applaud the efforts of people like Ms. Kelly who dedicate their lives to preserving rare and endangered breeds." The Marwari horse was used hundreds of years ago as warhorses known for their extreme endurance. The Marwari are considered very brave and athletic horses. They are attentive and pick things up quickly through their senses. Visitors at the park during last year's Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games watched "tent pegging" demonstrations using some of Ms. Kelly's Marwari. The most noted fact about this breed is their extremely distinct ears. The ears curve inward and sometimes touch or overlap when in front position. The ears are the main characteristic that the registry uses to judge this breed.
The breed is available in all colors but the albino is held in highest regard. The albino Marwari is often used for religious purposes and ceremonies in its native home of India. They often become very attached to their handler and can become protective of them.
The three Marwari mares are on view to the public during park hours. The fourth, a yearling colt, will arrive later this fall.
Photos by James Shambhu.