Following are some of the more frequently asked questions concerning the Kentucky Horse Park. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact us and we will be glad to help you.
The park does not have a boarding facility for pets. Domestic pets are allowed to accompany their owners on the park grounds as long as they are on a leash or confined to an approved kennel. If carried, or confined to a wheeled kennel, pets are allowed to go into the gift shop, but they may not enter the restaurants or the Alltech Arena. Outdoor seating, however, is available at the restaurants and is pet-friendly. Pets are allowed in the museum lobby but not in the museum exhibits, so visitors will need to take turns staying with their pets outside of these areas. Pets are not allowed to be left unattended in vehicles, roam without a leash, or tied-out on the grounds.
The great Man o' War, the most famous Thoroughbred race horse of the 20th century, is buried at the park in a memorial with a statue dedicated to his life. Buried with him are some of his offspring, including Triple Crown winner War Admiral, who was upset by Seabiscuit in their famous match race in 1938. Other famous horses buried at the park can be found at the park's Hall of Champions and include: Thoroughbreds Forego, Bold Forbes, John Henry, Alysheba and Kona Gold; Standardbreds Rambling Willie and Cam Fella; Saddlebred show horses CH Imperator, CH Sky Watch and CH Gypsy Supreme; and, Quarter Horse racehorses Sgt. Pepper Feature and Tailor Fit. The great European race mare Allez France is also buried at the park, as is the European Steeplechaser, Jay Trump. A complete listing of all horses buried at the park can be found under Park Memorials.
The High Hope Steeplechase, a National Steeplechase Association certified event, is held the third Sunday in May each year. The event features four steeplechase races and one amateur-sanctioned flat race, another amateur flat race supported by local horse farms, and a fun race called the "Lexington Derby" which entails horse and rider teams jumping an obstacle course.
Yes, the park is home to some 115 horses representing more than three dozen different breeds during our main summer season. Most of these horses are housed in barns throughout the main "tourist attraction" area of the park including the Hall of Champions, Horses of the World Barn, Kids Barn, Mounted Police Barn and Big Barn - home to our draft and carriage horses, as well as our riding concession. Literally thousands of additional horses ship in to the park to compete in horse shows throughout the year. We have fewer horses in the winter season since some horses, on loan from different owners across the United States and Canada, go home at the end of the summer season.
There are a number of opportunities where visitors will be invited by handlers to pet our horses, usually after the Horses of the World show or after a horse-drawn trolley ride, or during a trail or pony ride.
No visitor is allowed to drive through the main tourist attractions area of the park. Horse show participants are allowed access to the competition facilities on the back side of the park.
Traditionally, most owners bury only the head, the heart and the hooves of a horse, and have the rest of the horse cremated so that the ashes can be scattered over the farm. The head represents the horse's intelligence and personality; the heart represents the spirit or will to win; and, the hooves represent their speed or agility. Horses here at the Kentucky Horse Park are buried in their entirety.
The park covers 1,229 acres of Kentucky's famous Bluegrass. This land provides space for the park's tourist attractions, competition facilities, 260-site resort campground, and offices of more than 30 national and regional equine organizations and associations, as well as open farmland for pastures for our beloved horses.
Most guests find that it takes 3-5 hours to tour the park. Many factors can impact this estimation, however, including weather, time of year, and other events that may be occurring on the park grounds. Those who partake in the trail riding or horse farm tour attractions will need to allot extra time, as well.
As a real working horse farm and show facility, most of the park attractions are outside. The Visitor Information Center (with gift shop and movie theater), the International Museum of the Horse, the American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop, the Bit & Bridle Restaurant, and the Farmhouse Cafe are all indoor facilities with air-conditioning, sitting areas and restrooms.
The park hosted its first big event, the World Three-Day Championships, in September 1978, but the park officially opened to the public in November 1978.
The main tourist area of the park is situated just off the main parking lot and all of the visitor attractions are within walking distance of each other. While there are some hilly inclines, and turf terrain off of the sidewalk paths, there are no steps.
At the Kentucky Horse Park, our horses are our family, so their health and happiness is our utmost concern. If a horse reaches retirement age, or for any reason can no longer perform its normal duties, its original owner is contacted to initiate a return home. If the original owner is unable or unwilling to take back the horse, then the park finds a suitable adopted home. Most horses do not do well without a job, if only as a family pet and need one-on-one attention. Horses with special needs, making them unsuitable for normal adoptions, are often adopted by individuals who had cared for them at the park. In some cases, the best option is for the horse to remain on the park for the remainder of its life, many times performing a much less stressful job such as being petted and groomed in our Kids Barn.
True horse people don't let a little bit of rain stop them, and neither do we. Park activities and shows will take place as usual unless severe weather threatens. If we do experience, or expect to receive, severe weather, we will do everything we can to alter or move a show, or make other accommodations. If there has been recent bad weather that makes the riding trails hazardous, then our horseback rides may be temporarily suspended even if the weather is good on the day of your visit.
The Maker's Mark Secretariat Center is a Thoroughbred adoption facility that seeks to match at-risk Thoroughbred horses, off the race track, with adopters who will give them new homes and new possibilities. Their horses are sound, suitable for riding, and some are suitable for showing. Affiliated with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, the center houses approximately 10 horses on site, and can assist adopters in finding other available Thoroughbreds throughout the United States. The center is open to visitors Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, or weekends by appointment (call 859-246-3080). Visit www.thoroughbredadoption.com for more information and to view horses available for adoption in other states.
The Kentucky Horse Park Mounted Police are first responders to emergency first aid situations on park grounds. Visitors who need immediate medical attention should call 911 first, but may also call the on-duty officer (859-509-1450), or may contact the nearest park employee to request assistance for less serious or non-emergency situations.
The horses that live at the park come from a variety of sources. Many of the horses are on loan from their owners for a specific amount of time. The loan of horses by owners, breeders or associations allows the park to present a large variety of breeds and types of horses for our visitors to see. In some instances, horses may be donated to the park. Some horses are purchased by the park according to need, often through funding from generous donors.
The Kentucky Horse Park is owned by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and is one of many agencies within the state's Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. All state employees, there are approximately 77 full-time and 43 seasonal staff that work for the Kentucky Horse Park itself, and there are approximately 400 more people who work in the various offices of the National Horse Center, or as service providers on the grounds.