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The Kentucky Horse Park Mustang Troop, in existence for nearly 30 years, serves at-risk youth from the Central Kentucky community by inviting them to a summer horse camp experience held at the beautiful Kentucky Horse Park. The horse camp, offered completely free of charge, includes riding lessons and personal development activities, daily transportation, lunch and snacks, riding apparel, and mementos to take home. 

Mustang Troop participants are each paired with a partner and a horse, and they are given access to quality riding instruction and equine education and care, while building their own sense of self-esteem and personal responsibility. The KHPF and Kentucky Horse Park make every effort to nurture and continue the relationships formed during the summer camp experience.  Mustang Troop participants are invited to attend holiday events throughout the year with their families, including Hats Off Day, Southern Lights Holiday Festival, and Halloween Camp-Outs.


The Mustang Troop seeks to give participants the opportunity to build lifelong coping skills, develop self-confidence, set boundaries, and balance teamwork and independence through the channels of horsemanship and riding.

The Mustang Troop also seeks to expose individuals to opportunities in the horse industry that they would otherwise not have been aware of.  For many participants, their involvement in Mustang Troop represents not only their first visit to the Kentucky Horse Park, but also their first time being near in a horse.  


The Kentucky Horse Park Mustang Troop program will return this summer with a new partner, CHI Saint Joseph Health’s Creating Safer Neighborhoods Initiative. This collaboration will allow the program to reach more youth in need from across Fayette County.

The Creating Safer Neighborhoods Initiative, the health care system's youth violence prevention program in Lexington, encourages youth and community members to establish an intolerance for violence, creating a safer and healthier Lexington community. The program is supported through a grant from the CommonSpirit Health Mission and Ministry Fund. CHI Saint Joseph Health is part of CommonSpirit Health, which has hospitals and care sites in 21 states.

This summer, members of the Police Activities League will assist the Creating Safer Neighborhoods Initiative to serve as mentors for the youth. In addition, the Mustang Troop will engage the services of a mental health professional who is trained in therapeutic riding.

The Mustang Troop is funded through the support of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation and relies solely on private donations.

For more information about the Kentucky Horse Park Mustang Troop, please contact Program Director Mindy Welch at [email protected].  If you are interested in supporting the Mustang Troop financially, please contact Elizabeth Bartlett at the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation at [email protected].