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Visiting Kentucky Horse Park

Updated on October 20, 2011
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Donna Campbell Smith is an author, freelance writer, and photographer. She has an AAS degree in equine tech and is a certified instructor.

Vacation Destination in Kentucky

Kentucky Horse Park, a tribute to our equine helpmate, and a center for some of the world’s most prestigious horse events is located near Lexington, Kentucky. Tucked away in the bluegrass country, the ideal horse environment, it covers over 1000 acres and offers entertainment and knowledge for horse enthusiasts of every age and level of expertise. It is the perfect destination for the tourist who loves horses.

Carriage Rides are a Nice Break from Walking (copyright Donna Campbell Smith)
Carriage Rides are a Nice Break from Walking (copyright Donna Campbell Smith)

I visited the park over twenty years ago and it is one of my most unforgettable experiences. My husband and I camped for three days near the park and over the three-day visit we explored the Museum of the Horse, The American Saddlebred Museum, the many barns that house some of the approximately 115 horses that represent over fifty breeds from miniatures to draft horses. I am fairly certain we walked every path and byway of the 1000 acres.

We entered the park through a gate situated behind the monument and grave of the famous racehorse, Man of War. The museum was our first destination. Here the history of the horse is traced from its prehistoric ancestors to present day. It is the most marvelous museum I have ever visited. One whole room is devoted to spurs and bits from ancient to modern, another huge area has examples of various horse-drawn vehicles. The museum houses everything horse related you can imagine and then some more. We spend a good part of the day exploring the museum’s exhibits which included every conceivable thing about the horse.

After walking ourselves to exhaustion we took advantage of some sit-down time watching the Parade of Breeds. Riders showed off various breeds of horses as a narrator read a profile describing the breeds’ characteristics and history.

Among some of the activities that stick in my memory are draft horse farming demonstrations, carriage rides, the Hall of Champions, touring the working barns, and watching part of the National Pony Club Horse Show. The park offers restaurants, campgrounds, the museums, horse competition facilities, pasture and barns for the horses, over thirty offices of equine organizations and associations, and even bridle trails.

To learn more about Kentucky Horse Park visit their website.

Al-Marah Arabian Horse Galleries

One new addition to the International Museum of the Horse is the Al-Marah Arabian Horse Galleries. The building houses art and artifacts and interactive exhibits that celebrate the history of the Arabians history throughout time. The museum opened in 2010 as a permanent addition to the Kentucky Horse Park.

Nearby Attraction

Fort Boonesborough State Park, Kentucky's second settlement, was established by Daniel Boone April 1, 1775.

We camped at this park during our visit twenty years ago. We toured the reconstructed fort complete with cabins, blockhouses and furnishings and watched resident artisans perform pioneer craft demonstrations. The Kentucky River Museum is a more recent addition to the park. It shows life on the river operating the lock system and how the river was the center of transportation and commerce until the early 1900s

The campground was well maintained and inexpensive. Today there are 167 sites with electric and water hookups. My best memory of the park was the skunk burrow next to our campsite. We watched the resident skunk come out every night and waddle over to the adjacent picnic grounds. There he or she cleaned up crumbs left by day visitors.


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