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The four-legged wonders are pretty popular around here.
Welcome to the land of the horse. The rumors are true, if you stood anywhere in Kentucky and spun around, you’re more than likely to see a real horse, or one our state’s many things named after or devoted to a horse. It’s in the DNA of Kentucky.
A small anecdote from me is that when I first moved to Kentucky three years ago and had no understanding of horses, I watched a horse lie down and thought it died in front of me. This tragedy merely two days into my new homeland festered in my brain and prompted me to ask social media if horses “lie down.” Not only did I find out that they do, in fact, rest like any other living being, I also had to laugh at myself in the process.
Welcome to horse country. The horses really are beautiful.
New to the area. You come from a state without the luxury of freely roaming horses and picture-perfect fence rows, and you really want to pet one of their velvety noses.
Lucky for you, you’re in horse country! I heard the queen herself loved it here. Lexington is the center of the Thoroughbred horse industry and is called the ‘Horse Capital of the World.’ Asbury even has a nationally renowned equine program, and is the only university program for police mount training. Kentucky encompasses more than 450 horse farms, and you can book tours to visit some of the most popular farms like the world-famous Lane’s End, Taylor Made, WinStar, or Claiborne Farm.
The Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) in Lexington is a staple attraction in the area and opened as the only park dedicated to the relationship between man and horses. There, you can participate in horseback riding, or meet famous race winners. More than a decade ago, the KHP became the home for the largest event held in the state, the FEI World Equestrian Games, which hosts more than 500,000 spectators to watch worldwide competitors and is always bustling with activities.
The “most exciting two minutes in sports,” The Kentucky Derby, takes place in early May in Louisville’s Churchill Downs. I remember sitting at a graduation party in a hotel restaurant while the Kentucky Derby was on, again unaware of the ways of Kentucky horse fans. People stood on tables while screaming at the televisions. I asked my friend what was happening, to which she casually replied, The Kentucky Derby. Go to a public place in Kentucky where sports are being streamed at least once during the event, the ambience will not disappoint.
Keeneland is also a moderate distance from campus and holds races every April and October. Tickets are pretty cheap, so the race days make great weekend outings or just a chance to spy the beautiful horses and enjoy the lovely spring or fall weather with an excuse to dress up. The grounds are free to enter and open almost all the time to the public.
If you haven’t gotten your fill of horses yet, don’t worry. There are year-round tours, races, riding, and other opportunities to experience these majestic animals. Or, just drive out to Asbury’s very own Equine facility and ask Harold which horses you can pet.