Seven things you didn't know about the Kentucky Horse Park
Written by Kathy WItt
The International Museum of the Horse. Parade of Breeds Show. Hall of Champions. The Kentucky Horse Park is famous for many things, all in celebration of the history of the relationship between human and horse. But there are a number of things that remain under the radar at this 1,224-acre landmark attraction, a combination working horse farm, educational theme park and international equestrian competition venue.
Here are seven that may have slipped your notice:
- You can go horseback riding at Kentucky Horse Park. It’s true. Guests ages seven and up can saddle up for 35-minute trail rides through the Park’s famous paddocks and little cowpokes can take a few laps on a pony. Visitors can combine exploring Park attractions with a horseback ride or reserve a horseback ride only. Details here.
- The greatest American jockey of all time, Isaac Burns Murphy, is buried at KHP. Murphy was the first jockey to win three
Kentucky Derbys and the first jockey elected to the Hall of Fame. You can visit his gravesite and then learn more about the man who set a standard no other jockey has ever met at the “Black Horsemen of the Kentucky Turf” exhibit in the International Museum of the Horse, a Smithsonian Affiliate.
- KPH has an original 1931 one-and-a-half-ton REO Speedwagon that was originally used as a horse transport vehicle. Wait– wasn’t that a band? Was (and is). The band formed in
the 1970s, taking its name from a 1915 truck designed by automotive designing pioneer Ransom Eli Olds. But back to the truck . . . It is one of only three left in existence in the world, and the only one from 1931 still in existence of this model chassis. According to Marketing Director Kerry Howe, Kentucky Horse Park is trying to find someone to help restore it to its original glory and welcomes any recommendations.
- You can see one of the nation’s largest wooden structures here: The Big Barn is 463 feet in length and 74 feet in width. It is home to KHP’s largest horses, including Clydesdales, Percherons, Belgians, an English Shire and a Sufflk Punch. Details here.
- With four Buffalo Soldiers buried at Georgetown’s New Zion Cemetery, KHP offers an opportunity learn more about the first peacetime all-Black regiments in the U.S. Army at the “Buffalo Soldiers of the Western Frontier” exhibitin the International Museum of the Horse. Watch a video narrating the origin of the Buffalo Soldiers and check out photographs of nationally significant members of the regiments. Read more in this related ChatSnap article, “Mystery unearthed: The Buffalo Soldiers of Georgetown.” [hyperlink]
- The Kentucky Horse Park is home to 30 different equine organizations and businesses that make up the National Horse Center. This includes the United States Equestrian Federation, which is the National Governing Body of equestrian sport in the United States; Central Kentucky Riding for Hope; Kentucky Horse Council; Carriage Museum of America; American Academy of Equine Art; Kentucky Horse Racing Commission; a number of breed associations and others. In other words, it is one busy
- The Kentucky Horse Park came into existence in 1978, but horses have galloped across this land for more than 200 years. History connects it to Patrick “Give me liberty, or give me death!” Henry and Daniel Boone, the first farm in Kentucky to establish a greenhouse and a horse breeder who built the circa 1860s residence now used for KHP offices. Read more about the Park’s illustrious timeline here.
For more information about the Kentucky Horse Park, visit www.kyhorsepark.com. To see changes that have taken place at the Park in light of the pandemic, click www.kyhorsepark.com/visit-khp/park-reopening.