The Kentucky Horse Park is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with events for horse lovers from around the nation and the world as well as local residents.
Built in 1978, the Kentucky Horse Park was designed as the world’s first park dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse. The park sits on property that has been used to raise Thoroughbreds since the early 1800s.
The facilities now located on the park’s 1,224 acres are unrivaled in the United States and include 1,482 permanent stables in multiple barns, three competition/multiuse venues, a climate-controlled 5,500-seat indoor arena, a covered arena and a 7,338-seat outdoor stadium. There are 12 competition rings and 13 warmup rings.
The Horse Park hosts 200 equine events a year in addition to 60 non-equine events such as concerts, weddings and corporate events. The park has attracted visitors from all 50 U.S. states and 23 foreign countries. More than 40,000 overnight visitors stay at the park’s on-site campground each year.
In addition, the park is home to 30 national equine associations at its National Horse Center, including US Equestrian, the governing body of equestrian sport. Its International Museum of the Horse is a Smithsonian affiliate with 7,982 artifacts, 8,139 photographs and negatives, 4,878 archive collections and 4,201 volumes in its library.
A full-time staff of 77 run and maintain the park; dozens more work for the equine associations.
It all adds up to an economic impact of $131.4 million as estimated by a 2016 Certec report, with $13.5 million in tax revenue.
The Kentucky Horse Park began commemorating its 40th anniversary in the spring with a series of community events that will continue into the early fall. The events have included monthly Family Fun Nights and weekly Run/Walk Club gatherings that include food trucks, music and free yoga classes. July 21 saw the second annual Run For Big Red 5K/10K through the park’s grounds.
“We are proud of the Kentucky Horse Park’s rich history, and we are excited to host several Family Fun Nights and other community events this season to showcase our beautiful facilities,” said KHP Executive Director Laura Prewitt. “Our 40th anniversary is the perfect way to celebrate the park’s success, as well as its importance to visitors and competitors around the state, country and world.”
There is more information on these events and more at kyhorsepark.com.