Man O’ War proudly stands watch while Secretariat briskly trots, both permanent bronze fixtures on the grounds of Kentucky Horse Park. Established in 1978 and located in Lexington, Kentucky, the park was created with the intention of dedicating it to “man’s relationship with the horse.” Spanning just over twelve hundred acres, the massive equestrian facility boasts of numerous park sculptures such as the one mentioned above, the final resting place for a few famous horses, the Rolex Stadium, Alltech Arena, and the National Horse Center.
In an effort to depict history as it happened and to simply capture the majesty of the horse, several bronze statues are dotted around the facility that showcases horses in their splendor and their invaluable contributions to the world of humans. In the midst of the Kentucky Horse Park, Sergeant Reckless can be found trudging uphill under a load of ammunition. The beloved warhorse endured 35 miles under enemy fire to transport ammunition to the front lines and wounded soldiers off the battlefield. Among other sculptures, the famous racehorse Cigar can also be seen as he is “flying” into the final stretch. Cigar was inducted into the National Museum of Racing in August of 2002 and lived out his retirement as a resident at the park until his death at the age of 24.
To further commemorate famous horses, specifically those that dominated the racetrack and other equine sports, Kentucky Horse Park has built the Hall of Champions. This exhibit is made possible by the famous equine residents of the park itself as visitors are able to walk through the barn and see these amazing horses first hand. Some of the horses in the hall include Thoroughbred racer Funny Cide and American Quarter horse Be A Bono. Extending along the path outside of the barn and pavilion is the Memorial Walk of Champions that allows tourists to observe the final resting place of more champion horses such as Bold Forbes and Forego. The Hall of Champions exhibit is only open for seven months out of the year.
There are hundreds of horse breeds around the world, several of which are not native to the United States. At the park, however, the Parade of Breeds Show gives a glimpse into the world that is unique to a particular horse breed from an entirely different country. The Akhal-Teke breed originated in central Asia but the show brings to life the cultural tradition surrounding the breed right here in America. Other breeds from around the world that can be found at the park include the Paso Fino, the Lipizzaner, the Gypsy Vanner, and the Fell Pony.
Because the massive park covers over twelve hundred acres, there are many more attractions besides the ones mentioned above that tourists can enjoy. In addition to museums and live shows, visitors can also experience horseback trail riding and even watch a 12-minute film that beautifully features the history of the horse. Kentucky Horse Park is a sight to behold and will live on to inspire more people as it continues to be dedicated to “man’s relationship with the horse.”