Friday, January 27, 2017

Kentucky Horse Park

We got to visit the Kentucky Horse Park while in Lexington, and it was so much fun! I could have spent a whole day there instead of just the half day we had.

Our first stop was a the Breeds Barn for for a show of breeds. This was my favorite thing we did at the Horse Park, we got to see to see 6 different breeds and their riders were dressed in the period dress of what that particular breed is well known for.

First up, we saw a beautiful Lipizzan. This breed is born black or bay, then slowly turns grey because their skin is dark and their coat is white. Lipizzan is a breed of horse closely associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria, where they demonstrate the haute ├ęcole or "high school" movements of classical dressage, including the highly controlled, stylized jumps and other movements known as the "airs above the ground." The horses at the Spanish Riding School are trained using traditional methods that date back hundreds of years, based on the principles of classical dressage.

Next up was an Akhal-Teke, which is a horse breed from Turkmenistan, where they are a national emblem. They have a reputation for speed and endurance, intelligence, and a distinctive metallic sheen. The shiny coat of palominos and buckskins led to their nickname "Golden Horses". These horses are adapted to severe climatic conditions and are thought to be one of the oldest existing horse breeds. It's coat really looked metallic, it was hard to capture it in a picture but it was gorgeous.

Breed number three was an Arabian. Arabians are one of the oldest breeds, with archaeological evidence of horses in the Middle East that resemble modern Arabians dating back 4,500 years. The Arabian developed in a desert climate and was prized by the nomadic Bedouin people, often being brought inside the family tent for shelter and protection from theft. Selective breeding for traits including an ability to form a cooperative relationship with humans created a horse breed that is good-natured, quick to learn, and willing to please. The Arabian also developed the high spirit and alertness needed in a horse used for raiding and war. This combination of willingness and sensitivity requires modern Arabian horse owners to handle their horses with competence and respect.

Next was an adorable Fell Pony. The Fell pony is a versatile, working breed of mountain and moorland pony originating in the north of England in Cumberland and Westmorland (Cumbria) and Northumberland. It was originally bred on the fell farms of northwest England, and is used as a riding and driving pony. The Fell pony is noted for hardiness, agility, strength and sure-footedness.

Number five was one of my favorites, a Marwari. The Marwari or Malani is a rare breed of horse from the Marwar (or Jodhpur) region of India. Known for its inward-turning ear tips, it comes in all equine colours, although pinto patterns tend to be the most popular with buyers and breeders. It is known for its hardiness, and is quite similar to the Kathiawari, another Indian breed from the Kathiawar region southwest of Marwar. Many breed members exhibit a natural ambling gait. The Marwari are descended from native Indian ponies crossed with Arabian horses, possibly with some Mongolian influence.

They saved the Destrier horse for last to end with a big finish! The destrier is the best-known war horse of the medieval era. It carried knights in battles, tournaments, and jousts. It was described by contemporary sources as the Great Horse, due to its significance.

After the show we had the opportunity to walk around the arena and meet and pet each of the horses.  They were all super sweet horses, it was fun to see all their unique characteristics up close.

Next we wanted to catch a showing at the Hall of Champions, we passed this little guy on our way there and he was so friendly, I wanted to stay and hang out with him but we were on a pretty tight schedule.

The Hall of Champions is where guests get to meet retired race horses. We met 4 famous horses, they would play clips from races where the horses won then introduce us to the horse. It was a really fun presentation!
These are the horses we got to meet.

We crossed paths with this adorable bundle of fluff a few times during our visit at the park. We happened to be sitting across from him during this presentation, it was hilarious to watch him throughout the force, some of the time he was super interested and wanted to interact with the horses and other times he was bored out of his mind.

This was another furry audience member I liked to watch during the show, he was so adorables.

Unfortunately we didn't have time to visit the International Museum of the Horse, we heard it's amazing, we will just have to go back!

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