FRANKFORT, KY. – As the 2012 Olympic Games in London close, Gov. Beshear today recognized the Kentucky Horse Park as an elite international equestrian facility for consistently hosting world-class and Olympic-caliber athletes. The Horse Park is also a significant economic contributor to the Commonwealth, with an estimated economic impact of approximately $180 million each year. “The Kentucky Horse Park is the only place in our state — and one of the few places in the world - where visitors can see world-class equestrian competitions on a regular basis,” said Gov. Beshear. “We are not only the Horse Capital of the World, but Kentucky is also one of the premier homes for high-level equestrian sports. I encourage Kentuckians and visitors to attend one of the many top-rated shows held at the Kentucky Horse Park and witness elite competition firsthand.”
More than 115 athletes who participated in equestrian events in the 2012 Olympics have competed at the Kentucky Horse Park. Seventeen of those athletes earned a medal in the London Olympics.
Athletes frequently travel from Australia, France, Great Britain and many other countries to the Lexington facility to contend for top honors in equestrian sports such as dressage, jumping and eventing.
The Horse Park also hosted the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which marked the first time the elite competition was held outside of Europe. That event placed Kentucky in the international spotlight and generated more than $200 million in economic impact, and also built on the park’s international reputation as a signature event site. The new facilities added to the Horse Park for WEG continue to attract competitors and tourists to Kentucky from across the country and around the world.
"We appreciate the continued support from the Governor and First Lady. We are exceedingly proud of our facility and the competitions that bring in visitors and athletes from around the globe,” said John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “The Kentucky Horse Park is clearly one of the leading equestrian competition facilities not just in North America, but anywhere in the world. We expect the tremendous growth of the sport horse industry in Kentucky will accelerate in the years ahead."
The Kentucky Horse Park is a 1,200 acre competition facility and tourist attraction recognized as the epicenter of equestrian life, sports and business. Most notably, the park annually hosts the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. The event is ranked at four stars, which is the highest level in international competition.
The Horse Park hosts a number of other award-winning shows as well. The Alltech National Horse Show won the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame’s Show of the year. They were also named the top U.S. show by the North American Riders Group. North American Junior and Young Rider Championships and the two weeks of Kentucky Spring Hunter Jumper were named among the top 25 events in North America.
This year, the facility will host 21 grand prix jumper classes as well as seven national or international hunter derbies, with more than $1 million offered in prize money.
The Park will host three upper-level dressage events in 2013, including the U.S. Dressage Finals.
For more information on the Kentucky Horse Park and its world-class events, please visit http://kyhorsepark.com/.