LEX‚ÄôS BEST KEPT SECRET by: Julie, Horse Blogger
BREEZE THE BLUEGRASS
Lexington has a secret, and it’s taking place this week and weekend: The Alltech National Horse Show.
Running through Sunday, November 4, at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Indoor Arena, “The National,” founded in New York City in the late 1800’s, is another one of Lexington’s “pinch me” events; exhilarating to attend, whether you ride horses or not.
Friday, at 8am, come out to watch riders of all ages in classes that are ‘Over Fences,’ ‘Under Saddle,’ ‘Stakes,’ ‘Hunters’ and ‘Jumpers,’ of all sorts: Small Juniors (17 years of age and younger), Large Juniors (16 and 17 years of age) and Amateur Owners of all ages.
Friday evening after the Opening Ceremonies at 7pm, the Saddlebreds strut their stuff, along with their riders, roadsters and harnesses. Then, at 8:30pm, an extraordinary jumping course will be built, and the $50,000 International Open Jumper Puissance will begin. According to Sportsdefinitions.com, a Puissance is a competition designed to test a horse’s jumping ability over a decreasing number of breakaway obstacles, in which the height is increased after each round. There are between four and six obstacles with straight fences measuring a minimum of 4 ½ feet high, raising to astronomical heights until one horse and rider left. I have been told that the world record is almost 7 1/2 feet tall!
Saturday morning, warm-ups begin at 6am. Then at 10am, kids 17 years old and younger, will compete in ‘Hunter’ and ‘Handy’ classes. At 5pm watch the $50,000 Junior Hunter Amateur Owner Championship.
Saturday evening, more Opening Ceremonies will begin at 7pm and will make way for the $250,000 Grand Prix. Saddlebreds take the stage again at 9pm and compete in Park Horse, Three-Gaited and Five-Gated Championships.
Sunday morning, the ASPCA Maclay event will begin at 7am, with the Maclay Awards Ceremony wraping things up around 4pm. The Maclay is a “proving ground” for young riders.
While working the Information Table at the main arena entrance, I have had a chance to talk with horse owners and riders, as well as caterers, vendors and even parents chaperoning their children’s school field trips. The craziest part is that during the day, when admission is FREE, the arena is unexpectedly empty. Front row seats are available every day. Evening competition is reasonably priced and seating is available on a first-come-first-served basis. The food is great, so come out for dinner before the evening’s shows begins and get a head start on your holiday shopping. The vendors are varied and first rate. I have my sights set on beautifully painted equestrian sketches by a woman from Maine. Her husband has pointed out the hidden pictures within the sketches, and I am now visiting their booth every day to gaze. I have met people who haven’t visited the horse park in decades, as well as women, whose husbands are attending conferences in town, who just come out the Park to see what’s going on. Other visitors are literally just driving through the Lexington area and stop in to check it all out. I recommend you do the same!
Enjoy your time in the Bluegrass.
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- HORSES AND THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND - Tuesday Apr 3, 2012
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- FALL FOLIAGE TIME - Sunday Oct 23, 2011
- ‚ÄúVARIETY‚ÄĚ IS THE WORD - Wednesday Oct 12, 2011
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- FESTIVAL OF THE HORSE - Wednesday Sep 28, 2011
- SECRETARIAT FESTIVAL and MORE 9-21-11 - Wednesday Sep 21, 2011
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