Our first visit to the Kentucky Horse Park (read our campground review here) in Lexington was in 2003, in October. Described as “an equine themed park and competition facility dedicated to man's relationship with the horse”, we found it to be pretty quiet, with most of the activities shut down after Labor Day. On this visit, it was a different story.
For two weeks in the fall, the World Equestrian Games will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park, the first time this event has been held outside of Europe. This is a Big Deal here in Lexington, whose city motto is “Horse Capital of the World” – and particularly here at the Horse Park, where a new arena has been constructed, older buildings remodeled, and more new buildings underway.
Besides the construction, horses and riders are everywhere, competing, practicing, or grazing (horses) and relaxing (riders). Trainers, riders, owners and their dogs all zipped to and fro in the park, and to the adjacent campground, in golf carts or on scooters. Never have I seen so many knee high boots and tight pants in one place! Busy, busy, busy.
The campground is actually part of the horse park, and we remembered from our prior visit that we could walk from the campground to the horse park through a back gate. Until late this afternoon, when we finally read the campground brochure, we didn’t realize we were supposed to pay admission (discounted for campers). Oh, well! :) We enjoyed the park as our exercise venue both days of our stay, and spent more than a couple of hours watching the jumpers in the big new arena
Today we decided to see a different face of Lexington, and headed off downtown to take a walking tour of some of the historic sites. To a visitor, the city was not very easily navigated – even though it isn’t large – partly because so many of the roads were being remodeled (for the Games, I imagine). Walking through the downtown area was awkward when sidewalks were under construction, graveled, or fenced off, so we didn’t see as much of the historic downtown core as we had intended.
We DID, however, find the Saturday Farmer’s Market, in a permanent, roofed downtown location – always a great amenity in a city. Though we hadn’t planned any food shopping, we couldn’t resist Vito’s Italian Sausage after a couple of delicious samples, and a head of beautiful Red Oak Leaf lettuce, too fragile to be sold commercially.
Above: Farmer’s Market Pavilion, Downtown.
Above: Herb plants for sale at the market.
Below: Historic Downtown Buildings
Below: Horse Sculptures at Thoroughbred Park
Back at our campsite, we took another (free) walk to the arena to watch a couple horses attempt to qualify for the games (both did), when headed home to a dinner of Jambalaya, made with the last bits of sausage and smoked ham from Poche’s in Louisiana, found in the freezer during the refrigerator crisis in Memphis. I relaxed outside with a book after dinner, until a big mosquito landed on my hand – one of the very first I’ve seen this year!
We are leaving many sights unseen in Lexington, but we knew it would be just a quick stop. Tomorrow, off to Cincinnati to FINALLY visit Joy and Greg. Goodbye, Kentucky!