Competing at the Kentucky Horse Park? Travelling to Lexington, Kentucky? I’ve included my travel guide of things to know before hauling your horses to the horse park and activities and restaurants you must see while visiting!
The Horse Park!
Pulling into the Horse Park, whether you are competing at the lowest or highest level, always feels surreal. The Park is stunning and massive.
- Have your health certificate ready! Once you pull through the gate and purchase a parking pass, all trailers with horses must show proof of a health certificate. You should always have one when travelling across state lines, but many competitions don’t necessarily request this! If you do forget, you can take your trailer next door and have a local vet create one! (You wouldn’t be the first person!)
- At the horse park the floor of your stalls are asphalt. You do have the option to rent rubber mats for an additional $100. However, shavings are fairly pricey on the grounds! (Think $9 a bag!) After grooming for Young Riders several years ago, I bed the stalls with straw and bank shavings on top. This way the horses don’t dig up and risk hurting themselves. This can be a mess to clean, but prepare beforehand with this method or extra shavings!
- Know your walking limits! The park is huge! It can be very worth the extra costs of renting a golf cart, but plan ahead. (Golf carts are not always available to rent once the show starts!) Parking is not allowed near all of the stables, so wear your walking shoes or find a motor-scooter!
Lexington has some amazing eats. I claim to be a foodie, before I order the most bland and basic item on the menu. But, if you have a group of enthusiasts looking for a great ambience, wine selection, or in general-fun atmosphere, here are my favorites!
- Saul Good Restaurant & Pub; there are several in Lexington but on the Square, this pub has an amazing menu from Chicken & Waffles to Pub food. They have great cocktails, and entrees are hearty. The price point is fair. http://saulgoodpub.com/
- The Sage Rabbit, this is my Mom’s favorite pick. Located off a quiet corner. This restaurant is quaint and a true farm-to-table. Order the Sourdough and Goat cheese, a glass of red, and enjoy an evening on their patio. https://www.thesagerabbit.com/
- Agave & Rye; Our group of riders and families ate here the last night of AEC’s. If you love tacos and margs, this is a great pick! But, don’t expect your local street tacos! The menu includes gator, duck confit, and kangaroo! (My Plain Jane taco was lovely too! https://www.agaveandrye.com/food
There are options for just about every budget in Lexington, but the key is booking early! If you are planning on attending a certain 5***** event next April, book now! I prefer an AirBnB so I can stay with my group and have access to a kitchen and washer/dryer. The AirBnB we stayed at linked HERE ran under $100/night which was incredible for a 4 bedroom house, within a mile of Downtown, and less then 20 minutes to the Horse Park!!
- The Sire Hotel, Lexington , I love staying at locations that represent the community. This one is just adorable, but modern features that look dreamy.
- For the DIY traveler you can also camp on site at the KY Horse Park! The grounds are super and obviously very convenient distance to the barns! Check out more details HERE
So when do you have any free time at a horse show? I’m not sure, but I have a list of places that I eventually want to go to when I’m in Lexington! If you find the time, please go!
- Take a tour of one of the many stunning farms. You can actually take private or group tours of the many racehorse farms. My personal favorite (future bucket list) is SpendThrift Farm. Visithorsecountry.com
- Located on the Kentucky Horse Park is the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center which re-homes and restarts retired OTTB’s. You need another horse. Secretariatcenter.org
- For the over-21, a distillery tour should be on your radar. I am not a huge Bourbon drinker myself, but this tour was ranked #1 at Bluegrass Distilleries