Lexington is truly the horse capital of the world (Floridas protests notwithstanding).
Its easily taken for granted. Watching horses run over the blue-green hills becomes as common as seeing an airplane. The majority of us only lift our heads to notice the horses during the spring and fall races. When Keeneland opens, not only do we pay attention, we suddenly become horse experts. When your guests begin brooding over losing tickets, it becomes your responsibility as a native Lexingtonian to educate them on handicaps, jockey weight, tri-fecta boxes and if all else fails, where they can find one of those tasty mint juleps.
But horse country doesnt just mean thoroughbred racingnotable exceptions include the Rolex 3-day event, the High Hope Steeplechase, and the upcoming annual Junior League Horse Show.
Actual horse experts from Kentucky and all over the world migrate to our town to participate in many kinds of horse-related traditions. One of the most respected of these traditions is the Lexington Junior Leagues Horse Show. Since 1937 the Lexington Junior League has presented the largest outdoor event for the American Saddlebred. This show is revered in that it is also the first step toward attaining the Triple Crown of the American Saddlehorse Competitions. At this time every year, the Red Mile welcomes more than 30,000 people for a weeks worth of events, drawing approximately $10.4 million dollars in revenue for city businesses. The competition also raises a remarkable amount of money for local charities. The Junior League reports that to date, 3.6 million dollars has been raised to benefit the community. Thats pretty impressive.
Ame Sweetall, the 2004 Horse Show Chair, explains I think the horse show is a great way to show off a fantastic horse community that gets lost in the thoroughbred industry.
She is very enthusiastic about this years show, and excited to be on the home stretch of planning.
Sweetall admits, It is challenging because every year members take on new positions that they have never tried before; everything from painting the rails in the ring, to raising thousands of dollars in sponsorship. But it is nice to see people committed to the project, and great to watch everything come together.
Sweetall went on to explain that putting on a horse show is no picnic. I think people should know that this is a premier show, a real competition, where people are awarded $70,000 dollars in prize money. It is an opportunity for those who work with horses to show off their skills. Sweetall explains that participants are judged on everything from presentation and composure to the way they control the movements of their horse.
She adds, the show features traditional costumes and formal riding that you dont get the opportunity to see anymore. Its beautiful.
When asked about what was the most rewarding part of being involved in the horse show, Sweetall replied, Our greatest achievement is raising money to give back to the community.
The Junior League funds several organizations with money raised from the horse show. Their Community Education and Research Committee spends most of the year sending out notices and sorting through applications. The criteria for funding is rigorous and depends on how many people will benefit from the project, as well as what kind of impact it will have on the community. Their support is not just financial. The Junior League also assists foundations through an energetic volunteer program.
Sweetall concludes, Were not just giving out money, its about spending hours volunteering as well.
Dates: July 12 through 17
The Red Mile
Time: Morning & Evening
Parking: Free parking in front of The Red Mile
General Admission: General admission $3 (Mon-Thurs); $5 (Fri-Sat)
Junior League Mission Statement:
An organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. The Junior League of Lexington, Kentucky, Inc. reaches out to women of all races, religions and national origins who demonstrate an interest in and a commitment to
About the Horse Show
Where it started?
Whats a Saddlebred?
What Youll See at the Horse Show
Dont Forget the Food!
What to Look For
What You Should Wear
Organizations funded by the 2004 Junior League Horse Show
The American Cancer Society will receive $2,500 to benefit the Patient Services Room, which provides low income female chemotherapy patients with wigs and prostheses.
Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra will receive $2,000 for the Friends of Music program which provides free music lessons for low income students in Fayette County.
The Down Syndrome Association will receive $1,500 toward the Up with Downs project which provides information and referral assistance to families of children with Down Syndrome.
The Family Care Center will receive $3,905 for medical equipment in new patient examination rooms.
The Jarrett Mynear Fund will receive $25,000 and 15 volunteers toward the renovation of the Pediatric Oncology department at the University of Kentucky.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation will receive $2,500 for the Adopt a Wish program.
The Maxwell Street Presbyterian/East 7th Street Kids Cafe will receive $2,500 toward additional activities and extension of staff hours.
Ronald McDonald House will receive $10,095 toward appliance purchases for the total kitchen renovation. n