12. October 2010 01:56
On Friday, October 8, my wife, Kim, and I took the afternoon to enjoy the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky. Throughout the course of the week, the games had been drawing increasingly large crowds as equestrians from dozens of countries around the world joined fans from those countries and America at the Kentucky Horse Park for the two and half week event. We rode over in the elaborate shuttle system from downtown Lexington that carried thousands of fans over the course of the event to the front door of the huge complex.
We arrived in time to stroll through the trade show and Kentucky Experience pavilion for an hour or so before heading over to the Driving Stadium to catch the finals of the dressage event for driving. This sport involves carriages and wagons pulled by four horses who are driven by world-class horsemen and women. We watched as six finalists took their teams through a series of maneuvers before a full stadium of fans and five judging stands. A team from Australia was clearly the best to even us--novices in every sense. When they finished the stadium erupted in applause.
After the event, we headed back to the Kentucky pavilion to enjoy the beer tasting station offered by Alltech's Kentucky Ale brands and listened to two musicians with guitar and dulcimer. We found some Christmas ornaments and one full-blown gift for a friend's three-year old son--a pair of Justin boots that he'll probably be able to wear for all of two or three months before he outgrows them.
I told several friends that this event, when coupled with the Ryder Cup just two years earlier in Louisville, has stamped Kentucky as a major destination for thousands of new fans and friends across the world.
The Makers Mark Visitor Center was a popular stop
Equestrian toys and models were on display in the event trade show
A huge mural adorned the event's primary stadium
A team performed in the finals of the Driving Dressage competition
Many visitors took the opportunity for a bourbon or beer tasting in the Kentucky Experience pavilion