Central Kentucky’s Treasure Trove of Horse Fun
“I’m bored. There’s nothing fun to do.” How many times have you heard that complaint from one of your kids?
It’s a beautiful weekend morning in the Bluegrass, and out of nowhere one of the kids tells you he’s dying of boredom.
You suggest playing outside, or even watching TV for a while. Nothing seems to interest him. Out of desperation, you even mention cleaning his room.
Think horses of course
The next you encounter this scenario, just remember that Central Kentucky is the horse capital of the world.
And with good reason—we have more than just horse racing around here. Our area is home to an abundance of fun-packed, equine-related activities for the whole family. Bluegrass kids (and adults, too) should never be able to claim boredom.
Plus, fall is just around the corner. It’s arguably the most beautiful of the four seasons we enjoy in the Bluegrass state. Now is the perfect time of year to enjoy some fun—horse-style.
Activities and attractions come in all shapes and sizes, and for every age. Below are just a few of them.
Take a horse for a ride
Autumn is a great time of year to take a scenic trail ride. What could be better than meandering down a woodsy trail on a beautiful horse while leaves are turning gorgeous hues of gold, orange, and amber?
Scott County’s Whispering Woods Riding Stables boasts 250 acres of riding trails through heavily wooded areas, featuring creek crossings and several different species of wildlife calling the land home.
Twenty-four horses of all experience levels are available to rent, or you can bring your own horse. They offer guided trail rides as well as private rides.
Are you brave enough for the Haunted Trails of Whispering Woods? On Friday and Saturday nights in October, dare to take a wagon ride through a dark woods filled with who-knows-what kinds of creatures lurking about.
If you’ve always wanted to experience riding smooth-gaited Tennessee Walking or Spotted Saddle horses, take a trip to Big Red Stables outside Harrodsburg. Riders are welcome from Advanced Beginner level on up to Advanced.
Trail ride on their family-owned, 200-acre farm, or book an appointment in advance for a 2-hour ride at either Eagles Nest Equestrian Trails or at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, both of which are nearby.
Visit famous horses, learn something new
If you want to get up and close to legendary horses, visit the the Kentucky Horse Park’s Hall of Champions to see thoroughbred racing champions such as Funny Cide and Go For Gin.
Kids and adults alike will enjoy interacting with these and other famous equines, all of which make their home in the Hall of Champions. Be sure to check the schedule for presentation times.
The KHP also features the 60,000 square foot International Museum of the Horse. The museum highlights the unique relationship between horse and human, dating back to ancient times. Its
displays tell the story of the horse’s role in shaping important elements in human history.
If you’re interested, the park also offers beginning horse riding lessons. For individuals, you can choose either private or semi-private lessons. Groups of up to four are also welcome.
Go see the “Ladies”
Another way to interact with famous horses is to visit Our Mims Retirement Haven outside Paris. Their motto says it all: “Specializing in restoring health and spirit in aged mares.”
The Haven’s mission is adopting mares after their careers are finished. Many of these horses (affectionately called, the “Ladies”) are ex-racers, mothers, and grandmothers of Thoroughbred legends.
Our Mims provides board and complete medical care for the mares for the rest of their lives. Upon their death, they are buried in the Haven’s cemetery.
The Haven offers free, educational tours, but appointments must be requested in advance on their website.
Consider volunteering at Our Mims Retirement Haven if you crave even more interaction with horses. Not only do volunteers help care for the residents, they can also assist with educational classes and outreach activities.
Take advantage of horse country
The Bluegrass offers a wealth of horse-related fun for the entire family. Fall is a great time of year to hop in the car and take in a fun-filled day of horsin’ around.
Whether you’ve got a hankering to trail ride, visit equine legends, get scared out of your wits, or just learn more about horses in general—we’ve got it all right here close to home.