Lexington is truly the horse capital of the world. A trip to Lexington is not complete without a visit with some horses. If you are already a horse-lover, you probably know what kind of horses you want to see, but for the novice, well, you have plenty of options. An easy way to get the basics is to visit the Kentucky Horse Park. You can learn about different breeds of horses and then get into Kentucky’s ties to the horse racing industry and even schedule a trail ride. But with so many choices, you’ll soon see how it got the name Lexington, the Horse Capital of the World.
Lots of Kentucky horse farms in the area offer tours – but you need to stop by on their time, not on yours. So be sure to call first and see when they have tours. Keep in mind that these are working farms, and some of their residents are worth millions of dollars. Not that they aren’t glad to see you, but just call first.
Some that offer tours are Claiborne Farms, Lanes End and Three Chimneys Farm. All the farms are so beautiful, and each tour is somewhat different, so visit as many as you can. Also, it is appropriate to tip your guide at the end of the tour. So slip them $5 – $10 per person at the end.
Want to see where horses go to school? Yep, even horses have to go to kindergarten, and one of the places that gives tours is The Thoroughbred Center. The tour is fun, but just the drive there past lots of horse farms is wonderful too.
You’ll see nods to the industry all over central Kentucky. If you are in downtown Lexington, swing by Thoroughbred Park and admire the amazingly life-like sculptures.
Once they get through school, well it’s time to race! See these babies in action at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, Churchill Downs (The home of the Kentucky Derby) in Louisville or Turfway Park in Florence.
There is also Harness Racing at Red Mile Harness Track, as well as Instant Racing Terminals so you can play, even when there are no horses running.
When a horse is too old to race or breed, they need an Old Folks home, just like people. That is what you will find at the wondrous Old Friends Retirement Home for Horses in Georgetown. These horses get so much love and care, they can really live out their golden years in style.
If you don’t have time to track all these places down yourself, Lexington has some very capable tour companies who will navigate it for you. Try the Horses, History and Hooch tour from Blue Grass Tours. They know the way, and you can just enjoy the ride.