Kentucky Horse Park
Kentucky Horse Park to Assist Kentucky's Neglected Horses

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, May 06, 2008  
Contact Information:  Cindy Rullman, 859-259-4209 ext 209,  


           LEXINGTON, KY  (May 6, 2008)  A number of factors have converged to make this a very difficult year for Kentucky’s horses.  Equine overpopulation, a challenging economy, and last summer’s draught are among the causes of distress that have put Kentucky’s horses in the national media spotlight.


            “We’ve all been disturbed by the sight of neglected and starving horses in the news, and we are determined to do something about it.  We’re going to put our actions where our hearts are,” said John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park.   He continued, “If everyone who benefits from the horse industry will pitch-in, it is possible that we could come close to eliminating the problem of unwanted horses in our state very quickly.  The one thing that is not acceptable is for people to know that Kentucky’s horses are in crisis and yet do nothing to help.”  


            To that end, on Saturday, June 28, at 6pm, the Kentucky Horse Park will host the first annual John Henry Memorial Equine Adoption Fair, named for the park’s beloved racehorse who passed away last Fall.  John Henry spent the first several years of his life being unwanted, until he came into the hands of a trainer who recognized the value of a horse that the rest of the world saw as small, plain, ill-tempered and poorly conformed.  John Henry rewarded those who finally wanted him by earning more than $6 million for them on the track.


The John Henry Memorial Equine Adoption Fair will find homes for other unwanted horses by bringing together a number of equine adoption organizations to showcase their rescued, adoptable horses.  It will also raise funds through a silent auction for the Kentucky Horse Council’s Save Our Horses (SOHO) fund, which has already saved the lives of many horses and ponies across the state of Kentucky though its emergency horse hotline. The fund provides financial support for feed and veterinarian care when a good Samaritan or a county cares for a horse that has been confiscated due to its poor condition.  In addition, the fund is providing an Equine Abuse Investigation Class to train local officials how to successfully identify horses that need help, and how to ensure prosecution when it is warranted.


The event will take place during the MidSouth Pony Club Mega Rally at the park, and in partnership with the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC).  The public is invited, free of charge.


Grace Hobbie, Vice Regional Supervisor for the MidSouth Region of the United States Pony Club, said, “We see this as a great opportunity to help these magnificent animals find a loving home.  Regardless of how they may look at the beginning of the relationship, they can turn out to be one of the best mounts you have ever had.”


Ginny Grulke, executive director of the KHC observed, “The Kentucky Horse Park’s Equine Adoption Fair is just one example of the creative solutions we must all come up with to find new, safe homes for neglected horses. The Kentucky Horse Council is dedicated to assisting the unwanted horse, and we are proud to work with the Kentucky Horse Park in protecting Kentucky’s signature animal, to which we owe so much.”


Nicholson concluded, “We believe the responsibility for the welfare of horses falls squarely on the shoulders of every Kentuckian, because every Kentuckian benefits from the horse industry.  It is clearly within our power to fix this.  It should be within our hearts as well.” 


For general information on the John Henry Memorial Equine Adoption Fair call 859-233-4303; for volunteer information contact Gina Beare at 859-259-4267 or ; for horse information contact Tracy Walker at 859-259-4262 or   


EDITOR’S NOTE:  A high-res photo is available for use with this release, and an ad is available for use as a p.s.a. by emailing


Park Hours and Rates: From March 15 through October 31, the park is open seven days a week.  Admission is $15 for adults, $8 for children 7-12.  Children six and under are always admitted free of charge.  Admission includes the International Museum of the Horse – In Association with the Smithsonian Institution, the American Saddlebred Museum, and the John Henry Memorial Equine Adoption Fair. 




2008 is the 30th anniversary of the Kentucky Horse Park, a working horse farm/theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man’s relationship with the horse.  The park is an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet that hosted nearly 920,000 visitors and campers, as well as 15,000 competition horses in more than 100 special events and horse shows in 2007.  The park is home to the National Horse Center which comprises more than 30 national and regional equine organizations.   Located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington, the Kentucky Horse Park is The place to get close to horses.   Open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.