Kentucky Horse Park
HORSES WILL INSPIRE CHILDREN TO READ

Press Release Date:  Thursday, November 12, 2009  
Contact Information:  Cindy Rullman, 859-259-4209 ext 209, Cindy.Rullman@ky.gov or contact Mollie Jameson, 859-509-1915 or molliejam@gmail.com  


            LEXINGTON, KY (November 12, 2009)  How can Kentucky’s children become better readers?  By reading about a horse, to a horse.  

            The Kentucky Horse Park’s International Museum of the Horse is partnering with The Black Stallion Literacy Foundation (BSLF) to offer the widely-acclaimed Black Stallion Literacy Project in the spring of 2010 to first and fourth graders in Fayette, Bourbon, Madison, Clark, Scott, Woodford and Jessamine Counties.
 
            The BSLF helps children discover the joys of reading and the excitement of learning through the wonders of live horses and the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley.  

            The goals are to spark the imagination of first grade students so they will want to learn to read, and to motivate fourth grade students so they will experience the joy of reading.   The project has been featured on ABC Nightly News as the best motivational reading program for school-aged children.

            John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park stated, "As the father of two young boys, I personally know the importance of engaging children in reading.  As a horseman, I understand the almost-mystical, always beneficial effect that horses have on children, so I am particularly pleased that the Kentucky Horse Park will be involved in bringing children and horses together in a project that will have a life-long, positive impact."

            The International Museum of the Horse is presenting The Black Stallion Literacy Project in celebration of the museum’s next world-class, blockbuster exhibition, "A Gift from the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse" and the new Arabian Horse Galleries museum wing.

            First graders will learn about caring for horses by touching and reading to a horse.  They will be given two hard copy books to keep forever, both by Walter Farley, "Little Black" and "Little Black Goes to the Circus."  The program concludes with a trip to the Kentucky Horse Park for hands-on experiences with park horses.

            The fourth graders will be given a hard copy of Walter Farley’s classic, "The Black Stallion," a pop-up display, and a copy of the Academy Award-winning Francis Ford Coppola movie, "The Black Stallion."  The fourth grade program concludes with a trip to the Kentucky Horse Park’s new Indoor Arena on May 11 to see a very special presentation of the Florida-based Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction production featuring The Black Stallion. Tickets will also be available for the public.           

            The books will be delivered to area schools by a live black pony from the Kentucky Horse Park.  At the end of the program, in addition to their hands-on experiences with horses at the park, the children will also have an opportunity to tour the new Arabian Horse Galleries which features "The Black Stallion Experience Exhibit" where they can create a virtual avatar to help them explore the museum.
  
            Bill Cooke, Director of the International Museum of the Horse stated, "This wonderful literacy project supports the educational mission of our museum.  We hope our involvement will inspire the children of Central Kentucky to read, to discover horses, and to appreciate and embrace their heritage as citizens of the Horse Capital of the World."

            The project was conceived in 1999 by Farley’s son, Tim, and Mark Miller, owner of the Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction in Florida.  The BSLF began serving children in 2000. Since then, more than 450,000 children in the United States have participated in this reading program.

             The Black Stallion Literacy Project through the Kentucky Horse Park is sponsored in party by WTVQ, Channel 36.

            For more information on The Black Stallion Literacy Project, contact Mollie Jameson, 859-509-1915, molliejam@gmail.com  or www.bslf-online.org.    For information on The Black Stallion, go to www.theblackstallion.com.  For more information on the Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction, go to www.arabian-nights.com.   For information on A Gift from the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse go to www.KyHorsePark.com

            EDITOR'S NOTE:  High-res photos are available for use with this release by your publication.  Just email Cindy.Rullman@ky.gov.

            Park Hours and Rates: From November 1 through March 14, the park is open Wednesdays through Sundays.  Admission then is $9 for adults, $6 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 - and the American Saddlebred Museum & Gift Shop.

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            The Kentucky Horse Park is 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 Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet that hosted nearly 900,000 visitors and campers, as well as 15,000 competition horses in more than 100 special events and horse shows in 2008.  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.