Kentucky Horse Park

Press Release Date:  Monday, April 10, 2006  
Contact Information:  Cindy Rullman, 859-259-4209 ext 209,  

          LEXINGTON, KY (April 10, 2006) They often worked in obscurity, training and grooming some of the finest blooded horses in the country.  Under their attentive care, the Saddlebred horses in their charge went on to fame and glory, and are immortalized in oil paintings on paneled walls in museums and grand old homes, while the horsemen themselves endured the usual humiliations and prejudices, and often went to their graves in relative anonymity. 

          Until recently, the legacy of black horsemen in the Saddlebred world was mostly relegated to fading memories of their family members.  Now, the American Saddlebred Museum at the Kentucky Horse Park wants to pay homage to these forgotten black horsemen with an exhibition in their honor.

          Last year the museum featured a small display of memorabilia from local black horsemen and it proved so popular that museum curator Kim Skipton spearheaded a campaign to expand their collection into a full-blown, year-long exhibition to begin in February, 2007. The museum wants to borrow photos, paintings, trophies, riding apparel, tack and equipment, drawings, sculptures, notebooks or anything else that tells a piece of the story.  The items should predate the 1980s.

          John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park observed, “Any time we are in a position to right a wrong, to credit the disenfranchised, to embrace the marginalized or to heal emotional wounds, we want to jump on that occasion and play a role.  I am very proud of our friends at the American Saddlebred Museum for taking the initiative to bring the legacy of these gentlemen out of the shadows and into the light to be publicly honored.  The park is delighted to have the American Saddlebred Museum as part of our National Horse Center, and we want to help get the word out and assist with the acquisition of items for this exhibition by encouraging folks to check their family scrapbooks and treasure chests for heirlooms and memorabilia.” 

          Anyone with memorabilia from the Saddlebred industry’s black horsemen who would be willing to loan them to the American Saddlebred Museum should contact museum curator Kim Skipton at or 859-259-2746, ext 312. For information on the museum, click on

          Park Hours and Rates: From March 15-October 31, the park is open seven days a week.  Admission then is $15 for adults, $8 for children 7-12.  Children six and under are always admitted free of charge.  Admission includes the American Saddlebred Museum.

          Editor’s Note:  Old, black and white photos of black horsemen and their horses from the American Saddlebred Museum’s collection are available for use in your publication by emailing


          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 Commerce Cabinet that hosted nearly 900,000 visitors and 15,000 competition horses in more than 100 special events and horse shows in 2005.  The park is located at Exit 120, Interstate 75, just north of Lexington.  The place to get close to horses, the park is open daily March 15 to October 31, and Wednesday through Sunday, November 1 to March 14.