Kentucky Horse Park

Press Release Date:  Thursday, April 29, 2010  
Contact Information:  Cindy Rullman, 859-259-4209 ext 209,  

LEXINGTON, KY (April 29, 2010) What happens when you combine talented high school art students with horses and an international blockbuster museum exhibition?  Desert Treasures -- a high school art competition created to celebrate the Arabian horse while promoting A Gift From the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse, coming to the Kentucky Horse Park’s International Museum of the Horse this summer.

A call for entries was sent to more than 50 central Kentucky high schools.  The students were given a template of an Arabian horse and asked to create a design that was not only creative but also representative of the Arabian horse breed. 

The students’ template designs were judged by a panel consisting of professional artists and representatives from both the International Museum of the Horse and The Pyramid Society. Judging was  based on originality and execution of the design, relevance to the history and essence of the Arabian breed and the overall impact of the piece.

The top 24 designs were awarded an elegant 17-inch resin sculpture of the Arabian to paint their designs for a final round of judging.  The resin horses were cast from a one-of-a-kind original sculpture that was generously donated to the project by a lover of the Arabian horse. 


Once the 24 horses were painted and returned to the park at the end of April, a final round of judging took place on April 28 and the top eight horses were selected to be awarded cash prizes for their schools’ art departments, with the top prize being $1,500. 

First, second and third place finishers respectively were Sasha Dantchenko of SCAPA/Lafayette High School, Freja Quistguard of Montgomery Co. High School and Katherine Spears of SCAPA/Lafayette High School.  Honorable Mentions were awarded to Jennifer Vice of Fleming Co. High School, Laura Turner of Washington Co. High School, Sara Myers of Burgin Independant High School, Emily Collier of SCAPA/Lafayette High School, and Tiffany Graves of Washington Co. High School.

Jane Beshear, First Lady of Kentucky observed, "Desert Treasures is a wonderful project that not only raises excitement for A Gift From the Desert exhibition, but showcases some of central Kentucky’s talented young artists. This competition is a huge success because we have so many dedicated teachers and talented students around the Bluegrass."

All 24 horses will be on exhibit at the Kentucky Horse Park and throughout central Kentucky during A Gift From the Desert exhibition and the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, beginning in May and ending in October.  After they are displayed, they will be auctioned off with proceeds going to The Black Stallion Literacy Foundation and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation.

A Gift from the Desert, May 29-October 15, 2010, is the largest collection of Arabian horse art and artifacts ever assembled.  Sponsored by the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation, this breathtaking exhibition will feature nearly 400 artifacts and works of art from 27 museums and private lenders including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford University, Ashmolean Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, National Museum of Warsaw, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, American Museum of Natural History, and many others.

For more information on Desert Treasures, contact Melissa Crase at 859-661-3627 or  For information on A Gift from the Desert, contact the International Museum of the Horse at 859-259-4232 or go to    


EDITOR’S NOTE:   High res photos of all three are available for use in your publication with this release 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 Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet that hosted nearly 870,000 visitors and campers, as well as 15,000 competition horses in more than 100 special events and horse shows in 2009.  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.