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State Seal Kentucky Horse Park
Press Release Date:  May 20, 2005

Cindy Rullman, 859-259-4209,



          LEXINGTON, KY (May 20, 2005) Their horses are the same color as their waffles.  That observation having been noted, we will also note that the Belgians have developed a superb horse which has become the most popular draft horse breed in the United States.  In honor of these impressive horses, the Kentucky Horse Park will host Belgian Draft Horse Weekend June 4-5, featuring some show stompers who will perform twice daily during the Parade of Breeds.

         Among the horses making special guest appearances is Dan, an 18.1-hand Belgian who is the 2001 All American Belgian Gelding Champion, owned by Dave and Mary Thurston.  He’ll be joined by BJ, an 18.2-hand, 2,300-pound, All American Belgian Gelding Champion in 2002.  An All-American competes against thousands of the top Belgians in the U.S. and Canada before being crowned, so these horses are the best-of-the-best.  They will be among a number of other extraordinary Belgians visiting the park. 

          According to the Belgian Draft Horse Corporation of America, the Belgian weighs an average of 1800 - 2000 pounds and some stallions reach 2400 pounds. “The Belgian Horse came to be regarded in his home country as both a national heritage and a treasure.  In 1891, Belgium exported stallions for use in the government stables of Russia, Italy, Germany, France and the old Austria-Hungary Empire.  The movement of horses out of Belgium for breeding purposes was tremendous in scope and financially rewarding for her breeders decade after decade. Today’s Belgian is a big, powerful fellow that retains the drafty middle, a deep, strong foot, a lot of bone, the heavy muscling and amiable disposition possessed by early Belgians.  He is an easy keeper, a good shipper and a willing worker.”

          The special horses who will be shipping into the park exclusively for this appearance in the Belgian Draft Horse Weekend will be shown driving single, team and 4-horse hitch (which translates as “They’ll be pulling heavy stuff.”). 

         The park’s own personable Belgians, Clydesdales, Percheron, Suffolk, Shires and other friendly draft horses will be available for hugs, pats and photo ops with park guests, as always.  Visitors will enjoy the horses and have opportunities to learn more about the impressive Belgian breed.

         For information about the Belgian Draft Horse Weekend, contact Linda Brantley, or 859-259-4223.  For more information about the horses themselves, contact David Thurston at

          Editor’s Note:  A photo of All American Champion Belgian Dan is available for use in your publication by emailing

          Belgian Draft Horse Weekend is included with park admission. From March 15-October 31, the Kentucky Horse Park is open from 9-5 seven days a week.  Admission is $14 for adults and $7 for children ages 7-12.  Children six and under are always admitted free of charge.  Admission includes the American Saddlebred Museum.


           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 more than 900,000 visitors and 15,000 competition horses in 80 special events and horse shows in 2004.  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.



Last updated: Monday, May 23, 2005