Kentucky Horse Park
4,800 Fourth-Graders from Central Kentucky to Attend a Live Equine Presentation Created Just for Them

Press Release Date:  Friday, March 23, 2012  
Contact Information:  Cindy Rullman, 859-259-4209,  

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 23, 2012) - The Kentucky Horse Park will welcome 4,800 fourth-graders to the Alltech Arena on March 29 to watch an original, live equine show, written and choreographed exclusively for them. The show is a highlight of a reading program created by the Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program, which the students have been participating in since last year.   

Approximately 6,000 students from 55 schools in Bourbon, Clark, Fayette, Grant, Madison, Montgomery, Scott, and Woodford counties are in enrolled in this year’s Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program, which combines horse-themed books and experiences with live horses to inspire a life-long love of horses and reading.

To date, the program has distributed in excess of 22,000 books to more than 15,000 first- and fourth- grade children in 11 counties.
One of the goals of the Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program is to expand to other grades to broaden literacy and the love of horses to a greater number of schools in more counties. 

This year, the program introduced "War Horse," by Michael Morpurgo, to fourth-graders, prior to the opening of the feature film based on the book.  The literacy program will culminate with the live equine show at the park that will complement the book’s storyline.

Among the show’s performers will be two international professional equestrian showmen. Dan James, of Australia, and Clay Maier, of the U.S., will perform for the students with their exquisitely trained horses. First Lady Jane Beshear will also participate.

"As an admirer and supporter of both literacy and the equine industry, I am truly pleased to see thousands of Kentucky students taking advantage of this unique opportunity at the Kentucky Horse Park," Mrs. Beshear said.  "The Horse Park is an asset to central Kentucky and the entire Commonwealth, and I want to thank them for sponsoring quality community programs like this one, and I encourage even more students to get involved in this project next year."

Also, while Morpurgo’s "War Horse" is based on a fictional horse, the exploits of a genuine war hero, a mare named Sgt. Reckless, who worked with the Marines in Korea, will be remembered and honored during the show.
The Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program is a project of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation and is funded entirely through private donations and led by a dedicated group of community volunteers.  The program's 2011-2012 sponsors include: Kentucky Bank; Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky; UKHealthCare Kentucky Children’s Hospital; Kentucky Thoroughbred Association; PNC Foundation; CaféPress Inc.; and the Little Foundation.

For more information on the Kentucky Horse Park Literacy Program, contact Mollie Jameson, or 859-509-1915.

Editor’s note:  The photo (above) is of one of Clay Maier’s horses and is available for use with this press release.  Photo by  


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 and hosted more than 825,000 visitors and campers, as well as 15,000 competition horses in more than 200 special events and horse shows in 2011. 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 Nov. 4, and Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 5 to March 15.