LEXINGTON, KY - The Kentucky Horse Park announced today that it has signed an agreement with the United States Dressage Federation (USDF) to lease land at the park for the purpose of building the USDF National Education Center. The USDF will move its national headquarters to the park when the building is completed, by the fall of 2005, making the USDF the 21st national, state or regional equine organization to join the park’s National Horse Center.
“One objective of the Commerce Cabinet is to attract and retain world-class associations to Kentucky,” stated Commerce Secretary Jim Host. “The addition of such a prestigious organization like the USDF to the National Horse Center at the Kentucky Horse Park is further confirmation of what Kentuckians already know: Kentucky is the horse capital of the world,” he continued. “We will continue to work with the first-class management of the Horse Park to build upon the success of Kentucky’s horse industry.”
The United States Dressage Federation, founded in 1973, consists of more than 33,000 members throughout the United States. The USDF services its members through education, recognition of achievement and the promotion of the sport of dressage. Dressage is a French term that means “training.” Dressage is a classic system of training that develops the horse’s balance, suppleness, and natural gaits. Often referred to as “ballet” for horses, dressage is one of three equestrian sports featured as an Olympic event.
“The Horse Park’s National Horse Center is the home of many of our country’s most important and influential equine organizations,” said John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park. “The addition of USDF only adds to the prestige of this collection of national horse industry leadership. We welcome USDF to the Horse Park and look forward to working with them to promote the sport of dressage and to celebrate the bond between mankind and the horse.”
Previously located in Lincoln, NE, the USDF moved their national headquarters to a temporary location in Lexington in June 2002, with the purpose of joining the National Horse Center to strategically position the organization to move the sport of dressage forward throughout the entire country. Along with other tenants, such as the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the national governing body for all equestrian sport in the United States, the USDF will be part of a “neighborhood” of equestrian organizations that further the Bluegrass region’s claim as being the “Horse Capital of the World.”
"Partnering and networking at the Horse Park, with organizations such as U.S. Equestrian and the U.S. Pony Clubs, will help us improve the programs we run and the services we provide for our members," said Sam Barish, President of the USDF.
The new USDF headquarters will not only comprise office space for 45 employees, but will also house the USDF Hall of Fame, an interactive multi-media center, a USDF store, and a venue for seminars and events to better serve dressage enthusiasts, and provide a place where Kentucky Horse Park visitors can discover and enjoy the sport. Already a contributing member of the Lexington community, the USDF has supported the annual Kentucky Horse Park Dressage Symposium, the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, and will hold the 2004 USDF National Convention and Symposium at the Lexington Convention Center and the Kentucky Horse Park in December.
Information about the USDF may be obtained by contacting Robin Hollar at (859) 971-2277, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting www.usdf.org.
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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 Commerce Cabinet that hosted 913,000 visitors and 80 special events and horse shows in 2003. 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.