LEXINGTON, KY (February 10, 2005) On February 20, dogs from as far away as Arizona will bring their live-saving noses to the Kentucky Horse Park to compete in an important tracking competition. This event carries a lot of weight because some of the dogs who participate could go on to work in search and rescue situations.
John Nicholson, Executive Director of the Kentucky Horse Park observed, “While these tracking events are fun for spectators, owners and the dogs themselves, we are especially pleased to play a role in tracking dog tests because it could literally mean the difference between life and death for a lost human being someday.”
He continued, “These are the first in a series of tracking events which will help to hone the dogs’ ability and willingness to follow a human scent. If you can imagine the difficulty for a search and rescue dog to find a lost person in a city, a mountainous or wilderness region, you can understand the importance of doing everything possible to encourage these dogs to use the special abilities they’ve been given. We just couldn’t be happier to be involved in this.”
Billie Kovacs, coordinator of the event for the Lexington Kennel Club commented, “Although this would be considered an ‘entry level’ tracking competition, all of the dogs are already certified trackers. They have been narrowed down from entries all over the country. To date we’ve had a very wide range of breeds submit applications to participate, including a Weimaraner, a number of Dachshunds, a Bernese Mountain Dog, Sheltie, Irish Water Spaniel, Basenji, Anatolian Shepherd, Doberman, Cocker Spaniel and a Border Collie. One interesting aspect of this competition is that a 5-pound Maltese can successfully compete nose-to-nose with a 150-pound Rottweiler. It’s all in the nose.”
The fun begins at 8 am on February 20 at the Kentucky Horse Park’s Show Office (just follow the “Tracking” signs). For more information, contact Billie Kovacs, 859-299-7184.
The park will be open from 9 am until 5 pm Wednesday - Sunday through March 14; admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children 7-12. From March 15-October 31, the park is open 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 Dog Tracking and 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. An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the park 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.