Department of Tourism
"Kentucky Unbridled Spirit" Colt Kicks Off Shelbyville Horse Show
FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Saddlebred yearling named Kentucky Unbridled Spirit made his public debut Thursday July 26 at the kickoff breakfast for the 16th annual Shelbyville Horse Show. The breakfast, which was attended by about 200 people including several state elected and administrative officials, was held at Undulata Farm near Shelbyville and hosted by its owner, Ed Bennett.
Bennett officially registered the colt’s name on the same day in November 2004 that Governor Ernie Fletcher unveiled the state’s new brand, Kentucky Unbridled Spirit, which citizens selected to replace several outworn and ineffective state slogans. The debutante colt, which is stabled at Undulata, will begin to be shown next year, when he turns three years old.
More than 450 Saddlebred horses from throughout the U.S. will compete for trophies, ribbons and monetary prizes at this year’s Shelbyville Horse Show, Aug. 3-6.
The show, at the Shelby County Fair Grounds, is a seven-time winner of the National Honor Show awarded by members of the United Professional Horsemen’s Association. It has become known in the Saddlebred circuit as “the last stop before Louisville,” with some of the country’s best show horses competing and preparing for the World’s Championship Horse Show at the Kentucky State Fair in mid-August.
Organizers of the four-night show project attendance of 5,000 to 7,000 spectators per night. “It’s grown to this from nothing in 15 years,” said Charlie Kramer, executive director of the Shelbyville-Shelby County Tourism Commission. “The first year some local ladies fixed the food. Now we have to have caterers, and even they can’t keep up.
“We’ve had to limit the number of horses and asked the trainers not to bring too many,” Kramer said.
A popular attraction of the show is the Horseman’s Club, a two-story pavilion featuring cocktails, buffet dinner and nightly entertainment after the show. Past and present governors, senators, congressmen and celebrities have been known to enjoy the festivities from the posh confines of the Horsemen’s Club. Veteran actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame is an expected exhibitor this year.
“Due to the larger than ever crowd expected this year, we have expanded the number of tables available in the pavilion,” said Don Baker, president of the board of directors.
More than 100 volunteers, most from the Shelby County area, provide the logistical support to make the event a success. Kim Crumpler, horse owner and trainer from Oldham County, will judge the 57 classes for American Saddlebreds and Hackney Ponies. R.H. Bennett of Shelbyville is the show’s manager.
In addition to the equine competition, the festivities include a youth art exhibit, an adult amateur arts show, a golf scramble, and two concerts, one especially for children. “The horse show is the big event, but we have entertainment for all kinds of visitors,” Kramer said.
The Shelby County Fair Grounds is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 60 and Ky. 53 in Shelbyville. The competition begins nightly at 7 p.m. General admission is $5 or $15 for a four-day pass, which includes parking. Children under 6 are admitted free. Tickets to the Horsemen’s Club are $45 nightly and include hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Boxes are sold out.
For more information, call Don Baker at 502-321-4452 or visit www.shelbyvillehorseshow.com.
The Kentucky Department of Tourism, an agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, exists to promote The Commonwealth as a travel destination, generate revenue and create jobs for Kentucky’s economy.