During the event, which is being staged by the Kentucky 4-H Horse Program in conjunction with the University of Kentucky’s Ag Equine Programs, students from across Kentucky, as well as neighboring states, will have the opportunity to see several breeds of horses perform live demonstrations of equestrian sport in a variety of disciplines, including jumping, stock horse versatility, vaulting, driving with a variety of breeds, Arabian Horse versatility and gaited breeds, including those native to Kentucky. Other educational opportunities include up-close-and-personal sessions about vaulting, horse dentistry, therapy horses, size comparisons of different breeds and biomechanics of jockeys and racehorses.
With a theme of “Celebrating the Horse,” this year’s festival builds upon the first one held in 2010, where nearly 6,000 school-aged children representing 102 schools or groups from across Kentucky packed the venue to watch world-renowned elite equestrian athletes demonstrate the disciplines of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
“This year’s Kentucky Equine Youth Festival promises to be an educational and rewarding experience. The UK College of Agriculture is happy to join with our partner organizations in celebrating two of Kentucky’s signature assets, the horse and our youth,” said Jimmy Henning, associate dean for extension and director of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. “We are happy to be a part of this special day at the Kentucky Horse Park, as well as every day and across the state through our 4-H equine programs at our county extension offices.”
New this year is an art contest with the theme, “What Horses Mean to Kentucky.” Art entries submitted by children for the festival will be exhibited and winners will be revealed during the event.
The event’s planning partners include the Equine Academy at Lexington Catholic High School, Equine Land Conservation Resource, Kentucky Department of Education, Kentucky Equine Education Project, Kentucky Horse Council, Kentucky Horse Park, United States Equestrian Federation and the United States Pony Clubs.
The event’s major sponsors include the Bluegrass Palomino Horse Association, North American Equine Ranching Information Council, Race for Education, United States Equestrian Federation and the University of Louisville’s Equine Industry Program.