Tuesday and Wednesday morning Keeneland and Visit Horse Country hosted a Horses & Hospitality event. The goal of this event was to show hospitality professionals in central Kentucky how accessible the horse industry has become. The first part of day was held in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion. Horse farms & industry vendors were positioned throughout the building with their enticing and educational displays. Food and beverages were provided by Keeneland and included a coffee bar, beignets (my favorite), country ham biscuits, North Lime doughnuts, fresh fruit juice and more.
Upon arriving at Keeneland guests had the opportunity to earn Keeneland bucks, one hundred dollar playbills, by answering trivia questions at each vendor’s booth. For example, at The Breeder’s Cup booth guests were asked to match three horses to the Breeder’s Cup race that they had won. At the end of the event our earnings were used to bid on door prizes provided by a few of the vendors. The mock auction was held in the real auction room and was conducted by the auctioneers that oversee sales at Keeneland.
After the auction we were split into separate groups to tour a few of the Visit Horse Country partnered farms. Each farm is unique and visitors are encouraged to treat this experience like the Bourbon Trail and tour all of the facilities. All of the farms are accessible and within the Lexington area and tours available year round and are open to the general public.
Darien, our intern for the semester and I chose to visit Winstar Farm. I can’t believe I’ve lived in Lexington almost 9 years and haven’t done a horse tour yet. I was like a kid in a candy store. We weren’t allowed to pet the horses and it took all I had to reframe from it. Our tour guide, Olivia was phenomenal. She answered all of our questions and walked us through their farm operations. Honestly I’m going to make going to horse farms much higher on my priority list of things to do. It’s amazing how much we have right here in Lexington and surrounding areas to offer us as residents and tourists!
Huge thank you to Keeneland and Visit Horse Country for such a phenomenal day. It takes a lot to impress us, but they nailed it! I can’t wait to share all I learned with my couples that have out of town guests coming in!