As a life-long lover of horses and having recently re-located to Lexington, Kentucky –the “Horse Capital of the World”–it seemed only fitting that my first book showcase both the horse and the region that it made famous.

More than a year ago, when my editor and I first embarked on this project, we just had the idea that the book would make a fitting companion for people who would be coming to the 2010 World Equestrian Games at the Kentucky Horse Park. It would serve as a sort of reference guide for those enthusiasts as to how the Bluegrass Region got to be the center of the horse universe, as well as a practical guide on places to go outside of the Games.

Over the course of the year I spent researching the book, however, it sort of took on a life of its own. No longer did I want it to be just a chronicle of places to visit, stay and eat. As I peeled back the layers of the area’s rich 200-plus year Thoroughbred history, as I learned the stories, the triumphs and tragedies, I wanted it to be a tribute to all those Ð human and equine that made it the fascinating industry and compelling saga that it is. I hope I have done it justice, and I hope that you will find Horse Lover’s Guide to Kentucky and its companion blog a valuable resource in beginning or continuing your own love affair with these magnificent animals.

Patti Nickell

Patti Nickell is an award-winning freelance travel writer whose assignments have taken her to 101 countries and six continents, where she has gotten plenty of fodder for her bi-monthly travel features in the Lexington Herald-Leader. Her work has als