A few weekends ago I did something I’m not sure I’ve done beforeÑI helped set a record. More than 50,800 people flocked to the 1,224-acre Kentucky Horse Park on Oct. 2 to watch cross-country competition, browse exhibits and a trade fair, witness famous trainers’ demonstrations, and soak in the wonder that was the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG). That was the highest one-day attendence the Park had ever seen. The point I’d like to emphasize is that a sizable portion of this crowd wasn’t what you’d consider a collection of “horse people.” For example, two of my non-horsey friends each coughed up the $45 admission and decided to see for themselves this cross-country thing I’ve been gushing about for years. And I must tell you: Almost as compelling as the action at the second water jump complex were the smiles on my friends’ faces as they realized the beauty and thrills equestrian events have to offer. (At right see my friends’ daughter meeting a horse for the first time!)
As we picnicked on a hill, with the likes of Karen O’Connor, William Fox-Pitt, and others navigating various cross-country “questions,” or obstacles/combinations in front of us, thousands of people milled about, cheered, and waved various nations’ flags. The experience was infectious, and not in the usual context of that word’s use in this magazine. The park was alive with an enthusiasm for the horseÑand not just one particular type of horse or discipline. All horses were respected and celebrated.
The many groups responsible for planning various aspects of WEG, and Central Kentucky in general, rolled out the welcome mat for