When was the last time you brought a non-horse person close to a horse? I mean really went out of your way to make sure they got to see and touch a horse. When was the last time you introduced a “horsey” friend to your breed or discipline? Let them realize why you have horses in your life, whether as an owner, rider, or horse lover.

My cousin grew up in Lexington, but not around horses. His oldest daughter (who is 11) is as horse crazy as my daughter of the same age, although my daughter has ridden since she was five. My cousin and his family came home to Lexington to visit, and for her birthday the oldest daughter wanted to visit Keeneland Race Course and see the Blue Grass Stakes.

I’ve always remembered what a friend of mine in the Thoroughbred business said about people falling in love with horses: All you have to do is let a horse breathe on them. In other words, get a person up close and personal with a four-legged representative and let the horse do the rest.

So, the day before the Blue Grass Stakes, we went touring a couple of the top Thoroughbred farms. At Robert Clay’s Three Chimneys Farm, we were privileged to watch one of only two living Triple Crown winners, Seattle Slew, cover a mare.

Then at Sheikh Maktoum’s Gainsborough Farm, we not only saw an hours-old foal out for its first romp in a paddock with its dam, but got to stop and pet (under farm supervision and with permission, of course) several youngsters and their dams, including the champion racemare Hatoof and her first colt, who has the pedigree to be a champion himself. At the stallion barn, we saw Preakness and Belmont Stakes winne