[LEXINGTON, Ky.] – Whether they’re admired from a distance on a country drive or cherished as everyday riding companions, horses evoke a sense of cultural pride for Kentuckians. Alltech’s first-ever Kentucky Gathering, Oct. 29-Nov. 3, will foster the bond between Kentuckians and horses by bringing world-class equestrian competition of the Alltech National Horse Show to the Bluegrass.
The Alltech National Horse Show will serve as one of many family-friendly attractions during Alltech’s first-ever Kentucky Gathering, a celebration of horses, heritage and hops held at the Alltech Arena on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park. In addition to witnessing the impressive teamwork of horse and rider at the Alltech National Horse Show, Kentuckians are invited to enjoy samples of Kentucky crafted foods, brews and spirits at “Savor Kentucky” on Nov. 1-2; free children’s activities with bouncy castles, face painting and pony rides on Nov. 1-2; and the Biggest Loser RunWalk fitness challenge on Nov. 2.
An American equestrian tradition that started at the Madison Square Garden in 1883, the Alltech National Horse Show attracts top-tier equestrians from around the world for a variety of classes and disciplines. Olympic veterans and international competitors in the sport of show jumping will enter the ring for the Alltech Grand Prix, while the nation’s best junior riders will come to Lexington with hopes of claiming the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay title. The Alltech National Horse Show will award $850,000 in prizes – one of the largest prize pools offered on the North American show circuit. Highlights of the Alltech National Horse Show include:
- American Saddlebred Night at the Alltech Arena on Wednesday, Oct. 30 – American Saddlebreds and other gaited breeds will compete for prestigious trophies. A fun change of pace during evening events, American Saddlebred riders and well-known show jumpers will swap mounts during an exhibition round.
- Halloween Trick-or-Treat on the Concourse and the $100,000 International Open Jumpers Class on Thursday, Oct. 31 – Children can dress up in costume for a free and weatherproof trick-or-treat on the concourse of the Alltech Arena from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Favorite children’s characters including Woody and Jessie from Toy Story, Cinderella and Spiderman will be handing out candy and posing for pictures. In addition, the exciting $100,000 International Open Jumpers Class will headline events on Thursday evening.
- The $50,000 LIFEFORCE Elite™ Puissance and Barn Night in the Bluegrass on Friday, Nov. 1 – Horse and rider will need power, athleticism and confidence to clear a towering wall as high as 7 feet during the LIFEFORCE Elite™ Puissance, the thrilling high jump competition of equestrian sport. Only a select group of elite riders participate in the Puissance, an event in which competitors jump over a wall that rises with each round of competition until only one horse and rider remain.
Also on Friday night, young equestrians, members of equine clubs and horse lovers from around the region will gather for Barn Night in the Bluegrass, presented by Group C. Youth who show “barn spirit” during evening events will have a chance to win prizes including a trip for four to attend the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy. Advance registration is required to be eligible to win prizes and is available at www.alltechnationalhorseshow.com/barnnight. Registered participants are admitted to the show for free on Friday night. Barn Night in the Bluegrass is supported in part by Sidelines magazine and the Kentucky Horse Council.
- The $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix on Saturday, Nov. 2 – The ultimate course test for show jumpers, the Alltech Grand Prix is the crown jewel for equestrians competing at the Alltech National Horse Show. Top-level riders will race against the clock to complete a series of obstacles as high as 5 ½ feet without knocking down any jumps.
- The ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Final on Sunday, Nov. 3 – The Alfred B. Maclay Championship represents the final competition for junior riders and will be held on Sunday, Nov. 3. Qualifying riders from regions around the country will strive for equestrian perfection as they perform a series of riding tests. The winner will join a list of legendary riders who have gone on to successful careers in equestrian sport.
The Alltech National Horse Show also serves as a fundraising event for JustWorld International, the Equestrian Aid Foundation and the United States Equestrian Team Foundation. Fifty percent of door ticket sales will be donated to each organization on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights respectively.
During events, spectators can enjoy boutique shopping and equine-themed gifts available on the concourse of the Alltech Arena. A nod to the glamorous history of the Alltech National Horse Show, the Arena’s Gracie Street Garden designed by Dougie Mutch contains luxurious interiors and historic photos. Food and beverages are available around the concourse and at Pearse’s Place, an Irish-inspired pub where televisions will play the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 1-2 and other national sporting events.
The show is free and open to the public during daytime events. Tickets for prime-time events on Thursday and Friday evenings and Sunday’s Maclay Final are $10 at the door. Tickets to Saturday evening’s Alltech Grand Prix are $20 at the door. Ticket buyers can receive a 20 percent discount when purchasing tickets in advance online at AlltechNationalHorseShow.com. Patrons of the Kentucky Gathering’s Dine Lexington! Restaurant Week can also receive half-off admission to the Alltech National Horse Show with a receipt from a participating restaurant. Children ages 12 and younger are always admitted to the show for free. Evening ticketing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights will start at 5 p.m. and prime-time events begin at 7 p.m.