Will Kentucky Horse Park's new plan bring financial success? | Kentucky.com | The Jurga Report: Horse Health, Welfare, and Care | Scoop.it

"As a competitive venue, the Kentucky Horse Park has it all — except a way to break even financially...

"...In some ways, the Horse Park exists in a bubble of top-level competition and tourism — a popular place for riders, spectators and vendors where economic concerns seem remote."

@FranJurga writes: I thought this news story from Lexington, Kentucky was excellent in bringing some of the focus in larger and international media home to roost. While the world watches London and focuses on celebs without budgets like Zara Phillips and her $800K horse-home-on-wheels and Ann Romney's budget of $70,000 to spend caring for her Olympic dressage horse Rafalca, let's come back down to earth at a place we all know (and love): The Kentucky Horse Park.

But wait a minute. Those of us who know the Park know it to be the crossroads of the horse universe, where tourist families rub elbows with Olympic athletes.

But this article suggests that the clientele of the Park is elitist and irrelevant and that the Park has been deemed undeserving of any support from the city of Lexington. A startling revelation: Lexington funnels all its tourism tax dollars to its own convention center and convention and visitors bureau--without giving anything back to the Horse Park, which filled a lot of those hotels and restaurants. (Note: some activities of the CVB are involved with horse-related tourism.)

The Horse Park--and the horse industry--are not blameless in the existence of this oversight, and it's not just Lexington that holds this view. Far too little is being done nationwide to reach out to the public and involve them in horse sports and horse tourism. Until local and state government officials perceive horse sports as having public support and involvement, requests for taxpayer support may go unanswered.

Compare this to The Netherlands and other European countries where even privately-owned riding stables get government support for public access programs. Compare this to public support in the US for other sports venues like stadiums and to public support for other sports events.

What are we doing? What should we be doing? Why aren't we doing it?

Read much more about the culture of equestrianism and the all-important news on horse health on The Jurga Report, Fran Jurga's blog for EQUUS Magazine on equisearch.com.

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Via Susie Blackmon