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By Judy Clabes
With all the pomp and circumstance due a $1 million collection of grand, historic memorabilia, the trophy collection of the National Horse Show was ushered into the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, in anticipation of the opening of the Alltech National Horse Show this week.
The trophies had already been given special treatment in their transport from the vaults of Tiffany and Cartier in New York City. In Kentucky they were met by the Kentucky National Guard as they made their way to the Horse Park.
There they were met by John Nicholson, executive director of the park, Kentucky’s First Lady Jane Beshear, National Horse Show Association President Mason Phelps, and Alltech President Dr. Pearce Lyons and Mrs. Lyons, as well as Kentucky Horse Park foundation executives and city and state officials.
They got the white glove treatment as some of them were uncrated and placed on display pedestals on the stage.
The trophy collection dates back to the 1700s and has an estimated value of more than $1 million worth of silver.
They will find a permanent home at the Kentucky Horse Park, just as it is hoped the National Horse Show has found a permanent home there.
“Bringing the National Horse Show to the Horse Capital of the World, where it belongs, is a continuation of what we were able to do last year with the Alltech World Equestrian games,” said Dr. Lyons.
Nicholson spoke of a “signal day in the history of the Horse Park,” that is the latest reflection that the Kentucky Horse Park has become the “leading facility in the world,” paying back the investment made in it.
“We have attracted 14 new major events to the park since the World Equestrian Games, including the Alltech National Horse Show,” Nicholson said. “This is a return of $44.2 million new dollars for Kentucky and the Bluegrass.”
First Lady Beshear spoke of the “new legacy event” and the affection Kentuckians hold for horses. She noted that the fabled Thoroughbred accounts for only one-third the horses the Kentucky, whose rich heritage includes a wide array of breeds, including the hunter-jumper horses showcased by the National Horse Show.
“Kentucky holds a genuine, interconnected bond to horses and the equine industry as a whole,” said Mrs. Beshear. “Hosting this renowned event and historical collection of trophies is a perfect partnership and yet another example of why our Commonwealth is known as the Horse Capitol of World. I encourage every Kentuckian to take the opportunity to experience some of the world class competition and visit the exceptional trophy exhibit during this year’s Alltech National Horse Show.”
As the ceremony took place, exhibitors were busy at work setting up their exhibits and crews were working diligently to put everything in place for the opening. The show runs from November 2-6.
Tickets for the Alltech National Horse Show, ranging from $10-$30, are on sale and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. Fifty percent of each ticket sold benefits select local and national charities. Children under 12 are free accompanied by an adult and arking at the Kentucky Horse Park is free during the event. For more information about the Alltech National Horse Show, visit www.nhs2011.org.
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