As a little girl, Meg Jewett used to ride her pony around the hills and hollows of her great-grandfather's farm, Walnut Hall Farm, in northern Fayette County.
Founded in 1892 by Lamon V. Harkness, a partner in Standard Oil, the farm spread to more than 5,000 acres and became one of the country's most important Standardbred breeding operations.
About 1,200 acres of Jewett's old riding trails became the Kentucky Horse Park, where she has been a long-time booster. Jewett also started the upscale L.V. Harkness gift shop in downtown Lexington.
Now, Jewett says, those stands have come together in time for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will present trophies and medals conceived and donated to the winners by Jewett.
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"This means a great deal to us," Jewett said Thursday at the unveiling of the etched glass trophies at L.V Harkness. "We know these will become heirlooms forever."
Jewett became a Games sponsor three and a half years ago, and she and her employees began thinking about the trophies. Jewett immediately connected with Moser Crystal, a company in the Czech Republic that had produced other works for her shop.
The results are 16 crystal trophies—eight for the team championships, eight for individual winners.
For the eight team championships, each is a curve of glass etched with a representation of the discipline being performed in front of a four-plank fence and the skyline of the Horse Park. One shows a rider pulling his reining horse back on his hocks for the reining team championship, another depicts horse and rider jumping over a fence.
It's both an emotional and financial commitment for Jewett — each of the eight team trophies is worth about $50,000.
The hand engraving was done by seven master engravers at Moser, Jewett said.
For the individual trophies, a Russian company used laser etching to create three-dimensional riders in a crystal block. The winning competitors will also receive gold medals and $1.5 million in prize money spread among the eight disciplines.
"We are thrilled to be involved with the Games," said Jewett.
Fans also will be able to buy commemorative medals being produced by a local company, Bluegrass Medallions, which was formed in time for the Games.
Jay Bertram, the company's owner, said the medals — which range from $59.95 for antique bronze to $229.95 for gold-plated — will serve as a memento for many visitors who come to the Games. They are also selling smaller necklace versions.
They can be bought online or at the Horse Park during the Games.
"I wanted there to be a special medallion to symbolize the Games being in Lexington," Bertram said. "This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Bertram said he's starting a co-branding program that would allow equestrian organizations and other businesses to have their logo on one side of the WEG medallion.