Alltech, the Nicholasville-based global animal nutrition giant that was the name sponsor of the FEI World Equestrian Games, has agreed to be the title sponsor of the prestigious National Horse Show, which is moving to the Kentucky Horse Park in November to hold its 128th show.
The deal, announced Thursday by Alltech founder Pearse Lyons, follows Alltech's multimillion-dollar sponsorship of last year's games in Lexington and of the 2014 games in Normandy, France.
"The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games were transformative for Alltech and the community of Lexington," Lyons said in a statement. "Opportunity once again literally landed in our backyard with the National Horse Show, and Alltech is ... eager to ensure its success in Lexington, the famed Horse Capital of the World."
Mason Phelps Jr., president of the National Horse Show, said the show is "very happy" to be holding its event in the Alltech Arena. The $40 million indoor facility, which will host the Ariat Kentucky Reining Cup this weekend as part of the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, was built before the 2010 games with the hope of luring new events to the Horse Park.
Phelps said he hopes the partnership will be a multi-year deal. No dollar figures were released, but Phelps said prize money for the horse show's Grand Prix and related classes will be "substantial," and more than previous years. Total prize money in 2010 was more than $500,000, the highest on the indoor jumping circuit, according to the National Horse Show Web site.
"We're absolutely thrilled with this relationship," Phelps said.
Asked whether Alltech would be putting a special stamp on the show, he said: "It's definitely going to be the Alltech National Horse Show in the Alltech Arena."
The National Horse Show is the nation's oldest indoor hunter-jumper horse show and attracts thousands of competitors as well as spectators to the sport of show-jumping.
For 119 years, the event was held in Madison Square Garden in New York, before moving to Syracuse, N.Y.
The show also features the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Finals for junior riders, the top equitation competition for U.S. riders under 18. The championship judges the rider's form and control rather than that of the horse and has produced Olympic-caliber riders.
The National Horse Show Association board announced in February that the 128th edition would be coming to Kentucky from Nov. 2-6.
"We're thrilled that Alltech has joined forces with the National Horse Show for its debut in Kentucky," Phelps said in a news release. "This great American horse show has a long-standing reputation for excellence, so partnering with Alltech ... makes this a perfect match."
Phelps said the sponsorship with Alltech was engineered with the help of Horse Park director John Nicholson, who said the deal was the fruit of the World Equestrian Games.
"This is the latest in what has been a series of great events for Kentucky and the Kentucky Horse Park," Nicholson said. "It has become clear that the Alltech National Horse Show will return this event to its glory even faster than we had anticipated."
"This is the latest example of the positive legacy of the investment that's been made in the Kentucky Horse Park. What we thought would happen in the wake of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games has happened."