Mark Taylor says the older he gets, the more adventurous he becomes.
So on Saturday, the Lexington resident hopped on a horse for the first time and took a short ride during Hats Off to Kentucky's Horse Industry Day at the Kentucky Horse Park.
By the time the ride was over, Taylor was mulling the idea of going on a trail ride.
"It would be something different," he said. "Nothing we've ever done!"
Taylor's daughters, Jaleesa and Tyra, gave the experience a thumbs up too.
"I can cross it off my bucket list," a beaming Tyra, 14, said after her ride.
Hats Off Day is the only day of the year when visitors may spend an entire day at the horse park with free admission.
In the afternoon and evening, there were special activities, from stick-horse crafts, inflatables and face-painting for the children to an equine-themed book fair, the chance to meet Hall of Fame jockeys and the Rood & Riddle Kentucky Grand Prix horse jumping competition.
The goal of the event is to promote and celebrate Kentucky's horse industry.
"Gotta teach the kids about horses," said Philip Holland of Lexington, whose daughter Rachel, 10, had just taken a pony ride. "You can't live in Kentucky and not know about horses."
That is especially important to Glenda Mayhorn of Clay City, who brought her family, including 2-year-old granddaughter Reagan.
"Anything to get her more into horses is a plus," Mayhorn said.
The family owns Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horses, and Reagan already enjoys riding them. Mayhorn hopes Reagan will have a career in the horse industry someday.
"This is something that needs to be encouraged," she said. "Kentucky needs to focus on the kids and the horses."
Hats Off Day also serves as a fundraiser for the Kentucky Equine Humane Center and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation. More than $700,000 has been raised since the event started in 2003.
Terry Box said he comes out every year. On Saturday, he was there with his son, daughter and granddaughter.
"The horse is the main thing," he said. "The free doesn't hurt."
By late afternoon, the family had taken in some shows, walked through the museum and were prepared for an evening of show jumping.
"They've always got a lot of activities," Box said. "It's just a great family outing."