Horses

Top eventing rider Townend opts out of WEG

Oliver Townend on Ashdale Cruise Master jumped the high brush corner at the head of the lake at the 2010 Rolex Three Day Event at the Kentucky Hose Park in Lexington.
Oliver Townend on Ashdale Cruise Master jumped the high brush corner at the head of the lake at the 2010 Rolex Three Day Event at the Kentucky Hose Park in Lexington.

Top British eventing rider Oliver Townend has taken himself off of Britain's reserve list for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Instead, he will concentrate on defending his title at the Burghley three-day event in his home country and for qualification in the London Olympics in 2012, according to his Web site.

Townend, 27, who has achieved star status in England because of his riding skills and movie star looks, came to Kentucky last spring in hopes of winning the Rolex Grand Slam of three-day eventing — that is, winning the Burghley and Badminton events in England and the Rolex Three-Day Event in Lexington in the same year. However, he had a terrible fall on the cross-country course at Rolex in April that resulted in a broken sternum, shoulder, four ribs and collarbone.

■ There will be some free parking at the Games — if you're riding a bike. Those who choose to take the new Legacy Trail from downtown or from Coldstream Research Park to the Kentucky Horse Park will be able ride directly to the "bike farm" in the Horse Park's campground parking lot. A lock will be required. The Legacy Trail will open Sept. 12. Car parking will be next to the Horse Park and will cost $20 per car.

In more biking news, Mayor Jim Newberry announced that the last day of the Games, Oct. 10, will be a Second Sunday in Lexington, where the city closes downtown streets to cars and opens them to bikers and pedestrians.

■ The Games got a big mention in the September Southern Living. The Best of the South section features a full-page picture from the Rolex Three-Day Event at the Horse Park. The following page highlights the Games and its related activities, including the visitor pavilions at the park and Spotlight Lexington.

■ The Games are turning Lexington into a hub of sport horse activity. A new group, the Kentucky Equine Networking Association (KENA), invites interested horsemen and women to join in a kickoff networking event and dinner hosted at Spindletop Hall on Sept. 16. The topic of the presentation by retired Army colonel, horse owner and strategic consultant Walter Herd is "Threats to American Equestrianism."

KENA is an educational and networking group, targeted specifically at those who participate in breeding and reproductive services, instruction, training and boarding. For more information and registration, visit Kyequinenetwork.org.

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