Equestrian festival kicks off downtown

International Equestrian Festival organizers are setting up at the Lexington Convention Center for 16 days of horse heaven.

The festival, which runs concurrent to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games but is not affiliated with it, begins Saturday and goes through Oct. 10.

Horse experts, including Monty Roberts, best-selling author of The Man Who Listens to Horses, will give live demonstrations. The festival, which is open daily from 1 to 9 p.m., also has breed appreciation days, live entertainment, equine seminars, shopping, and horse farm tours. The event schedule is online at

Tickets to the IEF are $5 at the door; coverage of the festival will be live on HRTV.

The IEF's Equine Spirit Parade through downtown Lexington begins Sunday night at 6 p.m. at Midland and Main.

■ During a Friday afternoon rehearsal for Saturday night's WEG opening ceremonies, a participant was involved in an accident. According to an e-mail from WEG spokeswoman Amy Walker, medical personnel responded and took one person to the University of Kentucky's Chandler Hospital for a potential injury. No details were available Friday on who was involved or the severity of the injury, Walker said. Two horses involved were examined by veterinarians; both horses were cleared, Walker said.

■ Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear will be the official starter for Sunday's endurance competition, which begins at 7 a.m. The park opens at 6 a.m. Both Gov. Steve Beshear and Jane Beshear will attend the opening ceremonies Saturday night.

"Kentucky has spent several years preparing for this event and, as opening day approaches, we are especially grateful to the sponsors, the thousands of volunteers and those who bought tickets who will help make the first World Equestrian Games hosted in America a great success," Governor Beshear said in a statement Friday. "Jane and I are excited to see the games get underway and hope all Kentuckians take the opportunity to visit the games or watch coverage of the games on NBC Sports."

■ Normandy, the host of the 2014 World Games, will have a delegation of 100 people, including officials from the French government, representatives of food companies, top chefs and tourism professionals, at the Kentucky Horse Park. The France-Normandy Pavilion near the lake and main stadium will feature tourism information, booths, presentations on Normandy's horse industry and cooking activities, including free cooking lessons by Les Toques Rebelles, the association of great Norman chefs.

■ Outdoor concertgoers got a little wet Friday night as a rain front moved through Kentucky, but it should be clear skies and comfortable temperatures this weekend for the opening of WEG.

According to the National Weather Service in Louisville, temperatures are projected to be in the mid-70s for much of the day Saturday, possibly dipping as low as 50 at night.

Temperatures are expected to remain in that fall-like range through Tuesday, but beginning Sunday afternoon, storms and showers could make their way into the area.

■ Definite entry lists for dressage, reining and endurance have been released. Seventy-one riders from 22 countries will open the Games with reining, which starts with team competition at 9 a.m. Saturday. Endurance competition on Sunday has 107 competitors from 30 countries. Dressage, which begins Monday, has 66 competitors from 24 countries. Full entry lists are available at Entries for eventing are scheduled to be released on Sunday.