Kentucky Gathering brings music, food to National Horse Show

Aaron Vale, who tied for second, urges his mount Wodka L. over the wall during the Alltech National Horse Show $50,000 Puissance at Alltech Arena in Lexington, Ky., Fri., November 2, 2012. Photo by Matt Goins
Aaron Vale, who tied for second, urges his mount Wodka L. over the wall during the Alltech National Horse Show $50,000 Puissance at Alltech Arena in Lexington, Ky., Fri., November 2, 2012. Photo by Matt Goins Herald-Leader

The Alltech National Horse Show returns to the Kentucky Horse Park this week with a wide array of activities designed to attract even those outside the horsey set.

This year, title sponsor Alltech, the giant Nicholasville-based animal nutrition company, has added The Kentucky Gathering, modeled on Ireland's Gathering, a cultural celebration. Alltech, founded by Ireland-born Pearse Lyons, participated in the Irish version with a craft brewing and distilling convention in Dublin in July and brought the idea back to Kentucky.

"Kentucky is a brilliant state, one with a rich heritage and promising future, so we are honored to be able to gather together for a celebration of that culture and spirit," Lyons said in September. "The Kentucky Gathering will highlight the best of Kentucky, just as The Gathering in my native Ireland has done for Ireland this year."

The Kentucky Gathering at Alltech Arena at the Horse Park will include family-friendly activities and Savor Kentucky, with offerings from local master brewers and music.

Lexington restaurants also are joining in. Through sunday, participating locally owned restaurants will offer a $25 prix fixe menu of full-course specialty meals as part of Dine Lexington Restaurant Week. Patrons will get half off admission to the horse show with a restaurant receipt. Menus for participating restaurants are on Dine Lexington's Facebook page.


Here are the main Kentucky Gathering and National Horse Show events. All take place at Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park, 4089 Iron Works Parkway in Lexington, unless otherwise noted.

Oct. 29

Alltech National Horse Show starts. Competitions from 8 a.m. onward. Free.

Oct. 30

American Saddlebred Night. 7 p.m. Free.

Oct. 31

Indoor trick-or-treating. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Free.

$100,000 Double H Farm Open Jumpers. 7 p.m. International show jumpers will compete. $10.

Nov. 1

Outdoor family-friendly activities. Noon-7 p.m. Bouncy houses, pony rides, face painting and mini jumping course that mimics equestrian show jumping. Free.

Free hourly trolleys from Fifth Third Pavilion downtown to Alltech Arena. 1-11 p.m.

Savor Kentucky. 2-8 p.m. Food and drink sampling event featuring Kentucky craft beer, bourbon and food. Free for food sampling, but $10 for beer and bourbon sampling (includes sampling tokens and commemorative pilsner glass).

Barn Night in the Bluegrass. About 5:30 p.m. Equestrians around the region will gather at the Alltech Arena to show "barn spirit" throughout the night with attire, banners and cheers. Registered participants will be eligible to win prizes, including a trip for four to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in Normandy, France. $10 for all horse show events.

Lifeforce Elite Puissance. 7 p.m. A high-jump competition for equestrians in which horse and rider will leap a wall that rises with each round of competition. World-class equestrians will attempt to clear heights as high as 7 feet. $10 for all horse show events.

Nov. 2

The Biggest Loser RunWalk. Featuring Jackie and Dan Evans from NBC's weight-loss reality TV show. 5K and 15K, 8:30 a.m. 1-mile kids fun run, 11:30 a.m. Registration required at or on race day; prices vary.

Outdoor family-friendly activities. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. See listing for Nov. 1.

Savor Kentucky. Noon-8 p.m. See listing for Nov. 1.

Free trolleys. Noon-11 p.m. See listing for Nov. 1.

$250,000 Alltech Grand Prix. 7 p.m. Crown jewel of the horse show, with former Olympians and top international show jumpers competing. $20.

Nov. 3

ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Final. Competition starts at 7 a.m., final rounds at 3 p.m. Qualifying national junior riders will be judged. $10.