Why will 2010 be a big year for Kentucky?

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 © Mats Tooming | Dreamstime.com
© Mats Tooming | Dreamstime.com

Because the best of the best will compete in two separate events.

  • The World Equestrian Games
  • September 25 to October 10, 2010
  • Kentucky Horse Park

For 16 days, world-class equestrian athletes in eight different sports will compete for world titles.

This is the first time the WEG will be held in the US. Think about it … just that distinction makes it a Very Big Deal.

Five hundred thousand spectators are expected. More than 900 horses are expected to compete.

Just those numbers make it bigger than the Kentucky Derby, which only attracts about 125,00 spectators.

Is your head swimming from all these numbers?

Not an annual event

Then, howzabout this — the WEG is like the Olympics, only it’s horses. Just equestrian competitions.

Like the Olympics, the WEG is held every four years, but two years away from the Summer Olympics.

Not every equestrian sport will be represented at the WEG, only eight. But there are SO many, when you think about it.

But that’s more than you can see at the Olympics, which only offers dressage, eventing and show jumping.

The WEG includes those Olympic equestrian sports along with reining, para-equestrian, vaulting, driving and endurance.

FWIW, in case any of those sports look unfamiliar, we’ll talk more about those in future posts. For now, you can see some in the WEG banner video on the site.

Tickets go on sale in fall 2009. So, if you’d like to go, start saving and planning now.

WEG on TV

But, if you’d prefer the comfort of your home to the crowds, NBC will broadcast six live hours on the weekends of the event, plus a yet-to-be-announced schedule of online coverage.

The other event recently announced as coming to Kentucky in 2010 is:

  • The Breeders Cup
  • Tentatively scheduled for Nov. 5 and 6, 2010
  • Churchill Downs, Louisville

The fastest thoroughbreds will meet for two days under the legendary Twin Spires that symbolize the Kentucky Derby.

 © Mats Tooming | Dreamstime.com
© Mats Tooming | Dreamstime.com

Horses of both sexes will compete in different divisions on the track and on the turf.

This year’s and next year’s Breeders Cup will be held at Santa Anita in California.

Each year, at least one race on the card generates excitement. This year’s marquee runners are said to be the current richest horse in the world Curlin and this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, finally to meet in the Breeders Cup Classic.

ESPN will provide live coverage of both days of this year’s Breeder’s Cup.

Again, if the idea of attending the Breeder’s Cup excites you, my suggestion is to start saving and planning now. Those tickets won’t be cheap, either.

Now, my advice? Start saving up and planning now, if you want to attend either, let alone both, of these events.

In future posts, we’ll talk about logistics and lodging and those other whatnots of travel, especially in these trying (now, there’s an understatement) financial times.

I used to live in Kentucky, plus I often (well, not often enough) return as a tourist to see the things that I didn’t have time to see when I was living and working there.

Horse Costumes for Pets

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We wrap up our costume parade with horse costumes for pets. You can find costumes for babies, children and adults at these links.

Yes, those creatures with four legs who aren’t equines. They don’t have to be left out, either.

Zarkava of Arc

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A few weeks ago, we lost thoroughbred champion Genuine Risk, who caused a cultural sensation in 1980 by beating the boys in that year’s Kentucky Derby.

Could a 3-year-old European filly step into her shoes as the girl who can beat the boys?

Undefeated in six (now seven) starts, Zarkava clobbered the boys and older, more experienced, horses in Europe’s richest and most celebrated horse race, the Arc , more formally known as The Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Sponsored by the nation of Qatar, which has boosted the purse, it is now the second richest horse race in the world at $5.58 million. The richest is the Dubai World Cup. But The Arc was a legendary race and a desired win before Qatar sweetened the pot.

A campaign by a group of American’s to win The Arc was a plot-line in Jane Smiley’s novel “Horse Heaven.” One of my favorite books, as listed to the right.

Check out Zarkava’s break-from-the-pack victory on this video: Zarkava wins the Arc

The Arc is a mile and a half, the same distance as the third jewel in the US Triple Crown The Belmont Stakes, but run on turf (grass.) The homestretch in such a race is a test of endurance.

That a filly races with colts and older horses is rare. For her to win, rarer still.

Horse Costumes for Children

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First, to our readers who subscribe to our site via RSS feeds (updates, like a digest):

I noticed in my last night’s email reader that the animation of the babies in horse costumes was replaced by the text “Amazon Widget.” Bummer!

So, those of you who keep up with us here in a reader or via email updates, you’ll need to click to the site here to see the fun costume parade, which is displayed in an animated gallery and includes caption commentaries.

Anyway, I hope you’re enjoying seeing the variety and creativity that goes into these costumes.

So, let’s get on with the show.

We continue our horse costume parade. Check out the costumes for babies .