Tourist Attraction

Oldham Ahead, tourism
to offer horse farm tours

Tours will provide unique look
inside equine industry

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (May 2012) – Many Oldham County residents feel like they are surrounded by beautiful horse farms that no one else knows about, even though they lie right in the middle of the Bluegrass State. In an effort to draw more attention to these working farms, two local groups have cooperated to promote the equine industry through a day-long series of horse farm tours.
The newly created Oldham County Horse Farm Tour is a fundraising event for Oldham Ahead. The organization’s mission is to enhance the county’s natural and cultural resources while sustaining its equine, agricultural and commercial base.
“Oldham Ahead wanted to showcase and draw attention to the fabulous horse farms we have in Oldham County,” said Kim Buckler, executive director of the Oldham County Tourist Commission. She was contacted by Oldham Ahead Executive Director Louise Allen to make this event a large tourism draw for the county.
“Oldham County Tourism is fully aware of the impact our horse farms have on the industry,” said Buckler. “We have been trying to develop an ongoing relationship with our farms to generate interest in tours.”
Allen, who took over the reigns of Oldham Ahead in 2011, said, “We wanted to feature the horse industry in our first annual Farm Tour. We want people to know how important horses are to Oldham County. In the future, we’d like to expand this tour to all different types of farms.”
Buckler said that “we have so many fabulous, well-respected horse farms in Oldham County, but unless you happen to drive by them, you don’t have the opportunity to see them.” She said Tourism has had feedback from several out-of-town visitors who have stayed at Bluegrass Country Estate Equine Bed & Breakfast in L’Esprit. Visitors comment that the horse farms they pass on their way to the B&B are representative of what they picture the state to look like before they actually visit Kentucky.
The Oldham County Horse Farm Tour will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 27, highlighting four farms lying along the Hwy. 42 corridor in Goshen. These include Alta Vista Farm, Flying Cross Farm, Hermitage Farm and Mason Lane Farm. The latter farm is noted for its large LEED Certified Farm Operations Facility, which includes a barn made of bamboo. A visit to Hermitage Farm will include a boxed lunch and “meet the jockey” session.
In addition to these four farms, Asbourne Farms will play host to a Farm-to-Table dinner at 6:30 p.m. This farm is well known for its grass-fed beef, said Buckler. Tickets for the dinner are $75, while the cost of the tours is $50 for adults and $10 for children under 12 years of age. A bluegrass band will entertain guests, while Farm-To-Forks Catering will serve the meal.
Some of the farms were asked to be on the tour and some volunteered, said Allen. She noted that it will “be good exposure for the farms. People will know they are there.”
For example, people may not know that Flying Cross farm is a good training facility, she said. The same thing is practiced there that is done at the national Rolex three-day event held at the Lexington Horse Park over the last weekend in April.
This tour will “feature the special character of Oldham County’s rural areas and demonstrate the economic importance of the horse industry to Oldham County and to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Most people don’t realize that Oldham County has such a large population of horse farms and that they are very important to the horse racing and show industry in Kentucky,” Buckler said.
Visitors who want to experience more than one day at the horse farms may want to purchase a special weekend Bed & Breakfast Getaway Package. This special includes accommodations for two on May 26-27 at the Bluegrass Country Estate Equine B&B. Numerous amenities accompany this stay.
A fascinating feature about the Oldham County Horse Farm Tour is that many different disciplines in the horse industry will be featured in action with live demonstrations at farms not generally open to the public, she said. “The tour will give folks a unique experience and a look inside the horse industry in Oldham County and Kentucky.”
Allen said demonstrations such as jumping, dressage, and carriage driving at Hermitage Farm will make this tour unique. Also during this tour, visitors will be able to view the new international horse center at Hermitage Farm, installed by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson.
The Oldham County Horse Farm Tour is a shuttled bus tour with free parking at Alta Vista Farm and Mason Lane Farm.

• For more information, contact Kim Buckler at (502) 243-9353 or visit www.OldhamCountyFarmTour.com.

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