12.01.16

Tryon International Equestrian Center decked out for the Holidays.

Posted in 2018 Games, Tryon at 9:43 pm by Thomas

There looks to be lots going on in the month of December at the Tryon International Equestrian Center and they have the place all decked out for the Holidays.  We continue to hear good things about the plans for the 2018 World Equestrian Games with only 648 days until the start on September 10, 2018.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond

KyWEGO®

11.03.16

Tyron wins bid to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games.

Posted in 2018 Games, Tryon at 7:54 pm by EPR

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 will be held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina (USA) from 10 to 23 September 2018. The FEI Bureau today unanimously agreed that the Games should be awarded to Tryon, meaning that the FEI’s flagship event remains in North America, following the withdrawal of Bromont (CAN) earlier this year.

The original dates for the Games (12-26 August) have been changed following two scientific studies commissioned by the FEI which stated that climatic conditions would be significantly more favourable in North Carolina during September, particularly from a horse welfare perspective. The FEI also looked at date clashes with other fixtures on the FEI Calendar to ensure the optimum timeslot for the 2018 Games.

“We are very pleased to announce Tryon as the host of the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018”, FEI President Ingmar de Vos said. “The Tryon team submitted a really impressive bid and we have every confidence in the organising committee. It’s a truly spectacular venue and almost all the necessary infrastructure for our eight disciplines is already in place. We are looking forward to a fantastic celebration of top level sport as all the disciplines come together to crown their world champions at the Games in two years’ time.”

The Tryon International Equestrian Center, created by Mark Bellissimo in Mill Spring, North Carolina, is situated on a 1,600 acre site at the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The venue has 1,200 permanent stables, 12 arenas including a floodlit international arena with a potential spectator seating capacity of up to 12,000 and VIP seating for up to 1,500, a covered arena with 5,000 seats, and has a world-class cross country course that will be used for both Eventing and Driving. The venue is surrounded by hundreds of miles of equestrian trails for Endurance. The venue contains excellent facilities for athletes and spectators including restaurants, hospitality, accommodation, retail and resort amenities. An on-site state-of-the-art veterinary facility is currently under construction.

“We are thrilled with this news and thank the FEI Bureau for having faith in us and entrusting us with the honour of hosting this prestigious event”, Mark Bellissimo said. “It’s a really great fit for North Carolina’s equestrian heritage and we look forward to working closely with the FEI and with the USEF to produce fabulous FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018.”

The FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 were previously awarded to Bromont (CAN), but a lack of secure funding led to mutual agreement between the FEI and the Canadian Comité organisateur des Jeux Équestres Mondiaux 2018 (COJEM) to terminate the host contract in July of this year.

Following the withdrawal of Bromont, the FEI Bureau mandated the President to find a solution and, after a thorough assessment of a number of options, the President proposed that the Bureau allocate the Games to Tryon. In light of the timeframe, with the Games in less than two years, existing infrastructure was a crucial factor in the evaluation process.

The Bureau met by teleconference today (3 November) to agree the allocation and were unanimous in their support of the Tryon bid.

“The FEI is 100% committed to the FEI World Equestrian Games concept and we are extremely grateful to all those that showed interest in hosting the 2018 Games”, Ingmar de Vos said. “Their enthusiasm demonstrates the importance of the event across the equestrian community.”

10.31.16

2022 WEG Update

Posted in 2022 Games, KEEP at 8:15 pm by EPR

Notable Reports from KEEP Conference (10/21/2016)

At the recent KEEP Industry Conference the new executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park, Laura Prewitt said, confirmed plans to bid on the 2022 World Equestrian Games. The Horse Park was host to the 2010 WEG, the first time it was held outside Europe.

By the numbers:  Dr. Jill Stowe, associate professor in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture Economics and director of the UK Ag Equine Programs, provided statistics from the 2012 survey on the state’s horse industry, the first comprehensive study since 1977. Among the findings: There are 35,000 equine operations in the state with at least one horse in residence, totaling 242,400 equines (which include mules and donkeys), accounting for 40,665 jobs, 1.1 million acres devoted to equine use and with the value of equines and equine-related assets totaling $23.4 billion.

The Kentucky Equine Education Project is a grassroots organization created in 2004 to preserve, promote and protect Kentucky’s signature horse industry. Support for KEEP’s activity comes directly from the horse industry and horse industry supporters that we represent. To learn more about how you can become a member or make a contribution, please visit www.horseswork.com.

09.23.16

Kentucky in the hunt for 2022

Posted in 2022 Games at 9:37 pm by Thomas

It seems a fitting way to start the fall to be in the hunt for the 2022 FEI World Equestrian Games, with the announcement this week that we have submitted our formal letter of interest in hosting the Games to the FEI.  I am not aware of any other locations who have submitted the initial paper work for the 2022 Games at this time, but it is still early and I would expect at least 1 or 2 others, Aachen certainly being one and maybe somewhere in England for the other if not London itself.  Given how the economic cycles are running I would expect the 2022 Games to have a very positive impact on the Kentucky economy.  I have to point out the ironic fact that its been almost exactly 6 years since we hosted the 2010 Games and if we went we roughly the same dates in 2022 we are 6 years out from those, which is to say the 2022 Games will be here before we know it.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

08.31.16

WEG Roller Coaster

Posted in 2018 Games, My Thoughts, Tryon at 10:02 pm by Thomas

First, let me apologize for not having posted earlier in the month as the news was breaking in regards to Lexington and the 2018 Games.  In reality its been a busy couple of months and I knew I would need some time to put my thoughts together in a coherent way.  Obviously I was disappointed(again) when the news came out that Kentucky would be passing on making another bid for the 2018 Games.  In some ways I can’t blame that State, we made a legitimate bid last year when things initially fell through for Bromont and the FEI still went back and gave the Games to Bromont anyway.  Yes, the clean venue clause that Longines has with FEI was the reason given for us not getting the Games and on face value that was a hurdle and everyone just excepted that, but in reality I think if the FEI had wanted to clear that hurdle it could of been cleared, certainly the FEI knew of that hurdle before Lexington made its bid, so why even have Lexington make the bid in that case.  Ultimately I do not know the answers to that and even though I have my theories, to speculate on that in a public forum doesn’t serve any good purpose and my ultimately goal remains the success of the Games overall as well as their return to Kentucky.

Now some of my disappointment is self inflicted in that I believe you have to keep a positive attitude about things if you want them to succeed.  Sometimes I am accused of being overly positive, which is funny because I fancy myself a very logical person who prides himself on being able to look at a scenario from all sides.  So in reality I was disappointed but not surprised because there is a lot of competing things going on in the Commonwealth and for the powers that be, there probably isn’t an upside for them to us hosting the Games, certainly not as much upside as potential downside for them.

All of what I have just written is the past now, I have had an excellent summer even with the disappointment of us not getting WEG for 2018 which when you think about it means my life is pretty great and I am very blessed so I continue to move forward with the purpose to improve the lives of those around me and of this great Commonwealth.

Now what I did find to be a happy surprise was the announcement of the bid by the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, North Carolina to host the 2018 Games.  The Tryon International Equestrian Center is a very new facility that only first opened the summer before the last Games occurred in Normandy and apparently there is some chatter that the developers plans were to bid for the 2022 Games which makes really good sense.  Here is the Google Maps view of the Center , if you compare it to the Kentucky Horse Park it looks about half the overall size but its actually listed at 1,500 acres compared to the Horse Park’s 1224 acres.  Of course a large portion of the Tryon acreage is wooded, almost like somebody was trying to hide the fact that they were building a world class Equestrian Park, I am only half joking as it would seem they didn’t want to get the word until the had the park completed though they have been hosting events there, almost as test runs as they build out the rest of the park.  Now I do not know Mark Bellissimo who heads up the Tryon Equestrian Partners, but I will say at this point my hat is off to them for this endeavor and not only do I wish them much success, I will support them anyway I can.

Now for most people who know me, I probably don’t need to make this next statement, but for those who do not and think I am doing a dis-service to the Kentucky Horse Park by saying I will support Tryon with all the resources I can muster, understand my first responsibility is to the horses themselves because there is no place I am happier then being around horses and events like WEG put horses in front of people who might not otherwise know the majesty of the horse.  As the population of the world has grown and technology has taken us away from nature the percentage of people who know horses has dropped significantly and I do fear for a world that one day has no horses.  On that note I probably need to close this post before I get too philosophical and end with what is probably my favorite quote;

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man!

I will be back sooner then later with more on the Tryon Center, our plans of support and the other potential contenders for the 2018 Games.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

07.28.16

Third Time’s a Charm, WEG 2018

Posted in 2018 Games, World Equestrian Games at 8:24 pm by Thomas

So by now I figure most everyone has heard the news that Bromont has pulled out of hosting the 2018 Games.  Of course by now that is old news and in some ways didn’t come as a surprise because as much as I wanted Bromont to be successful I had yet to see any indication that they had ever gotten the financial needs worked out and it seems the expectation had been that the Canadian Federal Government would bail them out.  That of course didn’t happen and worst then that the Feds let them know in no uncertain terms that that wasn’t going to happen and at the same time investigations had started into some of the promises made by the Mayor of Bromont.

All and All not a good situation and even though it puts Kentucky back in the running to host the Games in 2018, it does real damage to the future of the Games.  Now with all that said there is only one thing to do, fight to get the Games back in Kentucky and make them successful both to benefit Kentucky and to shore up the future of the Games.  Of course there has been a number of people saying negative things about the success of the Games in 2010, personally I think it is a fairly easy argument to make that the Games were successful.  I know some people point to some raw numbers and say we spent more then we made but I think when you look out the amount spent on the Horse Park as a long term investment and consider what kind of Signature Event the Games were for Kentucky I can’t think of anything else that could bring that kind of long term value to the state.  Only this week the USEF signed a 40 year lease and plans on building a new 3 story headquarters at the Horse Park not sure how that is anything but a positive outcome from the Games.

So back to the 2018 Games, I still haven’t heard what deal is going to be worked out between Rolex and Longines but something will have to because even the other 2 venues, Wellington and Aachen that might be up to pulling off the Games in 2 years have the same issue that the Horse Park has in regards to the contract the Longines has with the FEI which is the only thing that knocked us out of getting the Games last year.  My hope of course is that Rolex and Longines understand the benefits of the Games and that it is in neither of their interest for the Games to fail to go on in 2018.  Personally I still have real doubts that Wellington could host the Games and certainly not with less then 2 years to go to be ready.  Aachen is in a better place from the stand point of capability but and I am afraid this is a big but, the security situation in Europe is much more unstable then they let on and I see no reason to expect that to be better in 2 years, in fact I expect it to be worse.  So again this really leaves only 1 option, the Kentucky Horse Park and I think the FEI is acutely aware that if Kentucky bids for it again and gets the snub that even I would say we make no further plans to bid for it again and that we come up with our own event with or without FEI sanction.  Now with that said, I don’t think it will come to that, I really believe third time is the charm and that the FEI has not choice because there is no way to host the Games in a venue that hasn’t previously and recently held the Games because of the time crunch they are under.

So I ask, and a lot of you I am going to ask personally to enthusiastically support Kentucky bidding and hosting the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games.  This means for those who know any elected officially get them on board, even if that is your county sheriff because you will be surprised how important local law enforcement is to this kind of event to provide the man power and support needed for security.  Those of you in business, let people know that you believe this event is good for your business either by the direct publicity it brings your business or by the new business it generates in the state.  Those of you who volunteered for the 2010 Games let people know you would do it again, I volunteered for 12 of the 16 days and know I would do it again because it was a great experience.

I still have the one year to go poster hanging on my wall that says, “GET YOUR GAMES FACE ON.”, its time to do it again Kentucky.  The Games were a success the first time around, and they will be an even bigger success the second time because we have the experience and the passion.  My slogan this time is going to be “Y’ALL COME BACK NOW”, because people did come back to Kentucky after the Games last time so we should certainly invite them to come back after the second time.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

06.30.16

Olympic Impact on the 2018 Games

Posted in 2018 Games, My Thoughts, Olympics, Rio 2016, Summer Olympic Games at 4:32 pm by Thomas

The Olympics generate lots of news both good and bad that can have all sorts of down stream effects on events coming afterwards.  Now to what effect all the negative press for the Rio 2016 Olympics is having on Bromont’s work in preparing for the 2018 World Equestrian Games, no one can say for sure but you will find no one that would say its having no effect because it shows the perils of hosting Global events and certainly provides ample ammunition to Bromont and WEG’s detractors.

With all that said I am still cautiously hopeful that the 2018 Games will be successful and that Kentucky will pursue and land the 2022 or more likely now the 2026 Games.  I say that last part because I very much suspect that there are significant powers looking to get the Games down under in Australia or back to Europe and our current political situations make it unlikely that we will even pursue a 2022 bid.  I would certainly love to see us go for and get the 2022 Games, BUT, and I put that in caps because I feel its a big but, I have to be a realist and pursuing the 2022 Games might not be in the best interest of Kentucky because the odds maybe already stacked against us and we would be spending resources that would be better saved for the 2026 bid which I really feel will have to be a do or die kind of effort.

Next month I will have more on what I feel the plan should be to get the Games back to Kentucky!

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

05.30.16

Rolex Repeat and all things Spring?

Posted in 2018 Games, Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event at 9:20 pm by Thomas

Michael Jung of Germany repeated in 2016 winning the Rolex Grand Slam Events and I had the good fortune of tail-gating at the Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event to watch him.  In other news Adelaide, South Australia has given interest in hosting the 2022 FEI World Equestrian Games which would be another first for the Games.  I didn’t make it to Sydney for the 200o Summer Olympics so I would certainly have to put it on my bucket list to go if they were successful, with that said of course I am still hopeful that we will submit a winning bid for the 2022 Games.  On a personal note, our horses are showing well and warm weather has finally arrived so Spring has been good on many levels.

Of course we have to take the bad with the good and a number of things have occurred in the last several months that I feel must be addressed because they are part of the horse world.  I guess the first to address is a number of deaths of Eventers that has been reported this spring.  Ultimately Eventing is a dangerous sport and that is something anyone competing in it knows but it doesn’t make any of us feel any better when we hear about the death or injury of someone enjoying something we enjoy as well.  First I want to say to the families that have lost someone you have my deepest sympathies and even though we all will say they were doing something they loved it doesn’t make it any easier for those left behind.

On another somewhat dubious note, Bromont is having a number of issues related to hosting the 2018, Horse Canada just had an extensive article on it that you can read here .  Some may think I would be happy that Bromont was having issues, in no way do I consider Bromont’s issues a good thing for Kentucky because it is certainly not a good thing for WEG.  Remember there was a time before the World Equestrian Games, it was called the 80’s so I maybe more then others is acutely aware that WEG could vanish again.  There has been much talk even before Kentucky hosted the Games about going back to just having the European Championships.  So to say this Spring has been turbulent like a Spring Thunderstorm in Kentucky might be stating it mildly.  So here is hoping that June brings a more sunny outlook on the horse world.

 

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

04.01.16

2022 World Equestrian Games, Host Bidding Open

Posted in 2022 Games at 12:16 am by Thomas

FEI has opened the bidding process for the 2022 World Equestrian Games, this is not an April Fools Joke.  Currently only the Expression of Interest Form is available to download with the Bid Application and Questionnaire becoming available in May.  August is the deadline to return the Bid Applications for consideration with the announcement of candidates in December.  At this time I have no specific information on where Kentucky is in planning to make a bid.  I know after our losing our bid for the 2018 Games it was indicated that we would bid for the 2022 Games and with the contract with Rolex for advertising rights at the Kentucky Horse Park expiring in 2018 we would be free to pursue them without the issue that prevented us from getting the 2018 Games, that being the contract Longines has with the FEI that stipulates clean venues for any events they sponsor, the World Equestrian Games being one of those.  I am certainly going to let my voice be heard in that I believe this is an important economic event for Kentucky to pursue.  As I find out things that I am at liberty to share I will, though I suspect early in the go any information that I do receive will be under nondisclosure requirements or will be hear say that would not benefit the process to release anyway.  So I ask everyone to be understanding if you think I am withholding anything and also I ask that you let your voice be heard by your elected representatives that you feel this is something important for Kentucky to pursue.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

03.14.16

Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Hosts Maker’s Mark Commemorative Bottle Fundraiser

Posted in Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event at 8:58 pm by EPR

Proceeds From Auction to Benefit Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance
Lexington, KY – March 14, 2016 – Equestrian Events, organizer of the Rolex
 Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover, will host its second annual Maker’s Mark Commemorative Bottle Fundraising Auction and Reception on Thursday, April 28, at 7:00 p.m.  All proceeds from the auction, held at Lexington landmark The Livery, will benefit the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, the official charity of the 2016 Rolex Kentucky. The Rolex Kentucky returns to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky., April 28-May 1.
A limited number of Maker’s Mark commemorative bottles, featuring 2015 event winner, Michael Jung riding Fischerrocana FST, will be auctioned off. Tickets to this fundraising event are $200 per individual or $300 per couple. A voucher worth $100 will be included with each individual or couple ticket purchased. That voucher can be used during the bottle auction. There is a limit of one bottle per ticket.  Tickets can be purchased until April 18 at www.rk3de.org/bottle-fundraiser.
“This Maker’s Mark fundraiser was a big hit and a lot of fun last year,” said EEI President Stewart Perry. “More importantly, this event allows us to raise funds and also put a spotlight on the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, a great charitable fit for our organization and for the Horse Capital of the World.”
The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is a Lexington-based, non-profit organization that accredits, inspects and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain and rehome Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding. The TAA supports 501(c)(3) charitable organizations across the country that retire, retrain and re-home Thoroughbreds. TAA has awarded more than $3.4 million to accredited organizations in the past two years and currently supports 56 accredited organizations across 180 facilities in the United States. Retired racehorses from TAA-accredited organizations are re-homed every day and are retrained to be successful in Show Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Combined Driving, Endurance and Polo, as well as Western disciplines, affording each of them the opportunity to have a second career.
The Thursday night bottle auction is just one of several fund-raising activities happening during the Rolex Kentucky, the “Best Weekend All Year,” The RK-5K, the Twilight Run at the Rolex Kentucky, is a run/walk on Friday evening (April 29); 5K participants have an opportunity to contribute to TAA. And five-time Grammy Nominee Hunter Hayes will be performing Saturday evening (April 30) at the Alltech Arena on the Kentucky Horse Park grounds after the Cross-Country phase of the Rolex Kentucky. A portion of the proceeds from the concert will benefit the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation and TAA. Volunteers from TAA will also be manning the bag-check booth throughout the event as a fund-raiser for their organization.
A 2016 Olympic trial, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event is one of the most prestigious equestrian competitions in the world.  The Fédération Equestre Internationale (International Equestrian Federation – FEI), the world’s governing body of equestrian sports, has designated the Rolex Kentucky ThreeDay Event as a “Four Star” eventing competition, the sport’s highest designation, which is given only to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and six annual events around the world.
Rolex Kentucky hosts many of the world’s best horses and riders each year as they compete for their share of the $350,000 in prize money.  Riders also have a chance at winning the $350,000 Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing, which is awarded to any rider who wins the Rolex Kentucky, Mitsubishi Motors Badminton and Land Rover Burghley Four-Star Events in succession.
Ticket sales for 2016 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event opened in November and have maintained a record-breaking pace. Grounds Admission tickets to RK3DE include parking, admission to the grounds, International Trade Fair as well as all the Kentucky Horse Park has to offer. RK3DE Grounds Admission for children 12 and under is free. To watch the competition in the Rolex Stadium, a reserved stadium seat in addition to the Grounds Admission ticket needs to be purchased.
Stadium seats for Sunday’s Show Jumping are sold out but tailgating is available where fans can watch all the Show Jumping action on Jumbotrons. Only a Grounds Admission ticket is required for Saturday’s Cross-Country phase of the competition; a few Saturday tailgating spaces are also still available. Tickets are available at www.RK3DE.org/tickets.
Equestrian Events, Inc. is a non-profit charitable Kentucky corporation that was established initially to produce the 1978 World Three-Day Event Championships at the Kentucky Horse Park. Following the success of those championships, EEI established an annual event that evolved into the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover.
For more information, or to purchase tickets to the 2016 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event Presented by Land Rover, please visit the Rolex Kentucky website at www.RK3DE.org, or call (859) 254-8123.

02.29.16

Leap Year 2016: A Day

Posted in My Thoughts at 11:56 pm by Thomas

As today is an extra day of sorts, I thought I would use it to stray from my normal discussions that revolve around the World Equestrian Games or horses in general.  Not to say I haven’t strayed before but in a way this day is meant to be a day we should all use for things out of the ordinary.  I for one am a geek, I like to say I got into computers to pay for my horse habit, which is very much the truth.  So for me I took a day of vacation, because as I look at it, its an extra day in the year I should enjoy it.  Now that isn’t to say I didn’t do work today or that even my nine-to-five job from which I took a vacation day I do not enjoy and would call work a four letter word, though technically it is, my point being is, I took a vacation day not so much to get away from work as to explore the idea of taking a day to consider what a day represents.  I didn’t ride today but I did get to ride yesterday because of taking today off so that got this day started off right.  I don’t know that I would say today was Earth shattering but it did have its moments of clarity in a number of areas.  In regards to my efforts in seeing the Games come back to Kentucky, it certainly has given me solace to continue, not that I was really looking to stop but at times I have to wonder if I am the only person who really thinks this is important, I know that’s not the case but others tend to be much more reserved in being public about it.  In my case I have come to realize that is my purpose, to be an advocate for returning the Games to Kentucky and that requires me to be public in this way.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

01.31.16

State of the Horse 2016

Posted in State of the Horse at 9:57 pm by Thomas

In discussing the State of the Horse I am speaking of two interconnected thoughts, the animals themselves as well as the the different groups of individuals that are involved with horses.  In reality I guess, the State of the “Horse” is almost exclusively tied to how the people involved with horses are doing.  I am going to speak to my knowledge of what I see in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, though in many ways what I see here would be relevant in a number of other states.

In Kentucky there really are two horse realms, that of the Thoroughbred industry and that of all other horse breeds lumped together.  It is much easier to quantify the state of the Thoroughbred industry because there is a lot of data collected about it.  One of the first pieces of data most people talk about is the number of foals born, in 2015 that was a little over 22,000 which was a 1.9% increase over 2014.  It’s interesting to note though that in 2006 that number was a bit over 35,000 and I do remember years with numbers higher then that, so that tell you how much the “Great Recession” impacted what really is one of the most insulted horse industries anywhere when you consider where the money comes from that drives that industry.  Sales were also up and overall growth in the industry was also up by a couple of percentage points.  Interestingly enough I think you could watch the Thoroughbred industry and know how the overall economy is performing, provided you treat it as a lagging indicator as opposed to leading.  So if the the Thoroughbred numbers are getting better you can probably assume that the underlining economy is getting better or has at least stabilized in a way that allows for growth.  The Thoroughbred horses themselves are probably doing better then in years past because the number of foals being born each year is lower, thus fewer horses for the industry to have to support and the efforts to support Thoroughbreds after their retirement from racing has also produced meaningful impacts on the well being of those horses.

In talking of the other equine realm, this encompasses every other breed and would also include those off the track Thoroughbreds (OTTB) that have found themselves with a new career.   Actually I want to clarify, I am going to exclude one breed from this report because I believe it falls in between the two realms I am focusing on, that is the Standardbred industry, which in some years you could lump with the Thoroughbred industry in how its probably doing and in other years not so much so.  I think the simplest way to define the two realms is that you can really think of the Thoroughbred industry as an industry, where as the other horse realm is less of an industry and more of an individual endeavor.  I will probably get a few nasty emails saying that is an over simplification but for discussing the State of the Horse I think its the way most people think of these two realms.

Now let me try to define and clarify this second realm, which for the most part we can consider the pleasure horse realm.  Now in truth there is an industry that exists because of the pleasure horse, but this industry is more generalized and many parts of it provide for the horse as a secondary aspect of the business not the primary.  Think of the local feed store, selling feed and supplies to the people for their pleasure horses is significant but by far isn’t the only revenue generator that keeps the store profitable.  A prime example of how the pleasure horse realm is doing is to look at your local TSC store, if you think back more then 1o years to how the store was laid out relative to what they carried for horses and you go in there today and tell me you don’t see a difference.  Now I use TSC as an example to clarify the two realms because most Thoroughbred trainers are not using their local TSC store for supplies, they have a pretty defined supply chain of specialized providers but this is because the Thoroughbred industry is large and organized and benefits from that economy of scale.  So in Kentucky I consider the pleasure horse realm to be all those people involved with horses outside of the Thoroughbred racing industry, again some are going to take issue with that but in discussing the State of the Horse that is the construct I am going to use.

So here is the point at which I get to discussing my views on the State of the Horse for 2016, which is really to say what it was at the end of 2015 and what the trend going into 2016 looks like.  Back to my example of TSC, here is a business that most horse people I would venture to say know in one capacity or another, you may not buy your feed there, but you have probably purchased something horse related there.  The change that I have seen there to me is indicative of a business tweaking their retail layout to better meet the needs of those patronizing their stores.  That is to say that in the last 10 years they have seen their revenue from horse related items decrease, interestingly enough while they have seen the interest in chickens increase.  Obviously a part of that has been driven by the urbanization of America as a whole which we also see in Kentucky but a bigger part has been the downturn in the rural middle class which has significantly impacted the pleasure horse realm.  The actual increase is chickens seems to be much more related to urbanites wanting to say they are raising some of their own food, to clarify, eggs because they don’t want to kill their own food but they can produce eggs and its cool because they can relate it to the same product that they would go to super market to buy.  I digress some in talking chickens but the point being is that the growth in interest in chickens vs. the decline in horses are two separate events that make my point about the nature of the pleasure horse industry.  TSC is a business that supports the pleasure horse industry, but not exclusively and as markets change they change their business models to survive.  Now this in some ways is a good thing because a lot of the businesses and professions that support the pleasure horse industry are not going to go out of business because of a down cycle in that realm, so that as the pleasure horse realm grows again the necessary support businesses grow with it.  The short of it though is that the pleasure horse realm has seen a significant contraction since the “Great Recession” and that contraction continues.  One of the structural changes that I have seen over the last 10 years has been a significant increase in other forms of back yard/off road entertainment. In the past 10 years we have seen an increase almost explosive in the numbers and variety of off road vehicles.  Where ATV’s used to be tied to a business or farm need first and those people then might use them on the weekend for a little fun.  Now ATV’s have become the new status symbols with ATV parks springing up around the state and I see convoys of trailers hauling them on the weekends only to wonder how many horse trailers have been traded in for flatbed trailers.

One of the real negative impacts the “Great Recession” has had is truly on the State of the Horse in regards to the horses themselves.  We all like to joke about free horses, and I tell my non-horse friends if you want a free horse I can get you one, but I am the first to follow that up with the fact that I can get you a free horse, but that horse ownership is not free, actually as we all know it can be down right expensive.  The problem is there was an explosion of horses back in the early 2000’s both from professional and back yard breeders and when the economy collapsed these horses very quickly became expenses their owners couldn’t afford.  So in 2016 I believe we are still right in the middle of this crisis in that a lot of those horses are turning up in all the wrong places and are suffering fates that weigh or should weigh on all of us as horse people.  My expectation is that it will take another 10 years for that issue to resolve itself through the normal process of life and death and not because we come together to solve it.  Ultimately I wish the horse world as a whole had put together a framework for dealing with this reality, that it would be better for owners to have the option to humanely euthanize their horse(s) when they can no longer effectively care for them or be certain of what would happen to them if they were sold without having several organization that shall remain unnamed vilify them for trying to make the best choice for the horse in an extremely tough situation.  Now I could write a whole article on my ideas on that and probably should but I am trying to stay on point with this article so I will limit my digressions.

In summing up what I consider to be the State of the Horse in 2015 by making some clear points based on my awareness.

The State of the Thoroughbred industry is largely stable with modest growth, though there are some notable head winds in the future that may impact that growth though I think the industry remains largely insulated from any structural changes.

The State of the Pleasure Horse Realm in Kentucky I believe has stabilized though there are structural changes that have occurred that will likely limit any kind of significant growth and certainly I would not expect us to get back to the numbers we saw in the late 90’s early 2000’s.  In honesty some of the growth we saw back in the 90’s and early 2000’s wasn’t based on sustainable math and obviously I am not just meaning in regards to pleasure horse realm.  I think for those horse breeds that are forward looking there is potential to continue to grow because horses will continue to have a connection to humans that is hard to explain but no less real.

The State of the Horse in regards to the animal itself still pains me, and I will always continue to promote responsibility in regards to the welfare of horses because they deserve nothing less than our best efforts to provide for them in a human and ethical way and to show our appreciation for the beauty and magic they bring to our lives.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

12.30.15

2015 Year End Review: 10th Year

Posted in 2018 Games, Breeders Cup, My Thoughts, Thoroughbred Racing, World Games 2010 Foundation at 11:10 pm by Thomas

As I look back on 2015 I am reminded of why this site came into existence, ten years ago this month the announcement was made that Kentucky had won the right to host the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games.  As Lexington Kentucky is consider the Horse Capital of the World I dubbed them the Kentucky World Equestrian Games and launched this site as a means to put my talents to use supporting those and future Games.  The 2010 Games are of course a bit more then 5 years in the past now though I still believe their impact is felt in this region.

The big example for this year was the 2015 Breeders Cup, which myself and others feel has a direct connection to the 2010 Games, even those who say the Breeders Cup would have eventually come to Lexington with out us hosting the Games can’t deny that the Games at the very least brought it here sooner then it otherwise may have naturally occurred.   I actually tend to disagree with that as it doesn’t really make sense that it should take the Breeders Cup 31 years to come to Keeneland considering the history and importance of this track but I know there are individuals who can make the argument why Keeneland hadn’t and my response to them then is, then why now, what changed, after a moment of their puzzlement, I say, the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games is what happened.

Though we didn’t win the bid in 2014 to host the 2018 Games, Bromont’s win was still viewed as a plus because it again brought the Games to North America, so we were disappointed to hear recently that there are some questions about the integrity of the final proposal in regards to the final document submitted by the Mayor of Bromont.  The current information on the investigation can be found here.  Our hope is this is more a technicality in that not all the details were clearly documented as opposed to a more blatant omission of who was ultimately responsible for the financial requirements of the Games.

Looking forward to 2016, we hope we can be more involved in continuing the case to our new Governor to submit a bid for the 2022 Games.  On a personal note we are leading our county 4-H Horse Program and are looking forward in being involved in the next generation of horse industry leaders.

Happy New Year 2016!

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

11.01.15

2015 Breeders Cup – Legacy of the 2010 Games

Posted in 2022 Games, Breeders Cup, My Thoughts, National Horse Show, World Equestrian Games at 8:08 pm by Thomas

The 2015 Breeders Cup is in the books and by all indications it was a Hugh success and the talk has already begun about Keeneland hosting it again within the next 10 years.  At the same time the Breeders Cup was going on, the National Horse Show was also going on at the Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.

I will let the sink in, that is 2 signature horse events going on the same week in Lexington, Kentucky, amazing when you thinks not all that many years ago no one could imagine the National Horse Show leaving New York and coming to Kentucky.  What maybe even more telling was the fact that even though Lexington is considered the Horse Capital of the World and that is especially true for the Thoroughbred breed, Keeneland wasn’t considered for the Breeders Cup because it wasn’t thought the track and the surrounding infrastructure was up to the task of what many in the Thoroughbred World consider the signature event for Thoroughbreds, more so then the Derby because that is looked upon as a single race largely geared towards the public persona of the breed, and truth be told I can’t think of another event of any kind that does for its particular subject what the Derby does for the Thoroughbred Racing.  The Breeders Cup is much more about the trainers and their business and as such the event is much more like the Oscars for Thoroughbred Horse Racing then is the Derby.

If it isn’t obvious, what I am saying is that these are two really big events in the horse world and yet they have only recently come to Kentucky, and of course I have a theory on that.  The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games paved the way for these events by demonstrating both the logistical capabilities and the personal strengths of Lexington.  I will of course have my detractors on that theory but even they can’t totally say the Games played no role in those events coming to Lexington just based on the public record.  Ultimately whether you want to believe my theory or not Lexington and the Commonwealth of Kentucky continue to strengthen our claim as the Horse Capital of the World and I very much suspect that will bring the World Equestrian Games back to Kentucky in that not too distant future.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®

10.11.15

2010 World Equestrian Games – 5 Years Later!

Posted in 2010 Games, 2022 Games at 9:36 pm by Thomas

This weekend marks the 5th anniversary of the closing of the 2010 World Equestrian Games, or what we of course more affectionately call the Kentucky World Equestrian Games.  Its even crazier to think that this December will mark 10 years since the announcement of us winning the bid to host the Games in the first place.  Early this year I really believed we would be working on hosting the 2018 Games at this point but that wasn’t meant to be but that has created impetuous for us to land the 2022 Games, though that push is on hold until after the November elections when we know who our next Governor will be.

The last memory I have of the Games on this weekend 5 years ago was being part of the Closing Ceremonies and Lyle Lovett signing our credentials, which are hanging on the wall beside me as I type this.  I am not a Lyle Lovett groupy but it was a nice closing note on an amazing event in my life that made for a perfect memory of the Games.  Of course I still believe I will get to make new memories of another World Equestrian Games and maybe even Lyle will make those games as well.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond

KyWEGO®

 

 

10.08.15

Split Rock Jumping Tour Changes Schedule for Friday

Posted in Split Rock Jumping Tour at 7:17 pm by EPR

Split Rock Jumping Tour Changes Schedule for Friday
FEI Grand Prix Moved Earlier to Beat Forecasted Rainstorm
Lexington, KY – October 8, 2015 – The Split Rock Jumping Tour has announced a change to its Friday schedule, moving its FEI Grand Prix earlier in the day. With heavy rain forecasted for Friday afternoon, the start time for the Grand Prix is being moved up to 11:30 am. The Bourbon International CSI 3*, the second show of Split Rock’s new international jumping series, is being held at Split Rock Farm in Lexington, KY, October 9-11.
“The weather forecast is calling for some heavy rain on Friday afternoon so in the best interest of our horses we are adjusting our schedule,” said Derek Braun, Founder and President of the Split Rock Jumping Tour. “By moving our FEI Grand Prix earlier in the day, we can allow our riders to show their top international horses before the rain moves in.”
With the change, Friday’s competition schedule will now start at 8:00 am with the $2,000 Kingsland Child/Adult 1.10m class, followed by the $2,000 Brook Ledge High Junior/Amateur 1.40m class. The $40,000 Hollow Creek Farm CSI 3* Grand Prix will begin at 11:30 am, to be followed by the $5,000 L.V. Harkness 1.40m class.
This past summer, Split Rock installed new all-weather footing. The footing was installed by Equestrian Services International (ESI), recognized as the  leading provider of horse show footing. “We were committed to providing world-class footing for our world-class field of horses and riders,” said Braun. “Now, given Friday’s forecast, we can proceed throughout the weekend knowing that no matter what comes Friday afternoon, our ring can handle it.”
The Split Rock Jumping Tour, a new international show jumping show series is creating an “unparalleled show jumping experience” for competitors, sponsors and spectators in the U.S. The Tour’s inaugural event, the Lexington International CSI 3* held in May, received rave reviews and hosted some of the world’s top competitors representing 14 countries. Over 3,000 spectators came to enjoy the world-class competition, and discovered first-hand how the Split Rock Jumping Tour is truly revolutionizing the sport of show jumping.
In addition to the chance to see many of the sport’s top horses and riders competing in world-class show jumping competition, spectators also have the chance to enjoy a variety of boutique shops and food vendors, a Children & Family Festival, a Beer and Wine Garden with live music, as well as free raffles!
The Split Rock Jumping Tour has partnered with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation in which a portion of proceeds from all sales of Split Rock Jumping Tour Hospitality packages will go directly to the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Foundation to support their programs. Split Rock will also provide staff and patients of the Center with free tickets to attend both horse shows. For more information please visit: https://ukmarkey.org.
Further information on the Split Rock Jumping Tour, including a detailed schedule and how to order tickets, is available on line at the Tour’s website at www.SplitRockJumpingTour.com or by emailinginfo@SplitRockJumpingTour.com.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »