Which lane to choose? Finding the "Unbridled Spirit of Kentucky" mentioned by Dr. Lyons in his video and by the State of Kentucky on its welcome signs may require some effort. WEG visitors should make time to get off the interstate highways and escape from the commercial-sprawl zones of Lexington. The real Kentucky will be out there waiting for them.
The Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the governing body of horse sport around the world, marked the 50-day countdown to the opening of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games??? in Lexington, Kentucky this week. Technically, the Games belong to the FEI; each of the championships is an FEI title for that sport, and the FEI is at the heart of the Games.
The FEI decided to share a special video message from Dr. Pearse Lyons, the founder and president of the event?s title sponsor, Alltech, on the occasion of the 50-day milestone.
In this video, Dr. Lyons speaks of the excitement in the build-up to the event and the impact it will have on Alltech and on the city of Lexington, the state of Kentucky and equestrian sport overall. He also explains how visitors can enjoy the ?unbridled spirit of Kentucky? that he loves so much.
Dublin-born Dr. Lyons founded Alltech, an international leader in the animal health and nutrition industry, 30 years ago in Lexington. He and his company have worked tirelessly to promote the Games.
Take a few minutes to watch this video, and listen to what Dr. Lyons has to say. What I found interesting was his strong message that Kentucky was not out to duplicate or to out-do Aachen, the host of the 2006 World Equestrian Games. Instead, he thinks the true beauty and friendliness of Kentucky can be as powerful and effective as the show machine that is Aachen.
I think this is what I have been trying to say for a long time, and I just couldn?t quite spit it out. Visitors need to see and find that genuine Kentucky, the one that is somewhere down a little turn off like Russell Cave Road, back behind Lexington's endless strip malls and fast food places and traffic lights.
It should be mandatory that visitors get out of Lexington. Way out of Lexington, not just to the horse farms that are in the city limits. It should be mandatory that they be forced off the Interstate highways; ?all visitors must take secondary roads? would be a great sign on entering the state. Mandatory that they should also at some point during their visit: sit on someone?s porch and listen to some amateurs play real unamplified bluegrass music better than any pros they?ve heard back home, ride a Walking horse (or a mule), buy some antiques at a flea market, memorize all the lyrics to at least one John Prine song and one Wendell Berry poem, eat a lot of yummy local barbecue and maybe even have a blast of moonshine. Or two. Then and only then can they go home. Got that?
But most of all I hope they talk to people who are from Kentucky and love Kentucky. Because they?re some of the best people I know.
And if those genuine Kentucky people are involved in WEG and supportive of it around Lexington and at the Horse Park, WEG can't lose.
What did you do this weekend that could have been better than what went on in Fancy Farm, Kentucky?
You're reading a story from DiscoverWEG with Fran Jurga, a blog about the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will be held September 25 to October 10 at the Kentucky Horse Park outside Lexington, Kentucky. The direct address for this blog is www.discoverweg.com. You can subscribe to the blog's RSS feed by clicking on the icon at the top right of this page; headlines are also posted on Facebook at the DiscoverHorses.com Page. DiscoverWEG is just one component of the Discover Horses support web site for the Games. Make Discoverhorses.com your go-to WEG destination site!
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