I’m a pretty lucky poneh to trot about the globe with Horse Junkies United on behalf of my human, Sarah. As much as she’d love to partake in these travels herself, alas, the money tree she planted in her back yard has yet to sprout . . . In December, Sarah wandered to Lexington, Kentucky for the Arabian Horse Association’s Annual Convention so of course, I tagged along! Normally I have to settle for a rather cramped shipping option but this time I got to fly in style! Not only did I get a spacious seat all to myself I got my very own in-flight cocktail and they didn’t even card me!
We arrived in Lexington a day before the convention since Region 14, AHA’s very gracious host of this year’s event, had arranged for the convention delegates to explore the beautiful bluegrass by visiting a couple of the breathtaking horse farms around Lexington and had also arranged a tour of an authentic Kentucky Bourbon distillery! Mmm poneh likes bourbon.
The first stop on our tour was Darby Dan Thoroughbred Farm who many of you might recognize from the 2010 Disney film Secretariat. In fact, Darby Dan was chosen for the film because it remains one of the only 1930’s period-authentic Thoroughbred farms in Kentucky today! The endless expanses of white fences crucial to the period have long since been replaced at most farms by black fences since black paint lasts so much longer than the white paint. With countless miles of fences to maintain, who can blame them for switching to a time friendly paint! This poneh certainly wouldn’t want the task of repainting all those fences they keep in such pristine condition!
We briefly met Stallion Manager, Ryan Watson, who let us in on a few of the secrets of their breeding operation and also introduced us to Perfect Soul and Tale of Ekati, two of the beautiful (and accomplished!) Thoroughbred stallions currently standing at Darby Dan. You can check out their impressive stallion roster here! I recommend you all visit their website to browse the rich and fascinating history of the farm and its legendary list of amazing horses!
We took lunch at the historic Glen Willis house in Leestown before heading out to the equally historic (and downright cool!) Buffalo Trace Bourbon Distillery. Buffalo Trace was recently named a historic landmark by the US Department of the Interior and is one of the few intact examples of an authentic bourbon distillery operating before, during and after Prohibition. We got to check out the bottling operation of their signature Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon and also wandered into the ginormous warehouse where the whiskey is aged in giant oak barrels.
Sarah and her friends got to taste the whiskey with delicious chocolate Bourbon Balls for dessert. No one believed I was old enough to taste so Sarah sent me shopping for a box of those yummy Bourbon Balls and some ol’ Kentucky Moonshine (aka. The stuff that goes into the oak barrels to age!) to smuggle home.
Last stop of the day was Stalmare Arabians, home of the beautiful Purebred Arabian stallion Black Daniels. Sarah was too busy oggling his royal black-stallionness and all the playful babies we got to visit via shavings-bale ride (like a hay ride but with shavings bales!) to remember to snap my photo. If it weren’t for my lack of opposable thumbs I’d have stolen her phone and taken a selfie! Black Daniels sure knows how to strut his stuff! He put on quite a show for us proving how he became the decorated English Pleasure (saddleseat) sire he is today. I stepped behind the camera for a moment so Sarah could have a photo with the pretty boy.
Finally though it was time to work! Down to the business of legislation and forward progress for the Arabian Horse Association. I took to the podium and shared my thoughts and worldly expertise but since they don’t actually let poneh’s vote on the legislative stuff, Sarah is going to have to tell you all about that in a dedicated blog of her own!
So as the AHA delegates from across the US and Canada diligently met, committeed, discussed and voted on the future of the Arabian industry, I conversed with convention mascot, Coach the rainbow pinto to discuss the ever important matters and the top secret business of travelin’ ponehs!
That’s all for now but stay tuned my wandering friends!
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