Kentucky is called the Horse Capital of the world because of our vast numbers of equine residents of all ages. Throughout the year residents and visitors watch our horses grow and move through different phases of their lives! Here at Horse Country, we have member locations that can take guests through all of the life cycles throughout their tours.
Note: This itinerary is a suggestion only and is based on a sample of what tours may be available in Fall 2022.
Each Horse Country tour requires that guests be ticketed in advance. Tickets are available for purchase at www.visithorsecountry.com or by calling 859-963-1004. Though this info has been researched & is being shared in good faith, tour availability is subject to change.
When horses are born they are called foals. Thoroughbred foals are typically born between January and late July. The horses will be considered foals while they are still nursing from their mothers. You can visit some of our nursery farms to meet some of Kentucky’s younger equine residents!
You can learn more about the foal stage by visiting Denali Stud, Gainsborough Farm, Lane’s End Farm, Mill Ridge Farm, Runnymede Farm, Spendthrift Farm, Stonestreet Farm, Taylor Made Farm, and WinStar Farm!
As the foals begin to get older they will stop nursing from their mothers and start eating grass instead of milk. When this happens they will be weaned from their mothers and earn the new title of weanling! Weanlings are typically horses between the ages of 5 to 6 months old, they will continue to be called weanlings until January 1st.
You can learn more about the weanling stage by visiting Denali Stud, Gainsborough Farm, Lane’s End Farm, Mill Ridge Farm, Runnymede Farm, Spendthrift Farm, Stonestreet Farm, Taylor Made Farm, and WinStar Farm!
On January 1st of the following year the horses will be called yearlings since all horses share the universal birthday! The yearling stage is when the horses will begin to look more like racehorses and will begin to hit growth spurts. During this time Thoroughbred yearlings will either be sold at public auction in the fall or they will go straight to a training facility to learn how to be a racehorse.
We recommend learning more about yearlings by visiting Keeneland, Denali Stud, Lane’s End Farm, Mill Ridge Farm and Runnymede Farm.
Once a horse turns 2 years old they begin to train for races. They’ll learn how to get a bit in their mouth, saddle and rider on their back, and how to run. From the training they’ll begin to hit the racetrack!
Thoroughbred racehorses will typically begin racing at two or three years old, and the average career will last until the horse is 4 or 5 years old (but can last longer based on the soundness and success of a horse).
You can learn more about their training and race lives by visiting Keeneland!
After a horse’s racing career is finished they will retire from the track and will either go on to become breeding stock or be trained and turned into a riding horse.
For breeding the colts will have to have a successful race record and a good pedigree before he begins to stand stud at a farm and become a stallion.
You can learn more about breeding and what it takes to become a stallion by visiting Airdrie Stud, Coolmore at Ashford Stud, Gainesway Farm, Jonabell Farm, Lane’s End Farm, Mill Ridge Farm, Spendthrift Farm, Taylor Made Farm, Three Chimneys Farm, and WinStar Farm!
For fillies and mares they have to either have a good pedigree or a good race record to become a broodmare.
Learn more about the process of raising Thoroughbreds and what it takes to be a broodmare by visiting Airdrie Stud, Denali Stud, Gainsborough Farm, Lane’s End Farm, Mill Ridge Farm, Runnymede Farm, Spendthrift Farm, Stonestreet Farm, Taylor Made Farm, and WinStar Farm.
For the racehorses that don’t go on to be breeding stock they will either be retrained to become a riding horse or they will be retired. Thoroughbreds are a versatile breed of horse and are desired by riders of all disciplines because of their athleticism. For horses that retire from the track with injuries that would prevent them from being ridden they go to retirement facilities where they are doted on!
You can learn more about the aftercare and retraining by visiting the Secretariat Center, New Vocations, and the Kentucky Equine Adoption Center!
You can learn more about the retirement process by visiting TRF at Chestnut Hall!