Love is in the Air in Horse Country

Love is in the Air in Horse Country

From new foals who capture your heart to the beginning of the Thoroughbred breeding season, love is in the air around Horse Country! Read on to learn more about the daily routines for Thoroughbreds of all ages during this time of the year.


Valentine’s Day is the unofficial start of the Thoroughbred breeding season, with breeding sheds around the Bluegrass opening their doors in mid-February. Stallions will have a regular routine of paddock turn-out, time in their stalls, and time for breeding sessions, with schedules varying from farm to farm. While you won’t find roses and bubbly beverages in the breeding shed, stallions will always look their best for breedings, getting groomed before each session – they’ve got to impress the ladies!

Want to learn more about stallions? Click here to view the various stallion-focused Horse Country experiences.

Mares and Foals

Foaling season is in full swing, with new arrivals making their appearance on a daily basis. Prior to their foals arriving, broodmares will spend a majority of their time outside, primarily coming inside for routine care. As their foaling date draws closer, they will begin coming into stalls overnight so they can be monitored and kept safe when it’s time to give birth. 

Once a foal is born, they are able to stand and nurse within just a few hours! Foals are typically born at night, and by the next morning they are ready for some time outside in a paddock with mom. As foals grow older, their time spent outdoors will be extended, and they will graduate from a round pen to small paddock, and eventually a large pasture with other mares and foals.

Want to get up close and personal with mares and foals? Click here to view the Horse Country experiences at nursery farms.


Foals are weaned at about six months old, and on January 1st they officially turn one year old. Yearlings spend a majority of their time outdoors in large pastures, playing with their fellow yearlings. The rolling hills of Kentucky make for the perfect way for young horses to build muscle and stamina as they grow up. Yearlings will come inside for a few hours each day for routine care and grooming.

Meet yearlings, mares and foals at some of our nursery farm members.


The Thoroughbred racing season is primarily based in warmer climates during the winter months, with big races taking place in states like California, Florida and Louisiana. Many racing stables will travel south to train and race, before returning north for the spring season. Here in Kentucky, you can watch live racing at Turfway Park in Florence, about an hour north of Lexington, until the end of March. 

Most two-year olds will be in the early stages of pre-training at specialized training facilities, learning the ins and outs of how to be a racehorse. 

Learn about the process of training racehorses on a tour of Keeneland.

Retired Racehorses

There’s no off season in equine care, and that includes the care of retired racehorses in training for a second career. Horses in need of rehabilitation and training for a non-racing career spend time at facilities such as the Kentucky Equine Adoption Center, New Vocations, Second Stride and the Secretariat Center to master ground manners and learn the skills needed to be a riding horse. New horses arrive at these facilities year round, looking for a new home to thrive in for their second career.

Meet adoptable horses and learn more about the retraining process on a visit to one of our aftercare members.