Winter in Horse Country is a chance to see another side of Central Kentucky’s beautiful bluegrass landscape and world-class Thoroughbred operations. After a busy season of racing and sales, our members are ready to welcome visitors for behind-the-scenes tours that are the perfect excuse to get out of the house with family and friends.
What would you like to see and do on your Horse Country tour?
Horse Country horses love the outdoors, even in the winter. Read on to learn what a typical winter day looks like for a Kentucky Thoroughbred. Then follow the links to book a tour and see for yourself.
While people celebrate the new year, Horse Country Thoroughbreds celebrate their birthday!
Every Thoroughbred registered with The Jockey Club’s American Stud Book turns one year older on January 1st. This tradition began in the mid-1700s when the Thoroughbred breed and Thoroughbred racing were formalized. It makes for easier communication. When we say the Kentucky Derby is for three-year-olds, for example, we know that applies to the entire crop and don’t have to check individual foaling dates.
Many Horse Country members celebrate individual birthdays for their horses too! Follow them on social media to know when to celebrate.
Whether they’re expecting or not, mares spend most of their time outside during the winter, only coming in for routine care for a few hours each day. As pregnant mares get closer to their foaling date between January and May, they begin coming into stalls overnight so they can be monitored and kept safe when it’s time to give birth.
Incredibly, foals are standing and nursing within hours of being born, and by the next morning they’re ready for some time in the paddock with mom.
Want to learn more about mares and foals? Try these Horse Country experiences.
Foals are weaned at around six months old. On January 1, they officially become yearlings. These growing youngsters spend the majority of winter outside, playing and learning with their friends, only coming inside for a few hours each day for routine care and grooming.
Many farms supplement their winter diets with feed and hay, both in the stall and out in the paddocks, so they can get the nutrition they need to become the champion Thoroughbreds of tomorrow.
Want to learn more about weanlings and yearlings? Try these Horse Country experiences.
The end of the year is off-season for Horse Country stallions. They enjoy their downtime while stallions who shuttled to the Southern Hemisphere return to Kentucky and settle back into their homes.
Horse Country members have different management styles, but most keep their stallions on a winter routine that includes a mix of paddock turn-out and time in stalls. It ensures that they’ll be rested and ready when breeding season begins in mid-February.
Want to learn more about stallions? Try these Horse Country experiences.
Equestrian sports generally follow warm weather, so the majority of equine athletes migrate south for the winter. Toward the end of their yearling year, however, many Thoroughbreds begin pre-training during the winter at specialized facilities right here in Horse Country.
While we use some different vocabulary in America, this video from Godolphin’s European base is a great illustration of pre-training basics and the process Horse Country Thoroughbreds undergo before wowing crowds at racetracks around the world.
Want to learn more about racehorses and two-year-olds? Try these Horse Country experiences.
Horse Country has several nonprofit members dedicated to providing safe, loving homes for Thoroughbreds when their careers are over. Their mission doesn’t change with the weather. In fact, winter is a great time for families and horse lovers of all ages to tour these remarkable facilities and meet some of racing’s retired superstars.
Want to learn more about retired racehorses? Try these Horse Country experiences.
Use our guides to help find the best tour for you and round out your trip in Lexington with travel tips from VisitLEX.
Do you have questions or need help finding the right tour for you? Check out our FAQs or contact us directly for assistance.