Here at Horse Country, our mission is to connect guests to the horse, land and people of Kentucky’s equine industry through immersive experiences at our unique member locations. It all starts with our members, who have a lifelong passion for the horse, which they want to share with you! Horse Country is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit membership organization comprised of stallion farms, Thoroughbred nurseries, veterinary clinics, training facilities, feed mills, adoption centers, a full-service sport horse farm, and the world renown racetrack and auction house, Keeneland.
The Horse Country team is your connection to the equine industry in Kentucky. Many of our members are working horse farms or supportive businesses and have opened their gates to let guests like you see behind-the-scenes. This means when you visit Horse Country, you are getting a truly authentic experience. It also means that our members are hosting tours in conjunction with their regular farming or business practices. The Horse Country team strives to ensure each experience benefits both our guests and our members.
There are multiple ways to book a tour, which you can explore below. If you have any questions the team at Horse Country is here to help ensure you find the best experience, or continue exploring below for more inspiration!
Spring season in Horse Country is an absolute dream! Foals are filling up the the rolling bluegrass paddocks, horses are entering the starting gate at Keeneland, the first Saturday in May with the run for the roses is just around the corner and anything is possible. Horsemen and women across the bluegrass are dreaming of “what could be” and we want to share that dream with you. Our members are in the middle of their busy breeding and foaling seasons. It’s the best time to visit the bluegrass and see behind-the-scenes on a horse farm tour.
Horse Country horses love the outdoors, especially in the spring. Read on to learn what a typical spring day looks like for a Kentucky Thoroughbred. Then follow the links to book a tour and see for yourself!
In case you didn’t know, every Thoroughbred registered with The Jockey Club’s American Stud Book turns one year older on January 1st. This standardized birthday helps with conditioning races. For example when we say the Kentucky Derby is for three-year-old horses, for example, we know that applies to the entire crop and don’t have to check individual foaling dates.
BUT Foaling season is throughout the spring, with horsing being born from January through May. So many Horse Country members celebrate their horses actual birthday! Follow our members on social media to know when to celebrate.
It’s foaling season! Mares across the bluegrass are getting ready to welcome their newborn into this world. As pregnant mares get closer to their foaling date between January and May, they will come into stalls overnight so they can be monitored and kept safe when it’s time to give birth. Even in the wild, mares will typically foal at night time, using the dark to help them hide from predators. Most Thoroughbred broodmares follow to that evolutionary adaptation and foal in the evenings.
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. They’ll start with limited turnout and as they get bigger and stronger, they will start to spend more time out in paddocks.
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 spring outside, playing and learning with their friends, only coming inside for a few hours each day for routine care and grooming.
As spring sets in and the grass starts to grow, these yearlings will greatly benefit from the nutrients in the limestone base soil. It’s rich with calcium and phosphorus which helps these youngsters grow into the champion Thoroughbreds of tomorrow.
Want to learn more about yearlings? Try these Horse Country experiences.
Horse Country stallions have their busiest season in spring. From January through June, these famous racehorses will have multiple dates a day as they pass along their genes to the next generation. Most stallions will breed three times a day in the peak of the season in April.
Horse Country members have different management styles, but all of the stallions in Horse Country will have a spring time routine that includes a mix of paddock turn-out and time in stalls. They’re well taken care of to ensure they can perform their duties!
Want to learn more about stallions? Try these Horse Country experiences.
Equestrian sports generally follow warm weather, so the majority of equine athletes are making their way back up north after a southern winter. There will be some two-year-olds who are just beginning training and some who are ready to start on the track in April, and of course, some in between!
Spring is such a fun time in Horse Country with the Keeneland spring meet in April and the build up to the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. Be sure to follow along the Derby Trail to stay up-to-date with all of the exciting action! You can learn more here.
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 seasons. In fact, spring 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.