Reese Koffler-Stanfield has her sights set high.
A talented horsewoman, the spunky Lexington native has worked hard for years toward her goal of riding her dressage horse Kasper for the USA in the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games during the competition’s first appearance ever outside Europe.
Come fall, her hope is to join several hundred athletes from around 60 countries as Kentucky plays host to these international-caliber Games. From September 25-October 10, riders and their mounts will compete at the Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) in Lexington in the world championships of eight equestrian sports: dressage, eventing, jumping, driving, reining, endurance, vaulting, and para dressage for riders with physical disabilities.
Expected to draw 250,000-300,000 spectators from around the world, the FEI World Equestrian Games are held every four years, two years before the summer Olympic Games, and like the Olympic Games the World Equestrian Games honor the winners during stirring awards presentations.
“Representing the United States at the 2010 World Equestrian Games would be a dream come true,” says Koffler-Stanfield. “To hear the national anthem played in your honor…it’s why we compete.” (Read more about her below.)
Held in 1990 in Stockholm, the first World Equestrian Games involved only six equestrian disciplines. After subsequent events in The Hague and in Rome, the 2002 competition in Jerez, Spain, added the world championship for reining. Aachen, Germany, hosted the 2006 Games; and this year’s incarnation in Kentucky includes para dressage for the first time.
In preparation, the World Games 2010 Foundation held a series of seven test competitions at the Kentucky Horse Park, one for each discipline, beginning with reining in July 2009 and ending with eventing at the Rolex Three-Day Event this past April. These winners move closer to actual FEI Games participation.
Whether you plan to attend the 2010 Games, watch television coverage, follow it on the Internet, or check out the slew of related in-state events, Kentucky Living’s Guide to the 2010 World Equestrian Games is for you.
Let the Games begin
In a word, the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 World Equestrian Games are sure to be spectacular.
On September 25 and October 10, the Kentucky Horse Park’s outdoor stadium will come alive with 600-plus performers, 200 horses, a 300-member choir, a symphony orchestra, and a slew of surprises yet to be announced in a musical and equine celebration of the arts and culture of the Games’ host country, the United States.
On opening night, participating athletes grouped by countries will be led, flags waving, into the venue by 60 Culver Academy horses. And the Commonwealth’s own five-time Grammy award-winning artist, Wynonna Judd, will sing My Old Kentucky Home.
“We want to showcase Kentucky talent and artistic technicians as much as possible,” says Dr. Everett McCorvey, whose company, Global Creative Connections (www.globalcreativeconnections.com), is producing both ceremonies. “Our goal is to get the equine world and performing arts world to work together. Since the world’s best equestrian and equine athletes will be in the stadium, we want to use exceptional two-legged and four-legged performers to create not just a parade of disciplines but an equine and musical event.”
The opening ceremony will last about two and a half hours and the closing ceremony will last one and a half hours, with portions televised on NBC.
8 World Championships!
Talk about something for everyone. For the first time in history, the world championships of eight separate equine sports will be held at the same time, and they’re right in our own back yard.
In DRESSAGE, riders wearing formal attire guide their mounts in performing intricate movements. As in figure skating, some are compulsory, others are freestyle, which are choreographed by the rider and ridden to music. Like ballet on hooves, this discipline teaches a horse to be relaxed, flexible, and attentive within a defined ring.
A part of the World Equestrian Games for the first time, PARA DRESSAGE allows riders with physical disabilities to compete in a high-performance equestrian sport. Riders are classified by physical ability and mobility; each classification performs its own separate group of tests.
Creating three-for-one spectator thrills, EVENTING provides an all-around test for horse and rider. During the first day’s dressage test, the horse must be calm and collected. The second day, human and equine agility and endurance are musts to negotiate a 4-mile cross-country course with 45 jumping efforts that may include water, ditches, banks, and timber within a certain time. Also timed, jumping over obstacles in a stadium on day three requires a horse to have terrific stamina and willingness after the previous day’s tiring gallop.
The separate discipline of JUMPING is “a partnership between horse and rider,” according to Hugh Kincannon, co-discipline manager of jumping. It involves individual and team competitions, during which horses and riders sail over a course of stadium jumps, showing an animal’s athleticism, power, grace, and obedience. Penalties are incurred for exceeding the allotted time, knocking down rails, or refusing to jump an obstacle.
As in eventing, DRIVING involves three separate tests. A driver must guide a team of four horses (called four-in-hand) pulling a carriage through driven dressage patterns, a marathon competition, and an obstacle-cone competition. Dressage judging involves the team’s movements, driver’s control, and condition of harness and vehicle. In the marathon—which includes sections with trotting, walking, and obstacles—a driver and team travel a course of varied terrain with obstacles such as water, and in the final test, a twisting course of cones, which must be finished in time without knocking off the balls balanced atop the cones.
Designed to demonstrate the athleticism of a Western type horse in an arena, REINING requires a horse and rider to run an approved pattern. Each includes small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, rollbacks, 360-degree spins in place, backups, and sliding stops.
ENDURANCE riders must travel 100 miles in one day, while their incredibly fit mounts must pass a fitness test the day before the event in order to compete and at six veterinarian gates throughout and at the end of the course.
VAULTING takes place in an arena. Riders as individuals and teams perform compulsory and freestyle combinations of gymnastics and dance elements performed to music on a cantering horse guided by a lunger standing on the ground.
Regardless of the specific discipline, Kincannon notes, “Equestrian sports are one of the few sports where men and women compete equally.”
In the creative arts world, Everett McCorvey has become a household name. Professor of voice and director of opera at the University of Kentucky, he serves as vice chairman of the Kentucky Arts Council, just completed a term on the board of the National Association of State Arts Agencies, and is founding musical director of the American Spiritual Ensemble, which will be singing in the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Games. So how did this world-traveling tenor soloist land on the board of the World Games 2010 Foundation?
Ask any parent of a horse-crazy child. At age 11, McCorvey’s eldest daughter, now 18, “found her passion.” So her parents gave her lessons, bought a horse, and a farm to keep the horse on. Horses, he said, have given him the opportunity to bond with his daughter and to learn about the equine world. When he found out the 2010 World Equestrian Games would take place in Lexington, he knew he had to get involved.
“I felt there would be families like mine coming to Lexington specifically for equine activities,” he explains. “I wanted to make sure that Lexington and the surrounding area had plenty of arts and cultural options as well.”
No longer on the World Games 2010 Foundation board, McCorvey is busily producing the opening and closing ceremonies, while relishing the forthcoming influx of visitors.
“The Games are not just an equestrian event, but a cultural event,” he says. “Kentuckians can meet and learn about other world cultures and share ours with them.”
As CEO of the World Games 2010 Foundation, Jamie Link is at the helm of the year’s second largest sporting event in North America, and is involved in temporary construction of structures and seating for the 2010 Games at the Kentucky Horse Park and major Games-related vendor selections.
A 1985 graduate of the University of Kentucky with a degree in accounting, the Cynthiana native, who grew up in Lawrenceburg, brings to the position well-rounded experience in capital construction, hotel management, budgeting and human resources, and has served as deputy secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, and more importantly, as deputy director of the Kentucky Horse Park.
Though he’s been astride a horse only twice, Link has “gotten hooked.”
“I have been more of an operations and financial guy throughout my career,” he admits, “but experiencing the passion of the equestrian world has been fun and gives me confidence that this event will be very successful both from an operations standpoint and a legacy standpoint. Kentuckians are so accustomed to being recognized for Thoroughbred racing, but there’s a whole different world of equestrian sport out there.
“I think there’s a lack of perception about the enormity of the 2010 World Equestrian Games. It’s not just a big horse show. We’re expecting an average of 35,000 to 40,000 people a day for 16 days. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of this event on Kentucky’s future from an economic development standpoint and a tourism development standpoint. It’s an unbelievable opportunity for Kentucky to be on the world stage.”
Follow the 2010 Games without a ticket
Keep up with all the action at the 2010 World Equestrian Games from the comfort of your home:
World Games 2010 Foundation Inc. Web site Total 2010 Games info includes spectator guide, updates, ticketing, parking, housing, live results, history, eight disciplines, rider and horse profiles, photo galleries, videos, downloadable wallpapers; and Blog, Twitter, Facebook links; www.alltechfeigames.com.
NBC Sports Televised coverage: every discipline on September 26; October 3 immediately after the Ryder Cup; and October 10. For times, go online to www.alltechfeigames.com or check local listings.
Universal Sports Network (NBC’s new cable sports network) will broadcast a minimum of 30 hours of Games coverage. To locate your cable channel and times, go online to www.universalsports.com or check local listings.
Blog 2010 Games athlete blog at www.2010alltechweg.blogspot.com.
Podcast The 2010 Radio Show, the unofficial podcast about the 2010 Games, offers downloadable 2010 Games results and updates, http://2010radioshow.horseradionetwork.com.
Jeffrey Newman, executive chef at Boone Tavern in Berea, has parlayed a love of eating into a successful career. Even as a child, the Lexington native gravitated toward cooking shows on television and learned to rustle up great meals when his family was busy.
Trained at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Newman adds fresh ideas to the venerable restaurant’s traditional offerings, such as spoonbread and Chicken Flakes in a Bird’s Nest, and uses as much local fare as possible.
“The Kentucky Proud program (www.kyagr.com/kyproud) makes eating locally affordable,” he says. “In my opinion, it’s one of the best programs that support local sourcing in the country. The cuisine of Kentucky is special…country ham, bourbon, soup beans and cornbread, Derby pie. It’s one of the few locales known for its own kind of food.”
Honored at being selected as one of 16 Kentucky chefs to cook in the Celebrity Chef Dinner Series, Newman was one of four chosen to represent the entire group at an Alltech FEI Games promotional event in May at New York’s James Beard House.
And though performing at that venue designates “reaching the ultimate” in cooking circles, he vows, “My mom’s house is still the best place to eat in Lexington.”
Reese Koffler-Stanfield’s enthusiasm is contagious. A lifetime horsewoman—she started riding at age 7—whose eye is set on competing in dressage for the United States at the 2010 Games, she shares ardor for her sport as a USDF (United States Dressage Federation) certified instructor through Fourth Level, head trainer at her family’s Lexington-based Maplecrest Farm (www.maplecrestfarmky.com), dressage clinician, certified equine appraiser, USDF Learner Judge candidate, and advisor to the Georgetown College Equine Scholars Program. She is also a bronze, silver, and gold USDF medalist.
Far from a one rider/one horse effort, dressage requires an extensive support team. “At showtime it’s just Kasper and me out there,” the 30-year-old explains, “but we have vets, farriers, sponsors, my husband (software engineer Travis Stanfield), and my family members. I am so lucky.”
And a hard worker. Participation in worldwide competition led Reese to the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce where she earned a master’s degree.
Reese encourages young riders who harbor dreams of international competition. “You’re going to have to muck a lot of stalls, but if you’re dedicated, work hard, and keep at it, you’ll eventually get there.”
Giddyup and go
10 Travel tips for the 2010 Games
1. PICK EVENTS TO SEE Find your options at the Alltech FEI Games Web site, www.alltechfeigames.com, (888) 934-2010.
2. GET YOUR TICKETS Tickets for opening and closing ceremonies, events in eight disciplines, and grounds passes for general admission went on sale September 2009 at $25 to $150 per session. Tickets for daily hospitality packages, which can include private chalets, exclusive competition viewing, and chef-prepared dining, start at $600 and cover a wide price range.
General admission tickets, a bargain at $25 per day, are plentiful and include 2010 Games gate entrance, the Kentucky Experience, Alltech International Pavilion, 2010 Trade Show, Equine Village, and Kentucky Horse Park (KHP) attractions. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. (If you purchase an event ticket, no general admission ticket is necessary.) Purchase tickets through Ticketmaster online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling (800) 745-3000.
3. FIND A PLACE TO STAY Contact official 2010 Games Housing for options that include hotels, camping, and RV facilities through Darlene Free at Short’s Travel and Event at www.alltechfeigames.com (click on Quick Links on the right, then Accommodations), by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (859) 244-2985. You can also rent a house through Louisville-based Event Home Leasing, www.eventhomeleasing.com, (866) 577-7741. Or check for accommodations through the Bed & Breakfast Association of Kentucky Web site at www.kentuckybb.com.
4. PLAN TRANSPORTATION TO THE GAMES Book a flight through the 2010 Games Web Online Air Reservation System to one of three major airports nearby in Lexington (LEX), Louisville (SDF), or northern Kentucky (CVG).
5. FIND A PLACE TO PARK A number of transportation and parking options will be available, and more are becoming available daily. Check the Alltech FEI Games Web site for updated information. Or hire a private sedan, Hummer, limousine, or luxury vehicle online at www.goldshieldcars.com or (800) 205-7330.
6. WHAT NOT TO BRING Make sure to check online at www.alltechfeigames.com by searching Prohibited Items for a complete list of items that won’t clear the required entrance security check. A few prohibited items include: food, beverages, alcohol, umbrellas, coolers, animals, and professional photography/videotaping/recording devices.
7. ENJOY OTHER KHP OPTIONS Check out the raft of activities going on at the Kentucky Horse Park on the Games Web site and at www.kyhorsepark.com or (800) 678-8813.
8. PLAN THINGS TO DO IN THE CITY Hit downtown Lexington for tourist activities, food, and 2010 Games-related events; www.visitlex.com or (800) 845-3959.
9. PLAN THINGS TO DO IN THE STATE Explore racetracks, bourbon distilleries, and historic homes after learning your options at the Kentucky Experience; www.thekentuckyexperience.com or (502) 564-4930, ext. 114. Also check www.kentuckytourism.com or (800) 225-8747.
10. FOLLOW UPDATES ONLINE Learn the latest about the 2010 Alltech FEI Games at www.alltechfeigames.com; on www.Facebook.com
by typing in “2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games” in the search box; and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/2010AlltechWEG.
The Kentucky Horse Park: Horse heaven
A working horse farm, educational theme park, and equine competition facility, the Kentucky Horse Park is sheer joy for horse lovers. Housing the offices of 35 national, state, and regional equine organizations and associations, this 1,200-acre treasure is well on its way to becoming the leading equestrian facility of its kind in the world.
“Its sheer size and rich heritage of successfully hosting many of the best horse shows in the world make it the ideal venue to host the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games,” says John Nicholson, the park’s executive director and president of the World Games 2010 Foundation, the organizing body for the 2010 Games.
The Horse Park showcases dozens of different breeds of horses at work and play, daily equine presentations, horse-drawn tours, exhibit barns including the Hall of Champions, Smithsonian affiliate International Museum of the Horse (IMH), American Saddlebred Museum, Gallery and Gift Shop, horseback riding, and a poignant movie about the bond between horses and mankind. For an additional fee, guests can take in the IMH’s blockbuster exhibit, A Gift from the Desert: The Art, History, and Culture of the Arabian Horse, that explores the dynamic impact of the Arabian horse on Near Eastern Civilization. It will be the largest collection of Arabian horse art and artifacts ever assembled. This is not a traveling exhibit; it will be viewable exclusively here.
Do it downtown
Lexington is hosting a myriad of events for 2010 Games visitors:
Spotlight Lexington A 17-day street festival, September 24-October 10, with entertainment, merchandise and food vendors, a live video feed with updates from the Kentucky Horse Park projected onto a jumbotron, nightly concerts, children’s activities, and remedaling ceremonies featuring winning riders. Three main venues—Triangle Park, Cheapside Park, and Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Plaza; www.lexingtonky.gov/spotlightlexington.
2010 International Equestrian Festival Equine expo and trade fair at the Lexington Convention Center, September 25-October 10 with world-scope educational seminars by equine clinicians; Thoroughbred industry speakers; live equine entertainment including RFD-TV star Julie Goodnight; the History Channel’s Mark Peterson with Dusty, the world’s smartest horse; hands-on demonstrations; 300-400 vendor booths; no Games ticket required for entry; www.horsecapitalproductions.com, (859) 223-2010.
Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau 15 staffed satellite visitor info stations near clusters of hotels and downtown, plus a large visitor center at the Kentucky Horse Park for activities and trip planning; www.visitlex.com, (800) 845-3959.
Horse Capital tours New online reservation system for touring Kentucky horse farms with booking up to a year in advance; www.horsecapitaltours.com.
Horse-themed exhibits at the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky:
June 27–October 10: The Bluegrass Palette of Andre Pater, sensitive paintings of horses, hunting dogs, et al, by this Polish-born sporting artist extraordinaire;
August 22-November 21: Hoofbeats & Heartbeats: The Horse in American Art, 50 paintings that examine the role of the horse in American art; at Rose Street and Euclid Avenue on the UK campus; www.uky.edu/ArtMuseum, (859) 257-5716.
Be a host and a tourist
“Kentucky residents, show your hometown pride, and be ready to welcome the world!” says Amy Walker, public relations director for the Games.
When all those out-of-towners hit the Commonwealth, smile your best smile and help with directions. Tell them about the Alltech Fortnight Festival, a series of top-class concerts across the state all year and concurrently with the Games www.fortnightfestival.com. Then become a tourist. The state will be shining for the September influx, so why not climb in your car and see it at its spit-and-polish best?
Start in Lexington at the center of festivities. Rise with the chickens to eat a hearty country breakfast at the Keeneland Track Kitchen and watch morning Thoroughbred workouts; www.keeneland.com, (859) 254-3412. Visit with retired racing legends at Old Friends at Dream Chase Farm in Georgetown; www.oldfriendsequine.org, (502) 863-1775. Head back to the track for lunchtime burgoo and an afternoon of racing, then sample western Kentucky’s best at Billy’s Bar-B-Q.
Not a horse fan? A $15 ticket gets you into four historic homes, including Henry Clay’s Ashland; www.visitlex.com, (800) 845-3959. Hit the highway for a day trip back in time to 3,000-acre Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill near Harrodsburg; www.shakervillageky.org, (800) 734-5611, then dine Kentucky Proud at the historic Holly Hill Inn; www.hollyhillinn.com, (859) 846-4732 in Midway.
Head to Frankfort to relearn about your state at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the old and new state capitols, and Buffalo Trace Distillery; www.visitfrankfort.com, (800) 960-7200. As nearly all the world’s bourbon is made in the Commonwealth, compare your sippin’ whiskeys on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, with the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown, an educational must-see; www.kybourbontrail.com, (502) 875-9351. In Woodford County, follow your Woodford Reserve bourbon sampling with gourmet lunch and antiquing at The Glitz and Irish Acres in Nonesuch; www.irishacresgallery.com, (859) 873-7235.
Allow a day to browse Berea, the Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky, its Kentucky Artisan Center, and Berea College Log House Craft Gallery; www.berea.com, (800) 598-5263. Be sure to save room for spoonbread at the venerable Boone Tavern, the state’s first LEED Gold Certified green hotel.
KEYWORD EXCLUSIVE: KNOW MORE ABOUT THE GAMES
For more on the 2010 World Equestrian Games, including trivia, eating spots, souvenirs, and explanations of events like para dressage, driving, and reining, go to Know more about the Games.