Hats off to the Horse Industry

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Posted at 12:27 PM, Jul 30, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — At the Kentucky Horse Park, workers are busy putting the finishing touches on the Hats Off Day event. It is making its triumphant return this year after being canceled last year due to the pandemic.

From thoroughbred racing to hunters and jumpers, the equine industry is synonymous with Kentucky, and inside the Kentucky Horse Park, it is starting to feel like business as usual.

Dr. Tom Riddle, founder of Hats Off Day said, "I would say the horse park this year has really hit its stride again."

And that is good news.

Last year, a number of events at the park had to be called off due to the pandemic which translated to money and jobs lost. The horse industry in Kentucky generates between 80,000 to 100,000 direct or indirect jobs and has an economic impact of $8 billion.

Once in danger of being lured out of Kentucky, Dr. Tom Riddle created the Hats Off Day event to highlight the importance of the industry over 15 years ago, and it turns out the event is just as relevant today as it was then.

Dr. Riddle said, "The benefit of this event is that it's all outside, and so people can come out here and not worry about exposure to the virus because they are outside."

Starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday, there will be ways to learn about horses, free horse and pony rides, grand prix show jumping, and more. In line with the event's name, horse farm hats will be given out to everyone in attendance while supplies last.

"It's a great day for a family to come out, be outside, and enjoy what makes Kentucky Kentucky, " Dr. Riddle said.

Hats Off Day begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday, rain or shine. Admission is free. For more information visit: