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The Kentucky Horse Park turns into an international competition site again this weekend

Left to Right-Rider Calvin Boeckmann-Three-Day Event Press Chief Marty Bauman
Stu Johnson
Left to Right-Rider Calvin Boeckmann-Three-Day Event Press Chief Marty Bauman

The end of April has no shortage of events in the bluegrass region of Kentucky. Upwards of 90,000 people will converge on Kentucky Horse Park grounds over the next few days for the Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event presented by MARS Equestrian.

For more than four decades the best eventing riders and horses have come to central Kentucky with high expectations.  With the Summer Olympic Games only months away, Press Chief Marty Bauman said high international interest only gets stronger this time.

 “Winning at Kentucky or finishing really well at Kentucky carries a lot of weight.  You know, we are one of only seven five-star three-day events in the world,” said Bauman.


Wednesday Practice in the Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park
Stu Johnson
Wednesday Practice in the Ring at the Kentucky Horse Park

Another healthy investment of state dollars into the Horse Park is no surprise, said Bauman.  The veteran equestrian competition spokesman said that money pays off in a big way with a boost to the state’s economy with events throughout the year.  

An international field of competitors from nine countries take part in the Three-Day Event.  This year the field includes an excited newcomer from Germany, Calvin Boeckmann

“It’s my very, very first time here in Kentucky.  It’s also my very, very first five-star.  It’s also the horse’s first five-star.  We’ve been partnered for three years now, but it’s just really exciting with Paris being ahead.  It’s just something, I mean Kentucky is special,” said Boeckmann.

The Olympic Games are being held this summer in France.  Boeckmann, who’s 22, said he first started riding 17 years ago, and he credits his mother for being his mentor.  Thousands are expected for dressage Thursday and Friday, cross country Saturday, and show jumping Sunday.

Here's an interview with Three-Day Press Chief Marty Bauman:


Here's the interview with German rider Calvin Boeckmann:


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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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