The Kentucky Show Legacy

Guðmar Pétursson founded the Kentucky Icelandic Horse Show in the year of 2002 making it the longest running Icelandic horse show in the USA that has never missed a year. In the beginning it was held at the Kentucky Horse Park and then moved to Lakeside Arena in Frankfort. In recent years Locust Hill Farm in Prospect, KY has hosted it. We here at Léttleiki are looking forward to being the hosts of the Kentucky Show 2015 and on!

One of the special things about the KYIHS is that it was one of the first shows to have three international judges and this has continued throughout the history of the show. Another special thing about the KYIHS has been the focus on education through demonstrations, seminars, clinics and pre-show lessons. One of the goals of the show is to always provide as many educational opportunities to the Icelandic horse community as possible.

Finally the KYIHS is usually the last show of the competition season. This makes it a final destination for many competitors. The show has always been a reunion of Icelandic horse enthusiast. Even people unable to ride in the show often attend to reconnect with friends.


Comments from KYIHS participants:

All the people who attend whether it is to ride or cheer us on is what makes the KY show special. We thought it would be appropriate to ask for their comments on their KYIHS experiences from 2014.

Debbie Faver from Ohio is new to Icelandic horses and the KY show was her first time ever competing in an Icelandic horse show.   Debbie appreciated as a novice rider and first time competitor that “…there were events for all types of horses and people. Everyone had something to do and participate in. I really enjoyed watching the flying pace race and pace test. I enjoyed that the most because I want to do that next year. That´s my goal!” Debbie had two favorite moments from the show: “When we were all doing the bourbon tölt. I thought that was so much fun… Also you know what I really liked? It was great seeing Alexandra Venable get the Youth Award and get the recognition for all her good work.”

Youth rider Julia Hasenauer came all the way from California and then borrowed five-gaiter Máni frá Eskiholti II from Léttleiki Icelandics for the five gait classes in the show. She also won the Youth Tölt on stallion Veigar frá Lækjamóti. Julia is a student of Laura Benson and has been riding Icelandic horses for about 5 years now. When asked about the show she responded: “This was my first time participating in the KY show. I was amazed at the whole setup, all the amazing horses, landscape, the Knights of Iceland show at Léttleiki Icelandics, and the dinners & entertainment. This show was the high point of my year!”

Charlotte Bucknell Reilly brought her horse Sprettur down from Pennsylvania to attend the show. Charlotte has been riding Icelandic horses over 10 years and has attended KYIHS several times.   About the KY show Charlotte says, “ I love the friendly atmosphere, everyone working together to make sure everyone has a wonderful experience.” Her favorite moment from the show this year was “riding with crazy Kathy (KYIHS organizer) and having a great time!”

The Kentucky show often has a variety of international participants. OnIce Horse Farm in Canada has been a supporter of KYIHS for several years. Sydney Horas the head trainer at OnIce has been working with Icelandic horses almost her entire life. When commenting on the KYIHS Sydney says, “so far it holds the top spot for my favorite North American Icelandic Horse Show out of the shows I have attended. I love the atmosphere surrounding the show, it is a great place to seriously compete and do your best, while having fun and learning. The Saturday evening food and entertainment is always outstanding. Although I love everything about the event my favorite part is the T1 finals, I love watching, in my opinion, the most talented breed of horse doing what they do best… tölt! Although our family is not technically American we always feel right at home while in Kentucky at the Kentucky Icelandic Horse Show.”