$45 Million Indoor Arena at Kentucky Horse Park Opened

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Kentucky Horse Park's new indoor arena.
Kentucky Horse Park's new indoor arena.

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, USA, July 15–A new US$45 million (€32 million) state-of-the-art indoor arena was officially opened at the Kentucky Horse Park Wednesday, completing another major facility for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games next year.

Features include 5,700 stadium seats and nine suites with 200 suite seats, a 135 x 300-foot (41 x 91m) event floor (equal to one US football field or four basketball courts) with special equine surface, 20,000 square feet (1,858 sq. meters) of exhibitor space, six concession areas, a warm-up barn, outdoor warm-up ring, high-tech sound system, 568 parking spaces and bathrooms with 91 stalls.

The Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, the fundraising arm of the park, is constructing a three-barn complex with 312 stalls adjacent to the arena to provide stabling. The state-of-the-art barns, funded entirely by the private sector, will allow the Kentucky Horse Park to serve as a competition facility 365 days per year, making the park even more attractive to potential horse shows currently held in other states.

The opening of the indoor stadium comes just three months after the inuaguration of the Kentucky Horse Park’s US$25 million (€17.8 million) Outdoor Stadium. The Outdoor Stadium has almost 7,300 grandstand seats (5,173 covered, 150 for disabled), and the flexibility to expand seating to 30,000 for very large shows like the 2010 WEG.

John Nicholson, KHP executive director, said: “If one were to chronicle the highlights of the past decade at the Kentucky Horse Park, a decade already distinguished by significant accomplishments, the opening of our new Indoor Arena stands as the crowning achievement.

“Today the Kentucky Horse Park, together with Governor and Mrs. Steven Beshear, the General Assembly, civic leaders and citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky celebrate not only the opening of this impressive structure, but also the successful partnership that produced it, and the legacy of benefits that will flow from it for decades to come.”

The arena was designed by GBBN Architects which has offices in Lexington and Louisville, and built by DW Wilburn, a Lexington company. It was designed specifically for the park, after consultations with the leaders of numerous equestrian disciplines to be the most versatile and user-friendly facility possible. While designed for equestrian competition, the arena will also be used frequently for other types of events.

Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear said, “This arena is not just a contribution to the horse industry; it will have a positive effect across the commonwealth. Every citizen in each corner of the Kentucky can take pride in this arena because we will all reap the rewards in terms of additional business and increased awareness around the world.”