In an effort to promote the local Thoroughbred industry, a recently formed company called Horse Capital Productions will launch a Web site Jan. 15 to serve as a bridge between farms and tour companies in the Bluegrass.
The idea for the site (www.horsecapitaltours.com) came about when several industry figures were brainstorming how to use next fall’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games as a way to promote Kentucky’s tourism industry, as well as be a catalyst for the horse business.
“This project is taking the existing tours that the companies do around the private farms, and bringing all ticketing and information online for the first time,” said Kimberly Eilers Brown, co-founder and managing partner of Horse Capital Productions. “The reason it’s so important is because it gives our worldwide audience the opportunity to explore the Bluegrass.”
Farms are given the option to remain private, be partially open to the public, or be available through tour companies via the Web site. Anne Buchanan, CEO and co-founder of Horse Capital Productions, said the underlying purpose behind the site is to provide information for both fans and future industry investors—those interested in becoming new owners and breeders. Tours, which range between $30-$150 can be booked up to a year in advance, and tickets will be supplied via email.
“This is a great opportunity for agritourism and economic development,” said David Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association/Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders. “I think this could really help market our industry—not just during the (WEG), but beyond that.”
Switzer, who has been involved in the development phases of the project for the last six months, said there would be a link for the site on the Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government homepage, and it would also pop up in Google searches for Lexington. “We’re trying to make this easy for everyone,” he explained.
“I think this tour Web site is going to make it so much easier for other farms to make themselves accessible without making it intrusive,” said Jen Roytz, director of marketing and communications for Three Chimneys. Three Chimneys will offer a couple of different options on the site. One will be a drive through-style tour of the farm’s different divisions, while the other will be more of a walking tour, structured to accommodate a few hundred people.
Horse Capital Productions is sponsoring a 16-day event called the International Equestrian Festival, which will serve as a pick up site for most of the tours listed on its Web site during the WEG Sept. 25-Oct. 10.
Located downtown in Lexington’s Convention Center, the festival will also serve as an informational convention and seminar series, a hospitality center, and an international marketplace with more than 300 exhibitors. Farm representatives will be on hand during the convention to provide both fan-based and technical seminars for WEG attendees who are looking for something to do in between events at the Horse Park.