Documentary Chronicles Thoroughbred Industry

At a time when worldwide attention is focused on Kentucky for the upcoming World Equestrian Games, juxtaposed by the adverse effects of the economic downturn on the state’s equine industry, a new documentary film tells the story of the Kentucky’s Thoroughbred horse farms.  

Produced by Lexington-based High Impact Productions, the 30-minute "Beyond the Stone Fences" details the majesty, as well as the daily operations, of six regional horse farms.

Premiering nationally on HRTV, Monday, Sept. 20 at 10:30 p.m. ET, "Beyond the Stone Fences" features never-before-seen high definition footage and exclusive interviews with farm owners, operators and staff from Lexington’s Calumet, Donamire, Crestwood, and Mt. Brilliant Farms; Winstar Farm near Versailles; and Three Chimneys Farm near Midway.

The film will also air on Kentucky’s PBS affiliate, KET, beginning Sunday, Sept. 5 at 10:30 p.m. ET.

“It was important for us to launch this film now, amidst the excitement generated by the World Equestrian Games, International Equestrian Festival, and other related activities in order to educate a broader audience about one of Kentucky¹s most high profile economic engines,” said Doug High, the film’s executive producer and co-director, in a release. 

“With the equine industry financially stung from this economy, we hope our documentary will have an immediate, positive effect by showcasing our horse farms and the dedicated people who work them. We’re very honored to play a small role in telling Kentucky’s equine story to the world.”

The film offers viewers an opportunity to experience Calumet Farm, which is now closed to the public, as well as rare views of the Man O’ War Barn and victory bell at Mt. Brilliant Farm.  

Additional highlights include: Three Chimney’s paddocks of “celebrity” horses such as Big Brown   and Smarty Jones  ; glimpses inside WinStar Farm, producer of the 2010 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winners (both gr. I); Crestwood Farm’s multi-generational, family-run business; and the renowned architecture amidst the rolling hills of Donamire Farm.

The film also signals a new direction in equine programming for national cable broadcaster and one of the documentary’s underwriters, HRTV.

“As HRTV continues its evolution from a solid foundation in horse racing to include all horse sports, it is our goal to include coverage of many parts of the equine lifestyle,” said Jim Bates, executive vice president and general manager for the network, in a statement. “Beyond the Stone Fences celebrates the beauty of the finest Kentucky horse farms, clearly an integral part of our industry, and we are very pleased to premiere this program to our nationwide broadcast and worldwide Internet audiences.”

“When Doug High told me he wanted to both show beautiful horse farms and tell the stories behind them, I knew we had to be involved,” said David Lord, president of the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, another of the film’s underwriters, in a statement. “Amazingly, no one else has done this before.

The film markets our unique land and heritage and tells a story that helps us (Kentuckians) reconnect to our land and introduces a whole new audience to the wonders of the Bluegrass.”

The program was co-directed and written by Al Greenfield. In addition to HRTV and the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, the film was made possible due to underwriting support from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and Horse Capital Productions, with production actualized by Post Time Productions in Lexington and The PPS Group in Covington, Ky.

For a complete listing of Beyond the Stone Fences’ national broadcast schedule, visit www.hrtv.com; for PBS Kentucky airdates, visit www.ket.org.

The film will also be screened at the International Equestrian Festival, which takes place Sept. 25 ¬ October 10 at the Lexington Convention Center in downtown Lexington.

A retail DVD release of Beyond the Stone Fences is scheduled to be available in mid-September at various locations, including online at Amazon.com and through the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau website store at www.visitlex.com.

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