Most people in the horse industry know about the event held in Kentucky known commonly as ‘Rolex’ . But, few know the organization behind the horse park and the host of many of the equestrian world’s top events.
The Kentucky Horse Park is the proud home of the Rolex Three Day Event or RD3K. The reason why so many great events can be held at the park is in large part due to the vision and commitment of two organizations: the Kentucky Horse Park Commission, dedicated to overseeing the park, and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, dedicated to rising funds and awareness to the park’s many programs and beneﬁts.
The Kentucky Horse Park, a state run and funded park, and is the world’s only park dedicated to humankind’s relationship with and love for the horse – a very special place to visit and absorb just how much the Horse has contributed to our history and society.
During the RD3K, I sat down with Founder of the Kentucky Horse
Park Foundation, Nina Boone and with Executive Director, Laura Klumb for Elite Equestrain magazine to get a better understanding of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission and Kentucky Horse Park Foundation’s role in the Rolex Three Day Event and the vision for Kentucky Horse Park.
NB- One of the ﬁrst thoughts of the mission of the foundation was to expand and rise the shell facilities of the horse park. Originally it only had one small rink and 200 stalls. Today we have 5 plus large barns, 15 rinks and arenas sized to host top tier events, stadium seating and a media center, 30 trade commissions-run head ofﬁces including the United Stated Dressage Federation, United States Equestrian Federation, United States Hunter Jumper Association, American Hanoverian Society, US Pony Club, United States Professional Horseman’s Association, American Farriers Association, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners, just to name a few.
So, the mission to enhance and expand the park hasn’t changed. However we have grown our donor base, from national to inter-national, as our message and mission have spread throughout the world.
EE- What is the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation’s role the Rolex 3 Day Event?
NB- The role of KHPF is to expand and grow new and existing relationships with donors by giving them the experience of a world-class event, such as the Rolex Three Day Event. We host a hospitality tent that allows a fun relaxing experience to donors of the Foundation that may have not been exposed to an event such as the RD3K. It also allows us to reach out into the equestrian sport world and expand our mission of the horse park to a new audience.
EE- What is the 10-20 year vision of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation?
BEHIND THE SCENES ROLEX
EE- How did you ﬁrst get involved in fundraising and what inspired you to work for the Kentucky Horse Park?
NB- I was the ﬁrst head of Kentucky Horse Parks Commission in the early 80’s. We quickly realized that in order to execute our vision of dedicating the park to man’s relationship and history with the horse we would need more resources than the state could pro-vide. So we agreed to start a foundation (501-C3) to raise private donations and funds to support the vision of the Kentucky Horse Park and preserve the history and bond of horse and man for future generations. Thus, we formed Kentucky Horse Park Foundation.
Today we have raised over 30 million dollars for Kentucky Horse Park and now have 50 board members of varying backgrounds contributing to the foundation and vision of the park. So, the inspiration was the vision of the park and preserving a big part of mankind’s history, the horse.
EE- How did you become Executive Director of Kentucky Horse Park Foundation?
LK- I had been in development and fundraising for 20 years. I had grown up in Lexington and always loved coming to the Park even as a child. Accepting the position as Executive Director allowed me to raise money for a park and organization I have loved my whole life.
EE- What were your mission and vision when you ﬁrst came on board at KHPF and has it changed since then?
Most people in the horse industry know about the
event held in Kentucky known commonly as ‘Rolex’ . But, few know the organization behind the horse park and the host of many of the equestrian world’s top events.
NB- To preserve the history of the horse and human relationship for future generations to enjoy and learn from. By the continued growth and expansion of the park. One of the ways KHPF is preserving that relationship and history is through the growth our endowment fund.
EE- There are many new business’s entering the horse industry today, from for proﬁt to nonproﬁt. What changes do you feel they will need to be aware of in the new market and what advise could you give them?
NB- We need more nonproﬁts that can help people in general. But we also need more collaboration; it is key in business today. The best thing we can do is work together and build professional relationships that help more people. This way we can reach our goals and fulﬁll missions faster while working toward a higher purpose.
EE- How do you feel the Equestrian Event Center industry has change in the last 20 yrs?
NB- One of the things that has happened, and not all for the good, is that showing in the horse world is a like a pyramid and has gotten more expensive. The park can’t host shows that cater to small events. It has to have bigger shows that can produce more of a return because they can stay for a longer period of time versus one-day shows. But one of the ways Kentucky Horse Park is trying to bridge that gap is by providing organizational events that can reach more people. Such as our Pony Club events and Cross Country Schooling on the Rolex course. These events cater to new and young riders of all levels. And our museums are for everyone, of any age, to enjoy the contribution the horse has made to man-kind.