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BY TARA LEISURE

Get ready for a charitable day at the races; it’s time again for the 79th Annual Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show at the Red Mile. The Junior League of Lexington hosts their annual event July 6-11, 2015.

The Charity Horse Show has been a Junior League tradition since 1937, when it began as a fundraiser for community programs. It remains for this purpose, but has grown to be the world’s largest outdoor American Saddlebred show and the first leg of the Saddlebred Triple HJ_July15_coverCrown.

“Lexingtonians should know that this is a major equestrian sporting event, right in their own backyard,” says Amanda Laborio, a Junior League member and this year’s Horse Show Marketing Chair. She explains that the Junior League’s chosen philanthropies are provided funds that go towards a variety of civic improvements that can be seen all over Lexington.

“The preservation of the Bodley-Bullock House,” an historic home in Gratz Park which houses the League’s office, will be funded for “renovation and ongoing maintenance projects,” she says.

“The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Bluegrass will be receiving new play equipment that will be utilized for children who experience trauma as a result of sexual abuse.

“Girls on the Run of Central KY will be getting scholarships for girls to join their mentoring program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident via curriculum that creatively integrates running.

“A ‘Super Saturday’ will be funded at KET to allow young children to have a hands-on experience with music, science, and health exploration.

“The Visually Impaired Preschool Services is being provided with welcome bags for children with visual impairments.”

The show is known for being the world’s largest outdoor Saddlebred horse show in existence, as it attracts over 30,000 spectators every year. Its out-of-town visitors generate nearly $5 million for the Lexington community each year during their stay. Almost one thousand exhibitors travel from all over the world to compete for $70,000 in prize money. In addition to seeing some of the finest horses in the world, the show features a unique set of events, several dining options, and shopping in the Gaited Gallery each night

This year’s show will feature unique, family-friendly events you don’t have to be a horse show veteran to enjoy, Laborio says.

Tuesday’s Family Night begins at 6:30pm with the stick horse race, followed by bounce houses, face painting, and pony rides. Wednesday is a theme night titled “Brims and Bridles,” that includes a fashion show by Glasscock Boutique. Thursday’s theme is “Paint the Red Mile Pink,” in honor of the Horses and Hope initiative. Kentucky’s First Lady, Jane Beshear will be in attendance for that event. Saturday morning 10:30am is the second annual dog show, where guests can enter your dog into classes such as Puppy, Costume, Pedigree, and Trick Dog.

Laborio has three helpful tips for any potential new attendees to the Horse Show:

  1. Come prepared to shop! In addition to the sporting aspect of the Show, we also have the Gaited Gallery that will be full of vendors offering a variety of items, some equestrian related but not all of them.
  2. There are special events going on throughout the Show, from Family Night on Tuesday the 7th to the Dog Show on Saturday morning of the 11th, so be aware of the event schedule to make sure you don’t miss any of the fun!
  3. Bring your friends and family! This is a great event that is entertaining for all ages

The 2015 Lexington Junior League Charity Horse Show, presented by Forcht Bank and My Favorite Things, is  July 6-11, 2015. General admission tickets may be purchased at the door for $5 Monday through Thursday, and $10 Friday & Saturday. Children under six are admitted free. Morning Sessions are free to the public.  Proceeds benefit local and regional charitable organizations sponsored by the Junior League of Lexington.

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