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Press Release


Kentucky Spring Horse Shows Manager Hugh Kincannon

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Kincannon Stewardship Guides Kentucky Spring Horse Shows Growth

Written by: Kenneth Kraus
Client: Kentucky Horse Shows LLC
Release Date: 2006-04-19

Kenneth Kraus for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International

MEDIA CONTACT: Kenneth Kraus of Phelps Media Group, Inc. at (561) 753-3389 or at

WEB SITE: Phelps Media Group, Inc. International Press Releases and Photos are available for download at

PHOTO CREDIT: Kentucky Spring Horse Shows Manager Hugh Kincannon. Photo by Diana DeRosa. This photograph may be used free of charge only in relation to this PMG press release.

Kincannon Stewardship Guides Kentucky Spring Horse Shows Growth

Lexington, KY – April 19, 2006 – When the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows open their doors for another season of equestrian excellence on May 10, 2006, it is quite likely it will be another year of record attendance. Show Manager Hugh Kincannon has watched the steady growth of these two events, and six other top quality shows under his guidance, for almost twenty-five years. He has watched the Kentucky Horse Park expand from only one show ring and a lot of open fields, to a world-class facility that in four years will host the crème de la crème of equestrian events, the 2010 World Equestrian Games.

Kincannon’s first two shows of the 2006 season are the Kentucky Spring Horse Show and the Kentucky Spring Classic, scheduled for May 10-14 and May 17-21, 2006 at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

The shows, two of the nation’s finest and most popular spring equestrian competitions, feature a $30,000 and a $50,000 Grand Prix each week. Week two’s main event, the $50,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI 3*, is a member event of the $3 million dollar American Grand Prix Association (AGA) Series.

In addition to top flight jumper competitions, Kincannon’s Kentucky shows play host to the highly praised and innovative Legacy Cup of the American Hunter and Jumper Foundation. In addition, the first week is a World Championship Hunter Rider sanctioned event.

It was the late Mary Rena Murphy who called Hugh Kincannon to Kentucky for the first time many years ago. “My first horse show at the Kentucky Horse Park was in 1982. I was asked by Mary Rena Murphy, one of the first people to put on a show at the facility, to come help her out,” Kincannon explained. “The show had grown a bit, and when I say a bit, when I got involved I think we had three hundred horses at the most. I had just begun managing horse shows at my facility at Ridgewood in Medina, Ohio, when she asked me to help her in Kentucky.”

“The facility, at that time, had just two hundred permanent stalls and one show ring. I remember in those days, as the show grew, we’d have to pick the horse show up and move it to a different location every day if the weather was bad,” he recalled with a laugh. “We’d move it around on what was a grassy field, and is now the location of the two main hunter rings. In good weather, you’d have to move it every couple of days. When it rained, you moved it daily.”

“We do eight weeks of horse shows now, with the biggest being over nineteen hundred stalls, down to our smallest with a thousand stalls,” noted Kincannon. “I’d say the average size over those eight weeks is about one thousand horses showing.”

The stunning growth over the past quarter century has been incredible. Kicannon’s shows have grown to become some of the most popular and busiest competitions in the nation, and the Kentucky Horse Park has blossomed into one of the world’s finest equestrian facilities. The shows utilize five different outdoor all-weather rings, plus a beautiful indoor facility. For show jumping, the Johnson Arena offers one of the most spectacular and picturesque settings in the country.

“The overall ambience of the Horse Park, in a lot of ways, might be the best thing,” said Kincannon. “I think people just like coming here because it’s so beautiful. You look around, with all the white fencing, the barns and everything, it’s a big version of typical Kentucky bluegrass scenery.” He went on to say, “I think the number of permanent stalls (1100), and the number and quality of the show rings also bring people to the Horse Park.”

Kincannon points out that its location is the real key to success for the Horse Park and for his series of horse shows. “Its location geographically first,” he said. “The Horse Park is within a moderate drive of a lot of places in this country. Plus, its location within Lexington is important. I think Lexington is a nice city to spend some time in, with great restaurants, plenty to do, easy to navigate, and a lot of nice hotels to stay in. You should never have to stay more than ten minutes from the show grounds. We have a lot of exhibitors that spend a number of weeks with us, and they can be here that long and go to a different great restaurant every night of the week. For a medium sized city, Lexington has a lot of upscale amenities, not offered in most cities its size,” Kincannon detailed.

And he pointed out that for those that choose to travel and stay in their RVs, the Horse Park offers a wonderful facility. “It is a full service campground. It’s very attractive, and it’s very close. You’re only two minutes away from the horse show, but you’re really away from the horse show at the same time.”

What effect will the 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) have on his horse shows in the coming years? “I think that remains to be seen. Obviously the publicity generated by WEG 2010 won’t hurt, but I don’t know if it will make a huge difference as far as our horse shows are concerned as compared to five years ago when we did the selection trials here,” he noted. “I think at that time we were still a little bit of a secret to some people, but I don’t think that’s the case now. Since then, we’ve had two Pony Finals. And we’ll have two more by then. We do the Legacy Cup here for the American Hunter and Jumper Foundation. So now, I think most people are well aware of what this facility is, what it has to offer, and what our shows are all about,” Kincannon said.

“As we get closer to WEG 2010, I’d be more concerned about the various infrastructure projects that will be underway leading up to the event,” admitted Kincannon. “And certainly during 2010 we don’t know how that’s going to impact our events that year. But, my hope is, and during initial conversations with the people at the Horse Park, I don’t think it’s going to have too much of a negative effect on us. The new stadium for WEG is going to be a new creation, apart from the area where we hold all of our competitions. But, there could be an impact during 2009 and 2010, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”

He goes on to point out that the overall impact of WEG will be a plus for everyone. “As part of the long range plan for the Horse Park, we were going to see all new roads, new buildings including a big indoor arena and a major hotel. Plus, some intensive maintenance work on the existing facility,” he explained. “So I think the awarding of the WEG will galvanize the state into making sure all of those plans get done on time. Beyond 2010, the impact of the World Equestrian Games on our horse shows will be absolutely fantastic.”

Kentuckian Robbie Murphy is Kincannon’s partner in the Kentucky Spring Horse Shows. “Robbie’s a huge help in everything we do. Of course, his dearly departed mother, Mary Rena, was my original partner here,” Kincannon said. “But he and his sister Renie are key parts of the team here. He takes care of so many things, focusing particularly on the grounds aspect of the production, from ring maintenance to dealing with the Horse Park. Robbie’s involved in every decision we make here at our shows and he does a fantastic job. I bounce everything off of Robbie because he’s a partner, and mostly because I value his opinion.”

Another key member of the Kincannon team is his wife Cheryl. “The thing that’s great about having Cheryl in the office is that I never have to worry about it. I know that things will get done in a way that will be satisfying for everybody. I think if you’d ask any of our exhibitors, they’d have very positive things to say about their experiences in dealing with our horse show office. It’s an area I don’t have to spend a lot of time in and that’s very comforting.”

“We have the best team that we can get. I’m very happy with all of the people we’ve assembled at Kentucky,” he said.

Kincannon mentioned an important improvement underway for 2006. “The good news is that we are redoing all of the footing in all of the rings. I was not one hundred percent happy with the footing last year,” he said. “Of course, being a state facility, they’re always short of money. But, we got that done through a combination of state funding, donations from the horse shows themselves. Included were donations from EEI, the producers of the Rolex Three Day event, and private funds from the Horse Park Foundation. All of those funds are raised by donations, to a great extent by our exhibitors, who give money privately to the Horse Park Foundation. We’ll spend between $300,000 and $400,000 on the resurfacing project,” said Kincannon.

“We’re making what was good footing even better. Even when you have excellent footing, you can’t just ignore it. You’ve got to do some ongoing maintenance on a yearly basis, and that’s something we fell behind on.”

What makes him so successful as a manger? Kincannon thinks it is all of the years that he spent on the road. “I think my best qualities as a show manager gain root in the fact that I competed and traveled on the tour for twenty years as an exhibitor, at every level. So I tend to look at things with an exhibitor’s eye,” he said. “Tempered by the fact that they are my events, I’m managing them and have many other considerations, too. I know that my first thought is, what impact, good or bad, will that will have on the exhibitors. Most decisions that a horse show manager makes have a good impact on some and a bad impact on others. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the beast. I try and choose the course of action that is going to benefit the most people, or, be the most fair. I think fairness is the most important part of my decisions. I try and look at things from an exhibitor’s point of view as much as humanly possible.”

And how about his not so good quality as a manager? “I could probably be more timely in my organizational habits,” Kincannon said with laugh.



Kentucky Spring Horse Show – May 10-14, 2006
Kentucky Spring Classic – May 17-21, 2006


Two of the nation’s premier equestrian competitions, featuring four CSI 3* rated grand prix competitions, one AGA sanctioned. A World Championship Hunter Rider recognized hunter competition. The Kentucky Spring Horse Shows are the host event for 2006 Legacy Cup. Both shows are qualifying events for the Washington International Championships and the North American League finals.


Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, KY, site of the 2010 World Equestrian Games. Home to the United States Equestrian Federation.


A World Championship Hunter Rider Event
The $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, CSI-3*
The $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix, CSI-3*

The $30,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic, CSI-3*
The $50,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix, CSI-3*
A Member Event of the AGA Grand Prix Series


8am – 5pm daily


Admission is free to the public. The Kentucky Horse Park charges a $3.00 parking fee.

VIP Seating:

Tables of eight are available each week in the ringside spectator pavilions for both shows at a price of $500 per week. This will entitle table holders and their guests to a table at both the Johnson and Walnut Rings and a complimentary luncheon preceding the $50,000 Commonwealth Grand Prix on Sunday, May 14, 2006, and the $50,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix on Sunday, May 21, 2006. Tables may be reserved by calling 859-233-0492 or in the Show Office.


The Kentucky Horse Park charges a $3.00 daily parking fee. Horse Show Exhibitors may
purchase a weekly parking pass at the main Horse Park entrance for $5.00.


The Kentucky Horse Park is located 8 miles northeast of Lexington, Kentucky at Exit 120 on Interstate 75.


Before Show - Telephone: (859) 233-0492, Email:

During Show - Telephone: (859) 254-3343, Fax: (859) 231-6097


Ring Dimensions/Specs:

All outdoor competition arenas and schooling areas consist of a limesand base and mortar sand cushion. The Indoor Arena consists of sand and loam. The dimensions of the competition areas are as follows:

Stonelea: 135’ x 285’, Claiborne: 140’ x 270’
Murphy: 140’ x 290’, Indoor: 145’ x 285’
Walnut: 300’ x 370’, Johnson: 300’ x 400’


Vendors offering equestrian equipment, apparel, jewelry and home furnishings are located adjacent to the Stonelea Ring. Vendors may call 859-233-0492 for information and to reserve space.


HOLIDAY INN NORTH-859 - 233-0512 - Approximately 4 miles
FOUR POINTS SHERATON – 859-259-1311 – Approximately 4 miles
LA QUINTA – 859-231-7551 – Approximately 4 miles
KNIGHTS INN – 859-231-0255 – Approximately 4 miles
EMBASSY SUITES – 859-455-5000 – Approximately 4 miles
MARRIOT GRIFFIN GATE – 859-231-5100 – Approximately 4 miles
RESIDENCE INN – 859-231-6191 – Approximately 5 miles
COURTYARD BY MARRIOT – 859-253-4646 – Approximately 5 miles
RAMADA INN – 859-299-1261 – Approximately 6 miles
RED ROOF INN – 859-293-2626 – Approximately 6 miles
HAMPTON INN – 502-867-4888 – Approximately 6 miles
SUPER EIGHT – 502-863-4888 – Approximately 6 miles
MICROTEL INN & SUITES - 502-868-8000 - Approximately 6 miles


Kentucky Horse Shows, LLC
P. O. Box 11428
Lexington, KY 40575-1428
859-233-0493 (phone)
859-233-0495 (fax)

Media Contact:

Phelps Media Group, Inc.
13833 Wellington Trace
Unit E-4 #221
Wellington, FL 33414
561-753-3389 (phone)
561-753-3386 (fax)

PHOTO CREDIT: Kentucky Spring Horse Shows Manager Hugh Kincannon. Photo by Diana DeRosa. This photograph may be used free of charge only in relation to this PMG press release.


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