A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Popular Breyerfest starts today at the Kentucky Horse Park — draws thousands from around the world

The real Simba, a rarity (Photos provided)

The real Simba, a rarity (Photos provided)

Breyer Animal Creations, makers of the world’s most realistic model horses will hold its 26th annual festival for horse lovers and model horse collectors at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, starting today through Sunday.

This fun, family-friendly festival celebrates the world of horses and especially the real horses that inspire the Breyer models.

Breyer marks its 65th anniversary this year and the iconic toy company’s biggest fan festival, BreyerFest, will bring more than 10,000 horse lovers and 200 guest horses from around the world to the Kentucky Horse Park.

The Breyer Simba

The Breyer Simba

BreyerFest’s theme this year is Vive La France, and Simba du Pont de Tournay, a rare French Ardennais, one of only 15 in the U.S., is this year’s Celebration Horse. Simba, a red roan stallion weighing approximately 1700 lbs., is owned by Joyce and Gene Concklin of Florida. A limited edition collectible Breyer model of Simba is included with every three-day ticket purchase to BreyerFest!

New to BreyerFest this year will be the exciting sport of Horseball. Horseball is fast-paced team sport that combines aspects of polo, basketball and quidditch! Presented by the American Horseball Association in cooperation with the International Horseball Federation, top international players from France, Spain, Portugal and Canada will present an exciting demonstration of horseball each day.

Other special equine guests include: Wismer Clydesdales six-horse mare hitch from Canada; 2011 Endurance Horse of the Year OT Sara Moniet RSI and owner/rider Crockett Dumas from Utah; Quarter Pony Supreme Champions Smokin Doubledutch from Oregon and Pinto Champion Chocolate Chip Kisses from Minnesota; undefeated National Arabian Hunter Champion Oration from New Jersey; and Appaloosa Heritage and World Champion Lil Ricky Rocker from Ohio.

On Saturday evening, BreyerFest will host Dreaming of Horses at the Alltech Arena, a special evening entertainment created by Yvonne Barteau of KYB Dressage starring Yvonne, the KYB Dressage troupe and Dan James of Double Dan Horsemanship. Lights, music and horses will illuminate this special event. Admission is included with all three-day tickets and single day tickets holders can upgrade their ticket to attend.

Breyer's Chocolate Chip Kisses

Breyer’s Chocolate Chip Kisses

BreyerFest is an immersive experience and there are lots of things for people to see, do and experience. There are three days of live horse exhibitions in the arena featuring breeds as diverse as Baroque breeds, miniature horses and Fell Ponies. And, U.S. National Singles Driving Champion Sterling Graburn will perform along with drill team and vaulters! American Parkour experts, The Tribe, will be giving demos and teaching kids their urban gymnastics, while Splash Dogs will again host its Eastern Regional Championships at BreyerFest.

In addition, America’s top young riders will be competing in the North American Young Riders Championships in Dressage, Show Jumping, Endurance and Eventing that weekend. The Tonka® Fun Zone will feature a playground dedicated to Tonka toys.

Other activities include meet and greets with special equine guests, free pony rides and an exotic petting zoo, 65-booth Trade Fair, a mega Breyer Store filled with models created especially for BreyerFest, a Craft and Activity Center with free crafts and face painting, model horse displays and shows, workshops and free seminars. Tickets include access to activities at the Kentucky Horse Park.

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