by Kate S. Spencer, Kentucky Three-Day Event “Super Fan”
With the 2020 Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event less than two months away, it’s time to nail down your travel plans and make absolutely sure that you have ALL of your tickets. It’s important to know that the LRK3DE is NOT the only show in Lexington at this time; the Keeneland thoroughbred racing spring meet will also be happening, so there will be a lot of visitors vying for rooms, flights and restaurant reservations. The earlier you can confirm your reservations, the better. Still don’t know which day to fly to Lexington? Still aren’t sure whether you want a commentary headset? Let me lay some wisdom on you.
- If you don’t have tickets yet, buy them. 🙂
- Plan Your Arrival Day. West Coasters and international attendees should plan to arrive by Tuesday, April 21st. For everyone else, Wednesday, April 22nd, can be your arrival day. Just make sure you can get to the Kentucky Horse Park on Wednesday in time to see the First Horse Inspection beginning at 3 p.m. on High Hope Inspection Lane. (Read more on the ‘jogs’ here.) This is the true beginning of the LRK3DE, and it’s absolutely the best place to see the riders and horses up close. The competitors will be dressed to impress, and the horses will be fit and gleaming.
- Book Your Flight. The Blue Grass Airport in Lexington is the closest airport; Louisville and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky international airports are less than 70 miles away (you will want to rent a car if you fly in to either of these airports).
- Book Your Accommodations. The Kentucky Horse Park is situated between Lexington and Georgetown. Both have some beautiful hotels and inns, as well as a large number of rentals available through Airbnb and VRBO.
- Rent a Car. Though Uber and Lyft are great ways to get directly to a destination, you will definitely want to drive along our gorgeous country roads to see all the new foals trying out their impossibly long legs. Here is a link to a fabulous drive. (Taxis/Ubers, etc., may be more difficult to find in Georgetown.)
- Plan Your Meals. The Bluegrass Area has some amazing restaurants, and most every chef is committed to buying and serving locally grown products. Remember that there are a LOT of visitors here during LRK3DE weekend, so make reservations if at all possible, and make them soon. Here are a few of my favorite places in Lexington:
– (with kids) Ramsey’s Diner, Windy Corner Market;
– (for creative deliciousness) Middle Fork Kitchen Bar, Coles 735 Main
– (for Kentucky all the way) Holly Hill Inn, Merrick Inn;
– (for BBQ) Blue Door Smokehouse, City Barbeque;
– (for breakfast) Josie’s, First Watch, Sunrise Bakery.
- Print Your Tickets. If you ordered your tickets online, you should have gotten an email from etix confirming that your tickets are available for download. Print ALL of your tickets, and make sure that you have BOTH Ground Admission tickets AND Reserved Stadium Seating tickets for dressage and jumping.
- Order A Commentary Headset. This is my best advice for truly enjoying the dressage competition. A limited number of headsets will be available to rent at the event on a first-come, first-served basis, so order yours now to ensure that you have one.
- Measure Your Horse. There will be SO MANY fabulous vendors at LRK3DE, and many of them will be selling products for your equine friends. This is a great place to buy halters, bridles, saddles, horse blankets and saddle pads. If you can bring a halter or bridle that currently fits your horse, definitely do that. At the very least you should take a few measurements of your horse so that when you see that PERFECT THING you will know what size to buy.
- Bring A Big Suitcase! The LRK3DE Trade Fair is also the best place to buy helmets, gloves, boots and riding attire, mainly because you can try everything on. Want to buy your little rider a sparkly new helmet? It might help to get a measurement of her head, just in case.
- Check Out Area Horse Attractions. The Bluegrass IS the Horse Capital of the World, and we have some absolutely gorgeous horse farms to visit. The last day of Keeneland’s spring meet is Friday, April 24th, and if you are flying out of Louisville airport, make time to stop by Churchill Downs, they have a fabulous museum, and you may catch a glimpse of a Derby contender arriving in style.
LRK3DE will be here before you know it, so now is the time to finalize your plans. If you need more information about the Lexington / Georgetown area, the folks at the Lexington Visitors Center and Georgetown-Scott County Tourism know everything there is to know about bourbon distillery tours, places to stay, historic homes in the area, and everything happening in and around town. (If you call VisitLEX at 1-800-845-3959 they will mail you their most popular driving tour map. Ask for Polly; she’s a peach!)
And, if you don’t have time to make all your local plans ahead of time, when you arrive at the Horse Park for the event stop by the new Official Visitor Center near the Bruce Davidson statue by Rolex Stadium for information on local sightseeing, dining and more. (Courtesy of Georgetown-Scott County Tourism and VisitLEX.)
See you at the First Horse Inspection on April 22nd!