by Kate S. Spencer, Kentucky Three-Day Event “Super Fan”
It’s one of the most-asked questions about the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, and it’s a big one. I have attended this event many times, with and without dogs of various shapes and sizes, and I can tell you that my answer to this question always starts with “Well, it depends… ” and ends with “I don’t bring mine anymore.”
The official answer is that dogs are allowed (on leash at ALL times) on the grounds of the Kentucky Horse Park during this event. Dogs are not allowed inside Rolex Stadium at any time, with or without a leash, not even small dogs…(and don’t think we won’t see you holding your Jack Russel in your lap because we WILL.) There will be a lot of dogs milling around all four days of the LRK3D, but the largest number of dogs will be there on Saturday for Cross-Country day, and I completely understand why that is. I thought my dogs would really like being out with me, trotting the course, seeing the horses, enjoying a beautiful Spring day outdoors with their favorite human. I decided to ask my dogs what they thought of their experiences, and here is what I learned:
Jake (border collie): Dude, it was totally cool that so many people wanted to throw sticks for me! NOT cool that Mom wouldn’t let me off my leash for an actual run! Wandering around the tent area was a bummer because there were a LOT of people stepping on my feet, and it was HOT and I’m a black dog, and all the water bowls were full of dog spit and that was just gross. I liked playing in the water…smelled kinda like the barn. Huh, there were horses? I don’t remember seeing any, but there were a LOT of sticks!!
Sparky (miniature dachshund): #allmynopes…never again. I thought I would die. Seriously, if I wanted to swim through tall wet grass like a porpoise I would have asked to be born an actual porpoise. It was exhausting! Mom ended up carrying me and that made us both hot and sweaty. What did I like seeing at this event? Madam, I couldn’t SEE anything except legs and feet and grass, and the grass was WET! I hate being wet. I don’t even go out to pee when it’s raining. So, a big negative for me on the horse thing.
Heather (golden retriever): I love EVERYONE! I loved all the people who were all there just to pet me! So nice of them to come out to see me! I loved meeting all the dogs! Well, most of the dogs. One time? At cross country? This dog and I were sniffing each other and I was like “wow, he smells like bacon” and I LOVE BACON, and then he bit me! Just like that! I was like, what did I do? Mom used her mad voice and the dog went somewhere else. Not all dogs are nice!
With these mixed reactions from my dogs, I haven’t taken them to LRK3D with me for the past several years. The benefit to me is that I don’t have to plan for dogs during the event and I can just enjoy my time, and go anywhere I want, without worrying about my dogs. Besides the predictable factors of other dogs, crowds, access to water, and cleaning up after them, the weather can be a huge game changer from day to day. I have been soaking wet, fried to a crisp, and freezing cold at various times during these event weekends, and though I am willing to brave all kinds of weather to support this event, I am less willing to subject my dogs to it.
“Thanks for the info, Kate, but I would still like to bring my dogs.” Groovy. Then here are a few things you should know:
- Day Care for dogs is available. The Lexington Humane Society offers on-site doggie day care on a first come, first served basis. They have room for approximately 50 dogs at any given time, and their hours are 8am to 5pm. Pricing is $10 per hour/$40 per day. In order to board your dog, you must provide proof of current vaccinations (Rabies, DHPP, and Bordetella). Questions? Call 859-233-0044 ext. 254 during normal business hours.
- A leash law is strictly enforced. All dogs must be leashed at all times. No exceptions.
- Water is available, but you should also bring your own. Some of the vendors provide water at their booths, and Land Rover has a few staffed Dog Waystations where you can get water, waste bags, and dog treats. Bottled water will be sold on Saturday at various food booths along the cross country course.
- Medical care for dogs is not available at the event. Dog owners needing assistance with dehydration, bite wounds, or other injuries, should contact a local veterinarian.
- Dogs are NOT allowed in the following areas: Rolex Stadium, Alltech Arena, or any of the grandstands or hospitality tents (certified guide or assistance dogs are allowed). Dogs are also not allowed in the museums, the theater, or any of the restaurants at The Kentucky Horse Park.
- Distressed dogs left in vehicles will be removed by whatever means necessary by Animal Control and/or Event Security.
- Clean Up After Your Dog! Yes, even on the cross country course! More than 33,000 people, including kids, are expected at the Kentucky Horse Park during the LRK3D weekend, so the chances of someone’s feet coming into contact with your dog’s waste is fairly high. Bring plenty of poop bags and dispose of all bags in trash cans available throughout the park.
This year, my big dogs will be spending Cross-Country day at a local kennel where they can swim and fetch toys to their hearts’ content. Sparky will be spending the day basking in the attention and love he gets at my friend’s house, where they hold him all day and never let his delicate feet touch the floor…which is exactly the way he likes it.
The Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event happens only once each year, and it truly IS the BEST WEEKEND ALL YEAR. Enjoy this fabulous event and everything it has to offer, and consider all factors before you decide whether to bring your dog along.