Defender Kentucky Three-Day Event starts at Kentucky Horse Park

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Defender Kentucky Three-Day event started Thursday at the Kentucky Horse Park. It will host thousands over the next few days.

The event features dressage, cross country, and show jumping. The event’s press chief, Marty Bauman, explains, “It’s the biggest and best equestrian event in the world.”

Around 80,000 people from around the world are expected to come to the Kentucky Horse Park for this event over the next few days.

Bauman says, “Everyone’s smiling and talking happy, and they’re taking pictures at the Bruce Davidson statue, they go to all the shops they’re just so excited to be here and you just feel it.”

Canadian Olympic equestrian Jessica Phoenix says, “You cannot go anywhere else in North America and get this type of atmosphere.”

For some, this event is one more stop on the way to the Olympics. Riders at the event have previously competed and won Gold. Others are hoping to get to Paris this summer.

Phoenix says, “Being able to come here and practice in this much atmosphere is a huge game changer leading into the Olympic year.”

Not only can you watch the triathlon events, but there are around 200 vendors out here from all around the globe.

Vendors have boots and clothing, others have equestrian gear… And so much more. Fairfax and Favor came from England to showcase their “country fashion”.

Fairfax and Favor’s Abbie Jenkins says, “Over here, I feel like there’s such a market for that, so we are just so excited to grow into it and expand over here.”

This event is big for Lexington, helping to boost tourism all around by hosting this many people.

Bauman says, “They spend some money while they’re here on hotels and restaurants. The main thing is, it has a reputation worldwide for those within our sport, that it’s the friendliest city going.”

This is another signature equestrian event in the Bluegrass.

“Every sport has its big race. The Indy 500 and so forth. In this sport of eventing, if you win in Kentucky, you’ve won the biggest there is,” says Bauman.

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