On Wednesday, I went to a reception at the KHP’s International Museum of Horse, to welcome Big Lex to his new home.

Who’s Big Lex, you ask?

Well, he’s the mascot of our fair city: a bright blue (what we here know as UK blue) horse, based on a painting of the famous nineteenth-century racehorse named Lexington.

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this is the, um, modified version of Edward Troye's painting of the racehorse named Lexington; in this version, he's Wildcat blue instead of bay

 

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Lexington the horse, bred and born near Lexington the city, won six of his seven starts. That doesn’t sound like much today, but many of his races were four miles long!

He went on to a successful stud career and was named Leading Sire in North America sixteen times.

According to Wikipedia: “Lexington was part of the first group of horses inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1955. Not so long ago, Lexington was so forgotten that on a fourth-floor attic catwalk of the Smithsonial Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, [Lexington] was listed simply as Catalog No. 16020. On Tuesday, August 31st, 2010, Lexington’s remains were transferred to the International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park.”

Wednesday, it was Big Lex’s turn to come home. Although he didn’t start out being quite so far away.

During last fall’s Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, a fiberglass horse painted to look like the one pictured above stood patiently in the media tent. Here, after every medal press conference, he was signed by medal winners. At Wednesday’s reception, several people said that he was signed only by gold-medal winners (and, truth be told, the number of signatures gracing his blue coat would appear to bear that out), but I know for a fact that the silver-medal-winning drivers signed Big Lex as well.

Besides the gold-medalists (and our U.S. driving team), the other signatures on the horse are those of Princess Haya (FEI president), Lyle Lovett (who owns one of the reining horses that competed at the WEG), and William Shatner (who lives near here and performed in the Opening Ceremony).

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Big Lex, in his new museum home, showing off for the TV news cameramen

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signatures on Big Lex's offside rump; you can see some reiners' signatures (and their horses' names) and Lyle Lovett's signature on the right

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more signatures here; that signature to the left of the lower left corner of the vaulting pictogram (on the underside of the neck) is Tucker Johnson's (he won the team silver and individual bronze medals in driving)