International Museum of the Horse, Kentucky Horse Park

Bill Cooke at the Kentucky Horse Park’s International Museum of the Horse knows his horse history. I interviewed him for upcoming Equitrekking episodes on the history of various horse breeds around the world, including the Criollo, Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Arabian, Connemara, Welsh Cob, Mustang and more.

In the basement of the museum, I felt like I was in the movie “Night at the Museum.” Housed in the basement are various priceless artifacts and art for the upcoming Arabian horse exhibit, “A Gift from the Desert: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse,” and other historical horsey things. There were beautiful saddles and bridles, Man O’ War photographs and special edition drinking glasses, paintings, small carriages and best of all, a never before filmed piece of terracotta which is thought to have the earliest depiction of a person riding a horse in existence. It dates back to 2100 B.C. As Bill held it in his hand, I shook a bit, starring at the small, very, very old artifact. With our high definition camera and some better lighting, we were able to film it up close, so that in the future on Equitrekking, others can view this important piece as well.

After I interviewed Bill, we walked through the museum, taking in horse history from ancient times to the present. Bill said that organizing this museum was and is a huge undertaking, as horse history is really also human history. The two are intertwined. That’s a lot of history! With 33 years working at the museum under his belt, Bill is certainly the right man for the job.

Next, we walked through the area for the Al Marah Arabian Horse Galleries, which open on June 14. It’s going to be very interactive. I’m looking forward to another visit.

A Gift from the Desert“: The Art, History and Culture of the Arabian Horse” opens May 29, 2010.

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