The Top Horse Museums in the US That Every Equestrian Needs to Visit
Traveling, but have horses on your mind? Of course you are, horse people can never shut off the horse part of your brain. Make the most of your vacation time, and spend some time celebrating more horses. Horses have played a vital role in American history and culture, and there are many museums across the country that celebrate this unique bond. Next time you take a trip and are forced to be away from your beloved horse, consider visiting one of these great museums in honor of the horse you left behind (while on vacation).
Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, Kentucky
Kentucky Horse Park is a must see for every equestrian. It’s a sprawling, 1,229 acre park that is dedicated to all things horses. It features exhibits on the history of the horse in Kentucky, horse breeds, horse racing, and other equestrian sports. If it has to do with horses, it can be found here.
And although it doesn’t have anything to do with horses, there’s also a huge campground, complete with pool, tennis courts and trails. Reserve your spot early though, it fills up fast!
International Museum of the Horse – one of the largest and most comprehensive equestrian museums in the world with over 60,000 artifacts. It features exhibits on the history of the horse, horse breeds, horse racing, and other equestrian sports.
Hall of Champions – Meet a former racing champion, and learn about their racing days.
Breeds Barn – During the summer, see rare horse breeds perform in their native attire. Visit with the horses, take photos, and learn about the history of the breed.
Kids Barn – An interactive exhibit for kids to learn about horses and jump their own course of fences.
Horseback and Pony Rides – Visitors can take a quick 35 minute guided ride around the outskirts of the property.
Of course, one of the main attractions is the extensive amount of events held there. International competitions, association finals, rodeos, and even non-horse events, like motorsports and human races are held there.
This is a great place to visit for all ages. Make sure you plan for plenty of time here, as there’s tons to see.
See more about Kentucky Horse Park and their upcoming events at kyhorsepark.com.
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
Located in Saratoga Springs, New York, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of fame honors the achievements of Thoroughbred race horses, jockeys and trainers. Fans of thoroughbreds, racing, and horses in general will find something to love here. The museum’s mission is to chronicle and promote the rich history of thoroughbred racing. Art, sculptures, and artifacts can all be found in this museum.
Race Day Gallery – An exhibit divided into three areas, The Paddock, The Track, and The Winner’s Circle, to show the essential elements of a day at the races.
Hall of Fame – An immersive theatrical presentation and interactive stations with the plaques for Hall of Fame members.
Triple Crown Gallery – Information, artifacts and an interactive exhibit that teaches visitors all about the 13 Triple Crown winners throughout history.
Educational Programs: There are a number of different educational programs for different grades. They make it sound pretty appealing to have a field trip there!
The amount of information presented about horse racing is incredible, and you’re sure to leave knowing a lot about this sport. This is a great sport to visit, especially if you’re heading to the nearby Saratoga Racetrack.
Learn more about the museum at their website.
American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum, Amarillo, Texas
The American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum is dedicated to the American Quarter Horse breed. It features exhibits on the history of the American Quarter Horse, famous American Quarter Horses throughout history, and the American Quarter Horse’s impact on American culture.
Hall of Fame Exhibit: Learn about each horses inducted into the Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.
Ken and Laina Banks Theater: See the history of the Quarter Horse in a ten minute film.
Dr. Joni J. Hegel Education Gallery: Set up for kids to have hands on learning, including touching tack, climbing on a life sized horse, and haltering a horse.
Note that it is not open on Sundays or Mondays, but if you’re in the area anyway, swing by anyway to see the impressive sculptures outside.
Find out more about on their website.
National Museum of the Morgan Horse, Middlebury, Vermont
The National Museum of the Morgan Horse is dedicated to the Morgan horse breed. It features exhibits on the history of the Morgan horse, famous Morgan horses throughout history, and the Morgan horse’s impact on American culture. Visitors can also look at real life Morgans, as there are Cabot Morgans on the premises.
The museum is home to exhibits, art, and a library of Morgan Horse registry volumes and the official publication, The Morgan Horse.
The Equestrian Center – a breeding center with over 65 horses. Visitors meeting the horses and get to interact with them. There are various educational opportunities throughout the year to teach about the Morgan horse.
Diverse range of activities – the horses bring you there, but Pineland Farm offers a diverse range of activities on their 5,000 acre property. Snowshoeing, sledding, bowling, cross country skiing, tennis, disc golf and more.
Market – Warm up on a chilly day with craft brews in the market. With a deli and cafeteria full of choices, make sure you leave room for lunch here!
Find out more information about the collection at the National Museum of the Morgan Horse official website.
The artifacts are now located at Pineland Farms, in southern Maine. See operating hours at their website here.
National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, Fort Worth, Texas
This museum is dedicated to honoring the cowgirls of the West. Over 200 women have been inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame since 1974. In addition the Hall of Fame, there’s artifacts, interactive exhibits, two theaters, gift shop, and a research library. They also offer educational opportunities to teach about the influence of the cowgirl on the west.
The Architecture – This building was purpose built for this collection, and the architecture incorporates the cowgirl style right into the walls. Be on the look out for bas-relief sculpture panels, murals, and hand carved panels.
Frequent New Exhibits – This museum is constantly switching it up with new exhibits. One of the current exhbits is “Dare to Wear,” which celebrates cowgirls and keeping the western wear traditions alive with all sorts of apparel. It truly sounds really fun.
It’s Never Just a Horse Exhibition – Design your own boot, shirt or horse with inspiration from the museum’s own exhibits. Try bronc riding and be superimposed into real rodeo footage.
The Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame is a must see for visiting the Fort Worth area. Visiting here might only take about 2 hours, so to round out your day, consider also visiting the Fort Worth Museum of Science next door.
These are just a few of the many great horse museums in the US. If you’re an equestrian or simply a fan of these amazing creatures, be sure to check out one of these museums on your next trip. If you are forced to be away from your horse, you might as well make the best of it!