The Kentucky Horse Park Commission announced ton Tuesday that it has selected Jamie Link as the new executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park.
“I look forward to working with Jamie as we strive to make the Kentucky Horse Park an even better attraction for visitors to Kentucky,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “This is an outstanding selection by the commission, and I appreciate their hard work. The Kentucky Horse Park plays a vital role in tourism for the entire state.”
Link is currently the deputy chief of staff for Gov. Beshear. A start date will be set later.
“The Kentucky Horse Park Commission is very excited about Jamie Link being our next executive director to guide the park forward into the future,” said Alston Kerr, chair of the commission. “His experience in state government, public-private partnerships, along with his equine experience will be great assets as we continue our growth, ensuring the park will be the preeminent equine and tourist facility in the world.”
Kerr thanked the members of the search committee, made up of business, tourism and government leaders, along with the Pace Group, the search firm that sought and screened applicants for the position. “Their attention to detail and diligence was exceptional in conducting this international search,” said Kerr.
Link has held a number of management positions within state government since joining the Department of Parks in 1985 as a business manager. He also served as the chief executive officer for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Link served as the deputy secretary for the Finance Cabinet and the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. He was also the deputy executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park in 2006.
“I am honored and extremely excited about becoming executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Link. “I am looking forward to getting to work and continuing the park’s legacy as the finest equestrian venue in the world.”
The Kentucky Horse Park is an agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet employing 78 full-time and 62 seasonal employees. The park is an equine-themed tourist destination, the largest attraction in central Kentucky, and an equine competition facility hosting some of the nation’s top horse shows and equine sporting events annually.
The park hosted some 800,000 visitors and 18,400 competition horses in 200 special events and horse shows in 2013, and hosted more than 1 million visitors in 2010 when the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games were held on its grounds.
The only park of its kind in the world, the Kentucky Horse Park is set on more than 1,200 acres in the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass region. It contains a working horse farm comprising many equine-themed attractions for visitors, a 260-site campground, the world’s largest equestrian museum, the International Museum of the Horse, and the American Saddlebred Museum, the “Showplace for Saddlebreds.”
The Kentucky Horse Park’s preeminent collection of competition facilities, including the Alltech Arena and the Rolex Stadium, are home to prestigious annual events such as the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event and the National Horse Show, among approximately 200 horse shows and special events held annually.
The Kentucky Horse Park is also the home of the National Horse Center, a collection of more than 30 national, state and regional equine organizations, the largest and best known of which is the United States Equestrian Federation, the governing body for all equestrian sport in the United States, which is non-racing and non-rodeo.