‘Paint it black’ order for Kentucky Horse Park’s iconic white fences

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Some 30 miles of white fencing is to be stripped and painted black in coming weeks at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Some 30 miles of white fencing is to be stripped and painted black in coming weeks at the Kentucky Horse Park. © Kathy Vespaziani / Kentucky Horse Park

The famous white fencing marking the Kentucky bluegrass are in for a change – at least at the state’s iconic horse park.

Some 30 miles of white plank fencing – which has been in place since the Kentucky Horse Park opened in 1978 – is being changed to black fencing because of the cost of maintenance, with the move is expected to save about $50,000 a year.

“We realize the significance of this change and fully understand and appreciate the tradition of the white fencing at the park,” said Kentucky Horse Park Executive Director Jamie Link.

“But the reality is that white fence paint costs about three times as much as black paint, white fencing requires repainting at least twice as often as black fencing, and white fencing requires more routine maintenance and resources to keep it at an appropriate level for the Kentucky Horse Park.”

The park anticipates an average cost avoidance of more than $50,000 per year with this change. With the cost difference of the paint, as well as the labor required to maintain and paint fencing, the park would rather devote its very limited resources to its horses and guests.

Link said the process would start soon, with pressure washing, scraping and the replacement of damaged boards. The new black paint would be applied when the wood surface is adequately prepared.

“The entire project will take several weeks, perhaps a few months, as weather and resources allow,” he said.

The Kentucky Horse Park joins many other horse farms and equine facilities in central Kentucky and beyond that use black plank fencing. All fencing directly around horse show rings, however, will remain white for better visibility and safety purposes.

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