The equine industry, or horse industry, generates between 80,000 and 100,000 jobs in the state of Kentucky. The estimated economic impact of the equine industry in Kentucky is $4 billion. Just like manufacturing or service industry jobs, this industry creates jobs through suppliers statewide. Paducah Economic Development recently celebrated Kentucky’s equine heritage by featuring the equine industry in our community. Paducah offers a diverse and unique selection of horseback riding facilities for all ages to experience the sport—from learning to ride to watching the harness races at Bluegrass Downs. Check out the links to the stories written by PED’s communications intern, Mary Kate Harpole, featuring a few people who make up our horse community in Greater Paducah.
Four Rivers Sport Horse Center
Pass by Lovelaceville Road in Lone Oak and you will spot a stunning horse farm overlooking rolling green hills of pastures filled with horses.
The first of its kind in Western Kentucky, Four Rivers Sport Horse Center, LLC is a state of the art equine facility dedicated to providing a modern safe environment for horses and riders to learn and enjoy the sport of horseback riding. Four Rivers Sport Horse Center is owned by Jill and Riley Love and officially opened in 2004.
Cathie Fergus-Watson is the head trainer and instructor at Four Rivers Sport Horse Center. She has more than 30 years of professional experience in teaching, training, and competing in dressage and jumping and is a United States Dressage Federation (USDF) medalist and developed an interest in horses at a young age.
Jerrell Performance Horses
Clayton comes from a long line of horseman, including his father and grandfather who both train Standardbreds. He started his riding career at 10 years old and learned to ride Tennessee Walking Horses. By the time he turned 12, he transitioned into riding the American Quarter Horse and hasn’t looked back since.
“I saw an opportunity when I was in high school to do what I love for a living and decided to pursue it,” says Clayton Jerrell.
Eden Michael has loved horses as long as she can remember. “I named my bike ‘Ruffian’ as I raced around the neighborhood all summer long,” laughs Eden Michael.
Today, Eden owns and operates WoodRidge Farm, where she offers training for American Saddlebreds and riding lessons for children from the age of six years old to adult ages with beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
Bluegrass Downs hosted notable performances from The Eagles, Restless Heart, The Judds, and even a circus in past days. Today, Bluegrass Downs serves as a Standardbred racing and horse race betting facility.
In 1984, Bluegrass Downs opened to the public and hosted American Quarter Horse racing which evolved into Thoroughbred racing and led to the Standardbred racing that the track hosts every summer.
“I’ve been here a long time and I enjoy working here. I try to do my job well and I love it,” says Jerry Bradley, manager of Bluegrass Downs
Penny Lane Farm
Jon Wallace started showing American Saddlebreds in 1962. “Saddlebreds were simply beautiful to me and I enjoyed the way they moved. They’re just an awesome breed of horse,” says Jon Wallace.
Jon is now retired, but you can still find him at Penny Lane Farm each and every day helping out and spending time with the horses and training his granddaughter, Kalee Gray.
Penny Lane Farm
Dara Triplet suffered a heartbreaking loss when her daughter, Cassidy, passed away at the age of nine from Tuberous Sclerosis. Angie Jackson and Mike Falconite knew Dara and Cassidy well and wanted to give back in a big way to honor Cassidy and the love she had for horses.
“They started helping me at another therapeutic riding program and decided they wanted to build a barn and name it after Cassidy,” says Dara.
Cassidy’s Cause was founded in 2014 and offers therapeutic riding to individuals at least four years old and older of all backgrounds with disabilities or who suffer from emotional or physical abuse.