Lindsey Arthur loves Lexington, Kentucky.
Because that’s where the horses are.
Arthur, 21, is a native of Halifax and a graduate of Halifax County High School and Virginia Tech, where she studied animal science.
But after graduation, when she discovered an opportunity to spend six months working with Kentucky thoroughbreds through a Kentucky Equine Management Internship, she started packing her bags.
And it was worth it, Arthur reports.
When she arrived at Adena Springs Farm outside of Lexington, Kentucky, Arthur was every bit a “newbie” — no experience at all.
By the time her six-month internship was over, Arthur had helped midwife roughly 40 foals, her favorite the runt of the litter (he came into the world at a puny 60 pounds, half the size of the average newborn) born to a mare named “Cabinets Included.”
“Yes,” she nods. “It’s a funny name, and I have no idea about the back story.”
She does know, however, the part of her job she loved best: “Birthing the foals…”
At this point, is she confident enough to deliver a foal by herself? “Absolutely,” says the tall, red-headed equine groupie.
For horse aficionados, interning at Adena Springs is equivalent to a finance major’s interning at Lloyd’s of London—you’re learning from the best.
The farm’s website, http://www.adenastallions.com, tells an important part of the story:
“The original Adena Springs thoroughbred farm in Kentucky, consisting of 640 acres located on Route 60 just outside of Versailles, was purchased in August of 1989. The oldest known inhabitants of the land were the Adena Indians, who had been attracted to the area by quality of the water in the free-flowing local springs. The farm was named after the Adenas, both as a tribute and as a commitment to perpetuate in this land the grace, spirit and strength they instilled there.
“In 2005 they purchased more than 2,000 acres in Bourbon County, Kentucky, and designed a magnificent, state-of-the-art thoroughbred facility for this fresh land.
“In August 2007, they moved their entire Kentucky operation, including all of the stallions, to Paris, Kentucky, beginning a new chapter in their Central Kentucky history.
“Adena Springs South began operation in October of 1996 with the purchase of the 453-acre Lin-Drake Farm, located just north of Ocala in Williston, Florida.
“In November of 1997, an additional 553 acres were purchased on nearby State Highway 318.
“The following June, the purchase of two adjacent tracts of land brought the total amount of acreage in Florida to 1,100.
“The expansion to the farm’s current state was completed in July of 1999, when an additional 1,050 acres were purchased directly across Highway 318.
“This has allowed us to centralize our entire regional operation in one location, as Adena Springs South now encompasses some 3,800 acres of some of the best land on which to raise thoroughbreds in Florida. It is here that our young racing prospects receive their early lessons on our one-mile main track. The training center also features eight spacious 36-stall barns, constructed with the safety and welfare of our horses and staff as number one priorities.”
Birthing thoroughbreds wasn’t Arthur’s only class at Adena Springs: she had responsibilities that spanned two barns, each huge and state-of-the-art.
“I worked to maintain 48 mare and foal pairs, 48 yearlings and a herd of 60 maiden and barren mares, which simply means they weren’t foaling that season.”
Arthur calls her experience at Adena Springs a chance to learn the “industry” of horse breeding and training. Before the farm, she’d enjoyed the “recreational” aspects that every equestrian knows and loves.
She’s been riding since she was 8 years old, taking lessons from Sharon Powell in Halifax County and showing in Farmville.
Arthur rides hunters and says the show circuit, from May through August, gives her a chance to compete with other riders in different classes.
While Arthur says she’d like to end up in Halifax County—she’s applying to nearby vet schools—Lexington will always be a number one destination for her.
“Lexington is like South Boston,” said Arthur, “but with a million horses piled on top.”
The fact is that she’s already applied for a second internship and been accepted by another farm outside Lexington—Lane’s Inn in Versailles, Kentucky.
Arthur says her sister, Morgan Arthur, is also an equestrian.
Does it run in the family? “No,” she said. “Just me and my sister.”
She tells me most hunter-riders congregate farther north in Virginia, Lexington, Upperville, Middleburg, famous as top-tier “horse country.”
But Arthur said, “One day, it could happen here…you never know.”
Interestingly enough, attracting “horse people” to Halifax County is on the to-do list county officials pull out every time they’re quizzed on economic development.
If they asked Arthur for her advice, it would certainly be “hurry!”
She’s already smitten and committed to the world of horse breeding and training, and if she graduates from vet school and discovers Halifax can’t supply her with an adequate number of patients, odds are she’s gone again, and her zip code is 40208, six numbers horse-lovers across the world recognize as belonging to Churchill Downs. uSVP