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Shelbyville Culture: Horses and History

Dominated by more than 90 horse farms and loads of riding trails, Shelbyville is an equine enthusiast’s dream destination. Take a guided trail ride at Shelby Trails Park, which includes 21 groomed trails. If you’re just getting started with horseback riding, lessons are available at many local farms. Check out Kismet Farm to get close to the stately American Saddlebred horse or the sturdy Icelandic horse at Léttleiki Icelandics; both facilities offer riding lessons. Kentucky Backroad Tours caters to horse lovers with an itinerary that highlights the region’s famous thoroughbreds, Saddlebreds and Icelandics. For a look into the past, enjoy a historic horse farm tour with Kentucky Backroad Tours, or visit the Whitney Young Birthplace and Museum, dedicated to the life of the 20th-century civil rights leader.


Shopping and Dining

The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass includes nearly 100 retailers – Michael Kors, Gucci, Kate Spade and Tory Burch among them – to satisfy dapper dressers and fashionistas. After shopping, stroll down Shelbyville’s Main Street, lined with locally owned shops and restaurants housed in historic buildings. Grab a coffee at The Paddock or Sixth and Main Coffeehouse; enjoy a sweet treat at Serendipity Kandy Kitchen or McKinley’s Bread Shop & Deli; or stop for a sit-down meal at the Bell House Restaurant, named for the 160-year-old bell outside that used to serve as the town fire alarm. One of Shelbyville’s claims to dining fame is Claudia Sanders Dinner House. Founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fame, and his wife, the restaurant is beloved for its rich Southern food and, of course, special recipe fried chicken.


Distilleries and Wineries

True to Kentucky tradition, there are spirits and sweet wines to be sipped. Enjoy the rural scenery and sample the region’s award-winning, fruit-infused wines at Smith-Berry Winery or Talon Winery. Jeptha Creed Distillery specializes in vodka, bourbon and moonshine that incorporate ingredients grown on-site. Book a tour to sample some of the spirits and be sure to try the moonshine in flavors like apple pie, lemonade, cinnamon and blackberry. Bulleit Distillery uses a family recipe that dates to the 1830s for its spicy Kentucky bourbon.

Fun Fact

Majestic American Saddlebred horses at one of the farms in Shelbyville, Kentucky
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With more than more than 80 American Saddlebred horse farms, Shelby County is known as the Saddlebred Capital of the World.

The unmistakable graceful gait of an American Saddlebred in Shelbyville, Kentucky
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The American Saddlebred horse, a breed dating to the 1800s, is also called “The Horse America Made” and “The Peacock of the Horse World.”

Quiet day on a farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky
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The Kentucky Bluegrass in Shelbyville is green, but each spring the longer blades take on a blue tint when the seed heads begin to blossom.

Wine and snacks while visiting American Saddlebreds at a Shelbyville farm
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