Many of us in the Lexington area are familiar with the Ketucky Horse Park, but seem to overlook the American Saddlebred Museum that is on the same grounds. I wanted to learn more about the museum and meet some of the staff, so I headed over to talk with Amy Nelson. Amy is the director of development and marketing for the museum.
Amy came to the American Saddlebred Museum a year and a half ago. At the time she was between opportunities and saw the job posting. She had a background in museums but not horses.
Being new to the horse world, what has been your “aha” moment in this position and the thing you have found most interesting?
Lexington is very thoroughbred centric but not saddlebred. I am amazed by all of the shows we have here at the Horse Park and then locally in Kentucky. There is the Junior League show in July that is a fundraiser held in the Rolex arena and then the KY Spring Premier show held in April in the Altech Arena. Outside the area is Rock Creek and the championship show held at the state fair in Louisville.
In this position it’s been fun learning about the national audience – it’s all over and not just in Kentucky. The challenge is how to reach that audience. Simpsonville locally is a big site for saddlebreds, but the audience is vast.
Do you have a hobby or interest outside of work?
I actually like going to museums. While it’s hard to say which is my favorite, I am particular to the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth and the Postal Museum in Washington DC. I also do yoga and like to collect old things. I have quite a few old cameras.
What would be your dream vacation?
I’d like to do a pilgrimage in France and also the Santiago. The Camino de Santiago is a network pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James.
How did you become interested in art?
I have an art history degree from Bringham Young and a masters from the University of North Texas. My parents were artists and my mom told me to declare a major of art history. I’ve had the good fortune to work at the Dallas Museum of Art and the UK Art Museum.
What is the one thing you would like to learn more about?
Anything really. I just love to learn new things. I’ve enjoyed learning about horses and the equine art. It’s also fun to keep up with technology and the trends in the field. Learning about saddlebred shows has been intriguing, understanding what happens and what it takes to train the horses.
What is a fun fact about you that not many people know?
I ran the Beta Breakers race for my 50th birthday. It’s a race in San Francisco where people from from the bay to the breakers. It’s a fun race and people dress up. The girls next to me ran in blow up unicorn outfits. There was also a Star Wars group and another dressed up like Where’s Waldo. It was a fun 7.5 mile race. I was a big runner when I was younger and had always wanted to do that race, so I did it for my milestone birthday.