“In business, courtesy and efficiency have a symbiotic relationship.”—Eleanor Roosevelt

Pocono Downs (now The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono) is internationally known as “harness racing’s fastest five-eighths mile track.” It opened on July 15th, 1965. Upon its initial “startup” completion, 7 million dollars created the original complex that included clubhouse dining, racetrack, grandstands, and areas catering to guests.

The epicenter of Pocono’s harness racing became a micro-community catering to horses and their horsemen, with Ken’s Harness Shop at the forefront providing horse care products and harness racing gear.

Kens Harness Shop: The Beginning

Shortly after rumors surfaced of a coming new race track, Ken Wagner and wife Libby (affectionately known by all who knew her as Lovey) moved their exclusive western tack and clothing shop from Dunmore, Pa into the heart of the action at Pocono Downs. K & L Supply became Ken’s Harness shop and set up in an area due north of the Track Kitchen, smack dab between food and hungry horsemen, between their shed rows and the jogging/conditioning track, and adjacent to the horsemen’s parking. A pure genius choice for location, location, location. 

Ken Wagner, Sr (circa 1965)
Dedication to the Downs Success 

With over 135 live-broadcast, night racing dates a year and up to 8-10 qualifier, daily races going, Ken, Sr. and Libby (through the years), it was and is essential for repairs and horse care products to be readily available for trainers. Now, the brother and sister team (Kenny Wagner and Lisa Evans) open the repair shop and retail store on race nights and qualifier days (in addition to their regular Monday thru Saturday business hours). 

In roughly 54 years, that tallies up to well over 7,000 dedicated ready-for-race store openings by the family at Ken’s Harness Shop. They are always at beckon-call, providing everything needed for the work at Pocono to run smoothly—all for the welfare and health of the sulky horses.

Ken, Sr passed away in 1995. Libby passed away a short while ago in February 2017. Before Libby’s passing, daughter Lisa, who served northeast Pennsylvania as a registered nurse for ten years and worked part-time at the shop, decided to work full-time in the family business. She now utilizes those many years in the medical profession to bring insight into purchasing and stocking the latest technologically, legitimately-researched products for Ken’s Harness Shop.

Anything and Everything for Horse Wellness & Success

Ken’s Harness Shop supplies well over 1500 products, including harnesses and sulky equipment by Walsh, Extreme, Featherweight, and Rich Tack.

Everything the successful, well-cared-for racehorse needs from feed buckets and water buckets to shampoo to supplements to poultices that purify and soothe is here for the asking.

Also offered—in spades (to name a few):

  • Amino acids
  • Carbohydrate-energy boosters
  • Blood building supplements
  • Muscle building supplements
  • Wind building supplements
  • Fly Sprays (regular, organic, or essential oils)
  • Grooming supplies
  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Leg brace liniments to improve circulation
  • Respiratory aides
Lisa Evans offers natural fly spray

“We carry everything to keep the horses’ systems at their prime, so they don’t wash out,” says Lisa. “We have supplements to prevent problems and injuries. All the products we carry are 100% legal and from reputable companies that do their research and development with moral integrity.”

“We also carry homeopathic remedies for horses such as essential oils including menthol and eucalyptus (an ancient remedy) to use in the Bronco dilator. Those modalities support healthy lungs and wind and assist with allergies and breathing,” informs Lisa.

“We carry products like Blitz and BC2A that replace vital nutrients lost during exercise. They are similar to products humans use to replenish their amino acids and electrolytes after long runs or marathon competitions,” says Lisa.

For the trainer, there’s rain-gear, summer and winter gloves, helmets, racing and jog pants, winter training suits, goggles, and more.

Convenience & Service to the Benefit of Horses 

Everything is done for the sake of convenience and to optimize the trainer’s time to enable trainers to focus on their horses. 

On race nights, linger in the shop, and you’ll see hurried trainers walk in, grab merchandise, hold up the product, and Lisa (who knows everyone on a first-name basis) promptly writes up a slip. The bill is paid, and the trainer is out the door in a blink—back to the task-at-hand of prepping for the race ahead. 

The entire transaction flows easily, smoothly, and flawlessly—all for the horseman’s convenience and for the horses’ benefit.

Imported from Australia: The Zilco lugging bit available now at Ken’s Harness Shop


“We can special order anything, including the latest, newly released products. We just got the new Zilco lugging bits shipped in from Australia,” says Kenny.

Innovation from Father to Son

Kenny worked in the repair shop with his father starting at age 22. He worked repairing torn blankets, splint boots, broken bridles and harnesses, and replacing jog cart tires and race bike tires.

“My dad could repair anything and everything from wheelbarrows to race equipment. I learned from him,” says Kenny.

“There’s a lot of moving parts in training and in racing, little things that are essential that require immediate and quality repairs,” says Kenny. “It’s important. Plus, I strive to help trainers. I have spare jog carts or wheels to lend while I’m fixing a trainer’s cart,” shares Kenny. “It keeps the training moving forward.”

Second Generation Prioritizing Honesty & Service

“I don’t want to surprise customers with a big bill. So, I always try to be upfront about cost. I make sure the racing equipment is 100% usable when it leaves the shop.”

Ken Wagner repairing tack

Says Kenny, “We run our business with old-fashioned integrity while continuing the traditions of delivering whatever the trainer needs straight to the racing paddock or the new receiving barn.” 

Kenny says, “We take care to deliver old fashion services. We’re on call to deliver to the paddock during races. If someone has an equipment emergency such as a flat tire or broken harness, I’m right there. I’m one of the only guys left that can correctly straighten a bent bike frame, although that takes a few days.”

Supporting Technology in Racing

Technological advancements in horse racing continue to produce stronger and faster horses. As a result, the mechanical aspect of racing–the race bike or sulky–has also evolved to work in sync with the horse.

Available for race nights and qualifier races is the Nitrous bike–Kenny’s brainchild. Kenny brings a unique perspective that only a card-carrying racehorse owner, trainer, and driver can acquire. Kenny has owned, trained, and raced horses. He’s not only an educated observer, but more importantly, a skilled horseman himself.

Additionally, through years of inspecting and repairing race bikes, Kenny gained insight as to what bike elements fail or succeed against the rigors and strains of the high-speed race. That experience and knowledge inspired the creation of the Nitrous bike that is stronger, more balanced, more connected, and faster. It’s setting records.

Integrity Matters

With all that goes into high-speed racing, it’s interesting to discover that Kenny goes out of his way to take stacks of used, rubber race bike tires to a tire dealer that recycles. The former race bike and jog cart rubber tires end up as soft landings for children’s playgrounds and horse arena footing.

At Pennsylvania’s The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, Ken’s Harness shop remains a constant. Consistently, year after year, the family-run business endures as a source for furthering the success of horses and horsemen.

Ken and Lisa are ever-at-the-ready to serve the horsemen’s needs and empower the success and health of the high-performance equine athletes, and all while helping drivers, owners, and trainers focus on the essential elements of the entire affair—the horses.  

Call Ken’s Harness Shop: 570-826-1038


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