The weekend with friends in Buckeye included going to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show both Friday morning then again Saturday evening for some of the Championship classes. This is the largest such show in the country, filling 10 days with nonstop activity in several arenas at the same time. The vendors sell an amazing array of things from tack to clothing for every type of riding, along with so many other items.
Friday morning we watched a bit of one of the reining classes then moved over to see some of the herd work. The herd work involved selecting a cow from the herd and holding it away from the herd. There was a time limit and it seemed like the more cows one could
remove from the herd for even just a few minutes the better the score was. This is not to be confused with the cutting horse class, which we did not see. I think that is a lot more fast paced and harder action. We wandered around catching little bits of action in the various rings and taking in the amazing set ups that many of the professional trainers had. No just ordinary stables for them but first class places with life size photos of horses, displays of their many ribbons, etc. I heard the figure $1700/ month for training tossed out and it seems presenting a first class image is all part of making a good impression.
Saturday evening there were championship classes in several divisions. My friend Veronica kindly found a box seat for me to I could be close to ringside. I know that helped me get some super images. Many thanks! First of all we watched a jumping competition that I believe was Amateur to Ride. A 10 year old girl from Idaho got 3rd place. This was not a championship class.
Next up was the finals driving class then came the Western Pleasure Horse finals. It was interesting to see but I must admit I don’t think I’d find that class a pleasure. Everything was so exaggerated, from the extremely slow paces (nearly loping in place) to the way the horses all had their heads tucked way in, nose was well behind the vertical. Just didn’t seem fun, relaxing or a pleasure. It was a great show of things carried to the extreme for the show ring. There were a couple of English riding classes, too. At least in those the horses heads had more normal positions.
Then came the Liberty Championship class. I’d never see anything like it and will remember it for a long time. Each horse is brought in alone, with just a halter on. The halter is removed and the time (and music) starts. The horse is given 2 minutes to show off, when time is called the handler has 2 minutes to capture the horse. There is usually someone with the handler, the only props they have are little whips with feathers (or something at the end) that they will flick around to get the horse to react, change direction, etc. Some horses spend the whole 2 minutes literally running around, that isn’t as impressive for the judges as the ones who varied their gaits, showed off their stuff a bit more.
Final class was the native costume class and what a class it was! Color, flash, elaborate costumes, handsome horses. I doubt the Arabians in the early days had the means let alone the material to dress in such fashion but it was fun to see what people’s imaginations can come up with. The winner rode a black horse and her whole costume and the tack was all black. Very simple and elegant.