The 50th Anniversary of the Arabian Horse Association's U.S. National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show wrapped up two weekends ago at Tulsa Expo Square in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
More than 1,751 horses and 7,000 exhibitors, support staff and participants flocked to Expo Square to celebrate 50 years of U.S. National Champions. Nearly 3,246 stalls were used for horses, elaborate barn set-ups and temporary living spaces. Owners and exhibitors hailed from 46 U.S. States and five Canadian provinces, with several horses coming from overseas to exhibit. The Tulsa Convention and Visitor's Bureau estimates that the Arabian U.S. National Show brings, on average, $35 million to the city of Tulsa each year.
The nine-day horse show is the most prestigious North American championship in the Arabian horse industry. The event ran from October 21-29 and boasted in excess of 18 different disciplines displayed in nearly 200 classes for Purebreds, Half-Arabians/Anglo-Arabians, professionals and amateurs alike. Nearly $1 million dollars in prize money was awarded through various class sponsorships, specialty classes and AHA's prize money programs, the Arabian Breeders Sweepstakes and Performance and Halter Futurities and Maturities.
Several new classes were introduced at this year's event, including the Arabian Western Pleasure Association's (AWPA) $100,000 Purebred and $50,000 Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian Futurities. Additionally, several Arabian Breeders Sweepstakes Jack-Pot classes in the Western Pleasure, Hunter Pleasure and Country English Pleasure disciplines were initiated, with nearly $200,500 in prize money awarded in six classes.
In addition to the horse show, U.S. Nationals annually hosts the Arabian Youth Judging Contest. In its 46th year, the 2016 contest had nearly 100 participants and awarded $7,000 in scholarship money to the future generation of equine industry judges and participants from across all breeds and states.
The Arabian Horse Youth Association (AHYA) also raffled off its annual fundraising item the final evening of the event. This year, the All-Terrain Dever Golf Car, sponsored in part by Dever Golf Car Sales & Rentals, was won by Phyllis LaMalfa, an employee of Markel Insurance, an AHA Corporate Partner. Nearly 400 raffle tickets were sold.
AHA also runs the Total Arabian Interaction & Learning (TAIL) program at the show. The program offers various tours that are designed to introduce the public to Arabian horses, through-hands on learning stations, a miniature museum exhibit of the history of the Arabian horse, a meet-and-greet with a real horse and a tour guide's perspective of the classes going on at the show. This year, more than 400 Tulsa residents of all ages participated in the various behind-the-scenes tours of the show.
The 2017 Arabian & Half-Arabian U.S. National Championship Horse Show will take place at Expo Square in Tulsa, Oklahoma, October 20-28, 2017. The show's contract with Expo Square runs through the year 2022.
-- via AHA