By KELSY LORIN TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
BEAUTIFUL WIN: Carrie Fritz and her horse Americanbeautie won the National Championship in the Half-Arabian Country English Pleasure during the championship.
Courtesy Hilary Nixon
The prestigious U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show was recently held at Expo Square in Tulsa.
The event was the final competition in the Arabian Horse Show national season. “Competitors have worked all year to get to this level,” notes Hilary Nixon, communications coordinator for The Arabian Horse Association.
Arabians, Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians competed alongside on another with the goal of earning the national champion title.
Having been in existence for over 4,000 years, the Arabian is the oldest purebred horse. Originating in the deserts of Arabia, the horse became an essential part of the Bedouin tribe. In the unpredictable climate, the tribe often brought horses into their homes to keep them safe.
The tribe created a characteristic that remains with the Arabian today. “Arabians tend to bond with their owners a little more closely than other breeds. They really became a part of the family,” says Nixon.
This characteristic is also a part of the Half-Arabians and Anglo-Arabians. The Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian are two variations of the breed. Half-Arabians are classified as one half full blood Arabian and one half any other breed. Anglo-Arabians are one half Arabian and one half thoroughbred. Within the championship, variations were not judged separately from the purebred Arabians.
Arabians have a unique way of training to prepare for each class in the championship but one common method is shared. “The Arabian breed is very smart and they pick up things really fast. Trainers must keep them interested because they can become bored easily,” mentions Nixon.
Nixon explains that there were 130 classes that encompassed a variety of disciplines including: park, trail, reining, hunter, cutting, show hack, sidesaddle, pleasure driving, working cow, in-hand, country English, native costume and western pleasure.
The native costume class has proven to be one of the most popular classes among spectators. Horse and rider dressed up in native Arabian costumes while the crowd cheered for their favorites.
Young riders had the opportunity to participate in the Arabian Horse Youth Judging Contest during the event. Over 150 contestants competed in three divisions including: 4-H/FFA, Junior Arabian Horse Association and Senior Arabian Horse Association/Collegiate Teams. More than 10,000 dollars in scholarships and prizes are awarded to contestants annually.
One of the most unique features of the show is found in the most unlikely place, the barns. Competitors are known to make a stall feel like an extension of their home. Stalls are draped with banners that create a dramatic entrance to the row of stalls. No amenities are forgotten as leather sofas, rugs, coffee tables and televisions fill entrance to stalls. This year, with the upcoming Halloween, stalls were decorated with ghosts, pumpkins and of course, hay!
The U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show has not always been held in Tulsa. The community came together to bring the show to the area. Vice President of the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau Amy Huntley was involved in the process. “We started talking to organizers of the show early. It took a total of seven years to reach the goal. The first year that the event was held in Tulsa was 2008.”
For more information about the Arabian Horse Association, visit www.arabianhorses.org.