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Horsey Heaven

Thousands of horses and riders from around North America will showcase skill and beauty at the U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show.

Article
John Tranchina
Photos
Courtesy
Posted
September 28, 2018

For anyone who enjoys horses, even just a little bit, the place to be in late October is the U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show, which takes place in Tulsa at Expo Square from Oct. 19-27.

There will be literally hundreds of different contests featuring Arabian horses, which are generally considered the most beautiful, pleasant and athletic breed. The horses will compete in various activities that judge them on appearance, breeding, attitude and personality, and physical agility, in both amateur and professional classes, over the course of the event. The horses come from all over North America.

And the best part of it all is that everything is free.

“We have about 1,800 Arabian and Half-Arabian horses that compete in a variety of disciplines, from working cow to halter to English pleasure, and this is our biggest show of the year, the most prestigious,” says Kelsey Berglund, the Arabian Horse Association’s director of national events. “We have three show rings going at all times, and we use about 3,400 stalls there. We typically have had horses that come from every state, as well as every province in Canada.

“It’s a huge deal to all of our exhibitors. It’s like the culmination of everyone’s show year.”

This will be the ninth straight year the most important competition in the Arabian horse industry will be held in Tulsa.

There will be literally hundreds of different contests featuring Arabian horses, which are generally considered the most beautiful, pleasant and athletic breed.
There will be literally hundreds of different contests featuring Arabian horses, which are generally considered the most beautiful, pleasant and athletic breed.

“The city is super supportive of us being there, both through Visit Tulsa [the Tulsa Convention and Visitor’s Bureau] and the actual town itself. It’s one of the main reasons that we’re still there,” Berglund says. “And then also, Tulsa Expo Square is really great to work with, and they have a lot of space for us to expand and continually make improvements. We estimate about 20,000 spectators come through, throughout the week.”

Besides all of the competitions, one of the big attractions for spectators will be the T.A.I.L. (Total Arabian Interaction and Learning) tours, which allow people to take a behind-the-scenes look at the show. The tours take place at set times, and participation does require a previously-arranged reservation by either calling or emailing ahead. For more information, visit their website.

This will be the ninth straight year the most important competition in the Arabian horse industry will be held in Tulsa.
This will be the ninth straight year the most important competition in the Arabian horse industry will be held in Tulsa.

“We take you back and meet a horse and explain some of the classes and just get everyone more familiar,” Berglund says. “Everything’s always free — free admission, free parking, free tours. It’s a great chance for the public to get involved.”

Getting an in-depth explanation of all the different classes is recommended, because there are so many and they are all different. There will be competitions in halter, reining, Western pleasure, English pleasure, hunter pleasure, English show hack, sidesaddle, park horse, working cow, cutting, trail, driving, Native costume and many other categories that test both the horses and their human handlers/trainers in multiple areas.

“We have approximately 200 different classes, so there’s usually always something going on,” Berglund says. “For example, our halter classes are based on breeding conformation, so they’re judging the horses and their soundness for breeding, or conformation. And we have a lot of other stuff, from working cow, which is an extremely athletic event, and then Western pleasure, English pleasure, Park — that show is pretty cool because you get to see a huge variety of different events all at one time. You can come and get to see a lot of different stuff.”

There are also different levels of competition in each event, with separate contests for amateurs and professionals, as well as different age ranges of the horses, and of the humans directing them.

“We offer a variety of classes,” Berglund says. “Some classes are amateur classes, so it’s solely amateurs competing against each other. We have a distinction between regular amateur classes and classes where the amateurs own the horse, and then we have open championships too, which is the trainers competing against each other. We also have junior horse classes, which is horses 5 years old and under, and then for the [professional] trainers, it doesn’t matter, but the amateurs, we do have classes with different age ranges [for the humans].”

Also on display during the course of the week-plus, there will be the Tour of Arabian Horse Legends exhibit, which showcases some of the greatest Arabian horse trainers, breeders, organizations and horses in history.  

LOCATOR
U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show
Expo Square | Tulsa
arabianhorses.org
Oct. 19-27