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2011 Scottsdale Arabian Show
Images by Merri Melde

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STORIES: Scottsdale Arabian Show I || Bling and Boing || And Then I Met The Fireman
All The Pretty Horses || So Many Championships, So Little Time
The Athlete and The Adored || "Look at Those Hairy Horses!"

56th Scottsdale Arabian Show

Photos by Merri Melde

Gallery I

Gallery II

Gallery III

Gallery IV

Gallery V

Gallery VI

Gallery VII

Gallery VIII

"Look at Those Hairy Horses!"

Sunday February 27 2011

Mouths agape, the teenaged girls-used-to-show-horses stared at Rusty and the hairy Redford as they trotted around the arena in the Scottsdale Arabian Show Parade of Champions. "Look at those hairy horses!" It's the first time (we believe) that endurance horses have ever appeared in the Scottsdale Arabian Show Parade of Champions. (Aileen Baca also rode in the Parade of Champions, on her horse R Star Ghostdancer). It was definitely the first time that horses have appeared at the Scottsdale Arabian Show that have not had every excess hair clipped from their bodies.

Rusty and Redford had won the 50 miler, and Aileen and R Star Ghostdancer had won the 25 miler at the AAHA Halloween endurance ride in October in Scottsdale, and were included in this Parade of Champions...


The Athlete and The Adored

Saturday February 25 2011

On one side of the Scottsdale Arabian Show venue, the Athletes took the stage in their Championships and showed off their agility. The working cow horses do it all - combining "the thrill of cutting and the finesse of reining." The working cow horse does a bit of cutting, spinning, rolling back, wheeling, sprinting, flying lead changes, sliding stops - and a bit of thinking. You can see some of them change horsenalities when their cow steps in the arena - their whole body shifts forward, all attention on that cow. You can see some of them eyeballing the cow as they are turning it. **(There were also reined cow horse classes... are these two the same thing?)

I lusted after one of them (#880! More pictures of him in the slide show and photo galleries from today). He won his class. I bet he'd make an outstanding endurance horse, as would many of these physically fit, sturdy and well-built horses...


So Many Championships, So Little Time

Friday February 25 2011

The pace is picking up for the final weekend of the Scottsdale Arabian Show.

Today included championships in three different arenas in (among others) hunter pleasure and english and western pleasure, western side-saddle, older stallions and mares halter horses, show hack, and reining. Many classes have both Arabian, and half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian divisions; most have amateur and pro divisions; some also have age divisions.

The hunting over fences continued all day in another arena (some girls so small they could practically walk under the horses on which they fearlessly flew over fences with); the cutting horses started their classes today in still another arena.

Today's highlight was the half-Arabian/anglo-Arabian mounted native costume class with a dozen entries...


All The Pretty Horses

Thursday February 24 2011

At the Scottsdale Arabian Show, you have your Working Horses and your Pretty Horses.

Many halter classes for the Pretty Horses today - 3 and 4 and 5-year-old mares and stallions in the morning, and yearling colts and fillies in the afternoon. I will forever think of them as the Woo Woo classes, because that's the cheer you hear going around the arena when a group's favorite horse comes in the gate and trots/props/leaps/bounces/floats around the arena. "WooWooWoo!" The background beat is the kicking of trash cans, the shaking of chairs, the banging on anything that makes noise. The showier and just-on-the-edge-of-control the horses act, (or not), the more it pleases the crowd.

Meanwhile, reining continues all day on one end of the venue (I missed Fireman), while on the other end of the venue - the cowboy barn end - the calves have been trucked in for the Cutting and Working Cow Horse that will begin tomorrow and Saturday...


And Then I Met The Fireman

Wednesday February 23 2011

Today it was almost too much to comprehend: the sparkles and spurs, the startled eyes, the chins touching the chests, the knees snapping up high and touching the nose, the necks arched high and thin and eyeballs reaching for the sky, the plastic bag chasing the youngsters entering the ring. I think that in the halter classes, the horses are supposed to trot beside or around their handlers - but everybody likes it when the horses are naughty. They whistle and whoop and pound on metal trash cans and whack the steel girders, and they WOO WOO WOO! when the horses do anything but trot.

And then I met the reiners. Yesterday I ran into Susan Bavaria, the managing editor of Modern Arabian Horse. She asked me if I could come to a reining barn and take a few pictures today.

And then I met the Fireman...


Bling and Boing

Tuesday February 22 2011

Most endurance riders aren't particularly known for dressing up in the saddle. We have other things on our minds, like correct saddle fit over 50 miles, the right boots (our horses and our own), to biothane or not to biothane.

Long ago my trail riding friend was rather appalled I didn't have a 'color.' She insisted I go with one, so I chose red - one of my Thoroughbred Stormy's racing colors. I have to admit, he does look mighty fine decked out in red polos, red saddle pad, black and red bridle, with red saddlebags matching my black and red tights, shirt, and chaps, though I've only gone to that extreme 'costume' maybe twice in my life. Or maybe it was just once, just for pictures. I don't know what happened to the pictures.

A few endurance riders coordinate their clothes colors with their horse's tack... or at least some of them coordinate their horse's tack colors... or not.

Fashion and bling is the name of the game at the Scottsdale Arabian Show...


Scottsdale Arabian Show I

Monday February 21 2011

I set foot in a different world today, one I've visited before a few times, but always find fascinating. It brings together all kinds: horse loving kids, trainers, rich rich owners, the big famous barns and little family backyard horse, hard working grooms, the hopeful, the jaded, the bling, the costumes, the makeup... all hopes pinned on the hot blooded Arabian horse, the breed that is (according to arabianhorses.org) "the foundation stock of most light breeds".

The 56th annual Scottsdale Arabian Show is underway in Scottsdale Arizona. Since 1955, "it has grown from 50 horses to nearly 2400 horses bringing top owners, trainers and breeders from around the world." The show is mostly run by volunteers - about 600 of them from all over the country.

There's big prize money at stake - over $1 million in total over the 11 days. First place in the lowest level halter class gets $90; first place in the SSS Yearling Auction Colt/Filly class gets $39,603.38

Today I happened upon the semi-finals of the Scottsdale Signature Stallion Auction Championship Yearling Colts/Geldings - AOTH (Amateur Owner to Handle).