Last month I shared with you an awesome eat- Rehab Burger Therapy- and an activity- Scottsdale ArtWalk- to do in Scottsdale, Arizona in my Best Burgers in Scottsdale + Scottsdale ArtWalk post (I crave those sweet poTOToes daily). I mentioned that I’d discovered that, although living in AZ my entire life, I’ve missed out on some amazing eats, spas, activities & events, and places to stay. I’m so thrilled to be working with the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau to share some of these awesome local restaurants and activities with you. Up this month is one of the awesome annual events in Scottsdale: the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and Shopping Expo.
This year marked the 59th annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and Shopping Expo. My entire lifetime this event has been going on just 10-15 minutes from my home, and though I’d heard the name, I’d never really known much about it.
The largest event of its kind in the world, the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show is held at WestWorld and attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators. In addition to exciting competitions, gala parties, educational seminars and an international cuisine court, the event features more than 300 vendor booths, offering everything from lavish jewelry, clothing and works of art.
My grandparents were in town visiting from California, so I was glad to have something new and fun for all of us to be able to enjoy. We chose to go on Family Fun Night which allowed free entry into the event at 3pm. Normal ticket price is $10 for the day, so even had it not been free it would have been an all day event for a fantastic price.
Parking was well organized (always a relief, especially with a car full of people), and we were able to get a ride up to the front door from one of the many shuttles they offer. Walking in we immediately saw the hundreds of vendor booths. My grandpa, my mom, and the kids weren’t that interested, so they walked ahead and looked for the arenas where the events were taking place. Grandma and I took our time and enjoyed looking at the booths on the way back to the main arena.
We were able to see a few of the events while we were there. (Disclaimer: I’ve tried to find a list of the official names of the events we were able to watch, but try as I might I have been unsuccessful. Please excuse my lack of education on Arabian Horse Events as I try to share the details of our experience.) When we first got there we watched part of the ”dancing” event, where the horses ‘dance’ to music. I am sure there is a lot of training, and specific moves used, and although I am clueless as to all that we were seeing, it was beautiful to watch. All of us enjoyed it.
My grandparents stayed to watch the entire show, while my mom and the kids and I cut out early and headed over to another arena to watch the Scottsdale Police Department’s presentation of their Mounted Horse Patrol. This was very, very cool.
Before being allowed out on patrol, the horse and rider attend an intensive 120 hour mounted police-training program. Due to the dangerous situations the mounted patrol face on the street they’re trained to be able to handle an array of obstacles and arrest procedures.
The sergeant took time and explained how they train the horses for duty while the other 2 officers showed us the tools and techniques firsthand with their horses. Watching and hearing all of the details gave me a new appreciation for the job the mounted patrol officers and their horses do each night in the Scottsdale Bar District. Afterward the officers allowed people to pet the horses and ask questions, something my kids were beyond excited to do. We were among the last few people to leave the arena, but we learned a lot and the kids were on cloud nine.
The next event didn’t start for another 30 minutes, so we rejoined my grandparents in the main arena. They all got front row seats and decided to stay put and watch the horses and riders warm up.
There were the typical booths you’d expect to see at this event, such as cowboy hats, boots, riding apparel and gear, special horse feed, etc.
After walking through and looking at most of the booths, I headed back to the main arena for the big event of the night. It started out with honoring the US and Canada with the display of the flags and playing of the National Anthems. It was beautiful.
Again, I’m not sure what the events were that we watched, but this evening there were a handful of different competitions that took place one after another. Competitors were judged based on specific criteria (we were clueless about all of this as well), and awards were given in each competition. We were there for about 2 hours and were able to see a few different events, and although we had no idea what criteria riders and horses were judged on, we enjoyed choosing our top choice and seeing if we were right.
There was a competition where the horses were made to high-step, another with a horse pulling a rider in a buggy, and an over 60 class, in which the horse and rider’s ages combined were over 60. The dress of each of the riders was different, and there were a few beautiful costumes we really enjoyed seeing in addition to the beautiful horses.
We would have loved to stay and watch even more, but it was after 8 when we left; the kids were hungry and tired, and I think grandma and grandpa were as well. We are really looking forward to next February when the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and Shopping Expo returns. We’ll definitely be heading over for at least a day or two so we can experience as much as possible. Here are a few of the other events available that we’d have loved to be able to participate in and see, and hope they’ll offer next year as well:
Behind the Scenes Barn Tours – will allow spectators to learn about the history of the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, the Arabian horse and what it takes to compete at this prestigious event. The tour will last about an hour and will allow you to meet some of these amazing competitors and their owners.
Meet an Arabian Horse – Children and young adults will have an opportunity to meet an Arabian Horse up close and personal. The horses will be dressed in their Native Costumes and spectators will be able to sit on the horse and have their photo taken. The meet a horse event is free with admission to the grounds.
Meet Sshameless the 2013 Breyer Horse – At age three, Sshameless++, a stunning Arabian, was named the 1995 Reserve National Champion Futurity Colt. Fifteen years later, he returned to Nationals with his new amateur owner Lisa Shover and was named the 2010 Reserve National Champion in Adult Amateur Owner to Handle (AAOTH) Arabian Stallion Halter and Reserve National Champion in Select Western! Sshamless++ and Lisa are the only team to ever win National titles in the performance and halter divisions at the same U.S. National Arabian Horse Show, and Sshameless++ is the oldest Arabian to ever win National titles in performance and halter divisions!
Paint-a-Pony- Ceramic horse painting, free to the first 200 children
If you happen to be in Scottsdale when the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and Shopping Expo happens to be in town, you’ll definitely want to check out it. There’s really something for everyone! If you’re looking for a different activity on your Scottsdale trip, Experience Scottsdale will help you to find exactly what you’re looking for.
I was compensated for the above mentioned activities in order to complete my review. All thoughts expressed are my own.