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Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and Shopping Expo | #ScottsdaleAZ

Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and Shopping Expo | #ScottsdaleAZ

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.

Scottsdale-Show-LogoThis 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.

Scottsdale ShowParking 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. 

dancing horse dancing horse2My 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.

Scottsdale Mounted PatrolThe 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.  Mounted Police training1 Mounted Police Training2Afterward 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.

petting a horse petting a horse2We could have left and that moment and they’d have felt like winners. Of course, the shows weren’t all done and nobody was ready to leave. 🙂

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. 

watching rider watching rider2I headed out to check out the grounds, the other arena, and of course, the vendor booths! I couldn’t wait to see all of the awesome products available for purchase. 

horse showAs mentioned above, there were over 300 commercial exhibitors on hand, with artists and craftsmen selling fine art, clothing, exotic jewelry, house-hold items, equestrian products and more.

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. 

riding apparelbootsThere were also tons of exhibitors with their handmade products, and I was amazed at the talent. Gorgeous jewelry, unique bags, and custom hats were among the booths I spent most of my time at. 

pursesI was particularly fascinated watching this woman who used what looked like a soldering iron to burn designs into the hats. 

burning hatThere were so many gorgeous, unique hats available for purchase, or she could customize your hat however you wanted.

hatsAfter 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.

American flagCanadian flagAgain, 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.

steppinbuggycostumeWe 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.


  1. That show looks AWESOME. Not only would my boys have absolutely loved it, but I would have, too! Thanks for sharing your pictures.

  2. Looks like such a fun show!! I grew up around horses. My grandpa had a horse farm and I always loved riding them and helping to care for them. Seeing them in an expo type show would be so much different than seeing them on a farm, like I’m used to. Those photos are all great. Love all those hats and boots!!!!

  3. My 5yo daughter would have absolutely loved this. She adores horses of all kinds and says she wants a ranch when she grows up.

  4. joanna garcia says

    OMG i wish there was something like that down here my girls would love it! they are obsessed with horses! looks like fun and loved the performances they had and that you can even do a ceramic art and shuttle services from your car to entrance!

  5. The police demonstration at the Arabian Horse Show looks fascinating, those horses are well trained and well taken care of. They have such a wide variety of items in the shopping expo. It looks like there is something for everyone.

  6. We all would love something like this. I’ve been to the Fort Worth Stock Show, but nothing this glam! I would dig the shopping!

  7. That looks so cool, I love horses!! I’ve always wanted to go to Arizona, specifically Scottsdale. One of these days I will get there!

  8. Wow, what a fun experience! Those horses are beautiful.

  9. I think horses are so pretty. Unfortunately my husband is very allergic to their hair, so we can’t go near any area with them! Looks like you had a great time.

  10. Looks like a great time! I love going to educational exhibitions like this. Being from the bluegrass, we love horses! This looks amazing!

  11. You’ve got some real beauties posted up there. I love the look of a beautiful horse, they’re amazing just to watch no matter what it is they’re doing.

  12. It would be so much fun to meet an Arabian horse! The ceramic horse painting would be a big hit with my kids too.

  13. WHat a fun thing to do! I love events like this, different than the typical zoo day or park trip! Free makes it even better!

  14. I have not been to a horse show in quite a few years. This post reminded me that I need to go to our local horse show in May.

  15. What a fun show. My aunt raised Arabian’s – they are a beautiful and smart animal.

  16. This show looks like it would be SO MUCH FUN for the family. The closest thing to that here in Chicago is Medieval Times. Haha…totally joking. Medieval Times is nothing like that – but I sure wish we had it here!

  17. What a beautiful picture of your family! This looks like a really fun event. I wish we had something like this near where we live.

  18. horses are such beautiful creatures, That looks like a really fun event.

  19. Oh wow, what a fun event! My daughter loves horses so this would be an event she would have a blast at. I wonder if we have an in NH during the warmer months…

  20. This looks really fun! I bet my boys would love to see the horses!

  21. I kind of want to play with that giant ball! We went to something similar in Orlando and had a blast!

  22. Ashley M says

    Oh my gosh I am SO jealous of you right now! As an avid horserider and Arabian owner I have always wanted to visit/compete in the Scottsdale Arabian Horse show.

  23. Eliz Frank says

    What a wonderful way to spend time together. The horses looked well groomed and the event quite entertaining.

  24. We love horses and My girls would lose their minds their. They would be in heaven.

  25. Sandra VanHoey says

    I wish I could have been in the backk seat with y’all to see this and to take my grandchildren too. They would have loved it, how beautiful!

  26. Jennifer Y says

    So so awesome! We love the Arabian Horse Show! We haven’t been there in a few years–we will have to remedy that! I love those boots–just gorgeous!


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