Event Reviews 2002


by Liz Mitchell

We had finally made it to Scottsdale, Arizona to visit the 47th Annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Originally held at the private ranch of Ann McCormick, this grand tradition of camaraderie and sportsmanship has blossomed into the largest Arabian Horse show in North America. The 10-day extravaganza is eagerly anticipated by residents and visitors alike to experience this one-of-a-kind show and we were here to enjoy it and enjoy it we did!!

The show is held at Westworld on the outskirts of Scottsdale, nestling at the foot of the mountains, with clear blue skies and temperatures we get in the UK for about two weeks of the year. It is a perfect recipe for relaxation and revelry.

On entering the showground it is difficult to decide what to look at first. In the trade areas, which are of a very high quality, you can buy anything from a fur coat to a life size bronze of a horse and where it is all too easy to melt the credit card.

Having done the trade stands on the way in, it was time to hotfoot it towards the open arena where all the In-Hand classes take place. Whilst this is a very prestigious show and an extremely well organised one, there is a very relaxed feeling about it. The horses, however, were far less relaxed and have clearly all undergone the same training process. I found it odd that the judges seemed to be only interested in judging the horses as they stood before them. Once they were moving away and trotting out the judges were looking at the next exhibit. We, of course, saw some very beautiful arabian horses on display during our visit to the show. My particular favourites, of which there were many, were all sired by either Padron Psyche, Magnum Psyche, Magic Dream, or Versace.

Visiting as many of the barns on the showground is a must. These vary from the very large barns of the big studs such as Ventura Farms, Om El Arab, Strawberry banks farm, Arabian Expressions to name but a few, to the smaller studs, all of which are worth a look. Everyone is very friendly and are very happy to show you their horses, especially if you might be thinking of buying one. The highlight for me, however, was to see some of the great horses in person.

During our visit, we were chaperoned by Leanne Reel of the Magic Dream Partnership whom we have come to know very well, having purchased R. Magic from her and her husband. It was decided that we would all attend the Psyche Psylect sale on Wed. evening, having nosed around the Midwest Training Centre during the day. It was here that I met Padron Psyche in person, when the only thought that comes to mind is 'Awesome' and this is really me sharing a very private moment with this wonderful being?

The sale itself in the evening was full of glitz and glamour and you could have easily have thought you were attending a London Gala evening, except for the horses on-stage. So the stage was set for people to demonstrate their wealth and desire to acquire some very valuable bloodlines, but the prices were surprisingly varied with some horses making in excess of $100,000 and others seeming positively reasonable at only $25,000. I am sure this is the first of many successful auctions to be staged at Scottsdale.

I had promised my husband Paul that we would not go to the show every day so we took a couple of days out to be tourists. Our first excursion was to The Grand Canyon, another "awesome" experience and one that we have promised ourselves we will return to. Our second day was spent in Old Scottsdale which is full of native Indian culture. There are lots of tourist shops, some great sculptures and you can actually go into a western style bar with swing doors, which of course we had to try out.

As for the rest of Scottsdale, you see evidence of ranches being replaced with condominiums and newly fashioned stylish housing, but it is 'the' place to be, especially if you have an interest in Arabian horses. I, for one, cannot wait to go back.


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