November 4, 2008 -- The 42nd annual U.S. National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show (U.S. Nationals) made its debut in Tulsa, Okla., at Expo Square, October 17-25. A total of 1,889 horses were entered in the show that provided 125 classes across a variety of disciplines that included reining, cutting, working cow, trail, mounted native costume, pleasure driving, show hack, halter, sidesaddle, park and English, hunter and Western pleasure.
The Arabian Horse Association (AHA), based in Aurora, Colo., produced the nine-day event that reigns as the flagship competition for the Arabian horse industry and the grand finale of the show season. The show follows Youth Nationals, Canadian Nationals and Sport Horse Nationals--also produced by AHA.
The horse show featured a number of special events throughout the week that highlighted the Arabian horse lifestyle. A shopping expo provided every conceivable item for horses, equestrians and fans. The second Saturday included the Saturday Spectacular that showed off Arabians in two Western disciplines with a cowboy mounted shooting exhibition and a freestyle reining invitational.
On October 25, five-time Arabian Park Horse Champion Aequus+//, who won his last U.S. title in 2007 at 19, was formerly retired. Aequus made his park class debut at the national level in 1993 and earned Top 10, Reserve Champion or Champion 10 times since.
In conjunction with U.S. Nationals, AHA hosts an annual youth and collegiate judging contest that draws 4-H, Future Farmers of America (FFA), AHA and collegiate judging teams from all over the country. This year's top 4-H/FFA team was the Hinds Company Team, representing Mississippi. The top Junior AHA team was Wyoming AHA, and Colorado State University took home top honors from the Senior/College division. Overall, AHA awarded more than $10,000 in scholarships and prizes, plus three saddles from Dale Chavez Saddlery.
This year was the first of a three-year contract with the city of Tulsa that was four years in the making. AHA and the Tulsa Convention and Visitors' Bureau made a final estimate of economic impact, just weeks before the show of about $25 million, but as more horses were entered than expected, the economic impact on Tulsa may actually have been around the $30 million mark.
Visit www.arabianhorses.org for a full list of results.