Thursday, February 14, 2008

And So It Begins...

And So It Begins...

Feb 14 2008

The 53rd Annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

It's officially kicked off this evening with a concert by Heart and Emerson Drive.

All week, vans have been pulling into the WestWorld grounds, unloading horses, setting up barns, conditioning and polishing horses.

Today, last minute work and training creates a busy atmosphere, for a show expecting to attract over 2500 horses, competing for over $1 million in prize money in more than 640 classes over 10 days.

The tents:
There's UPS and FedEx and barn supply delivery trucks rolling in and out of parking lots, delivery men and women scurrying in and out of tents, and media and show office trailers. Volunteers and workers unloading boxes, stacking brochures and programs, constructing trusses.

The vendors:
Still-empty booths; booths set up and ready for business tomorrow: pony tails for your hair or your horse's tails; boots for you or your horse; rugs, sparkly belts and blouses; hats, tack, horse statues, Western decor, photography, silver and turquoise jewelry, art. I stop by and say hi to endurance rider Janice Taylor of Janus Studio from Kentucky, with her lovely fabric painting and wall hangings. And there's still more. Food stands getting ready: hot dogs to gourmet coffee to sushi. Blindingly-shining new silver trailers, trucks, sports cars. Plentiful ATM machines strategically placed.

The barns:
Last touches being put on the barns: newly planted flowers, canvas and wooden panels with stable names resembling permanent barns, artificial grass, wood chips, neatly raked paths. Cars, trucks, horse trailers parked by the barns, jamming the aisles, unloading horses and equipment. Barns in every direction of the compass, and spilling out across the street to the north, filling up with horses.

The arena:
There's horses training: dressage, driving, English and Western pleasure, lunging sprinters going around and around and around; prancing shining Arabians; high steppers and slow-motion 4-beat canter-ers; greatly bowed necks, high-headed and high-tailed spirits; tail bags, neck warmers; sweating necks, bathed bodies; whips N' spurs, spit-polished silver tack that makes you squint in the sun, double reins, monster bits, martingales; three (that's THREE) young girls wearing helmets.
Trainers training: "Don't let him do a quarter turn with his hip out there or you'll have a lot more to fix." "It's not jabbing, it's pressing him over." One 10-year-old girl on a high stepping Arabian, riding like a pro, wearing a two-way radio on her belt, being coached by her instructor while weaving through 15 other riders in the covered arena.

The first classes begin tomorrow morning at 8 AM.

1 comment:

DarcyLynne said...

Blinding It is quite an extravaganza isn't it. Unfortunately, I just don't have the heart to do that to a horse. However, I do recognize there is a place in today's market place for show horse industries. Now if only our halter classes paid out at the million dollar level as Quarter Horse World horse show does! :)