Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2011 Arabian Youth Nationals

Until recently, the International Arabian Horse Championships were hosted in Albuquerque every other year for over thirty years. Then politics reared it's ugly head and the International Arabian Horse Association pulled out and took the Nationals show to Tulsa, Oklahoma. But during those all those years, my mother and I went faithfully, watching the stallions in their halter classes and then, a few years later, seeing the stallions get in their classes. I remember seeing Cass Ole, The Black Stallion, at one show. Another time, Patrick Swayze was all the rage as he rode his stallion in a performance class. I found my filly's sire at one of the last National horse shows and how well I remember seeing her grandfather, the late, great Khemosabi as he won his Championship halter and  western pleasure classes many years ago and more recently as he toured on display, retired and in his thirties, to be admired by thousands. Now, I annually travel to Scottsdale to see those exceptional, "royal" Arabian showhorses because in the Arabian horse world the triple crown of shows is
  1. the Scottsdale Show
  2. the American Nationals (once held in Albuquerque, now in Tulsa, alternating years with Kentucky.)
  3. the Canadian Nationals
However, I am still fortunate in that every July, my town, Albuquerque, hosts the Arabian Youth Nationals Horse Show. And I get to go!

Last week, I attended on Thursday night, seeing only three classes, but what great classes they were!

Native Costume
Although there's nothing as excited as watching almost two dozen galloping Arabians in full native costume, it's hard to take good photographs. Yes, they do ask for hand gallops several times during the class, along with the walk, trot, and canter, and the entire audience whoops and hollers as their favorite horses race around.

These are teenagers riding, mind you.

Here's the Reserve Champion.

Here is a long shot of the full arena. Look at all the flags representing stables and countries.

And here is a close up of one of the large banners along the arena wall.

This happy lady was named Grand Champion.
These kids were waiting to be awarded ribbons for a competition.  I love the poses of the little girl in the yellow shirt.

And look how dirty she is!!

Mare Halter
The next class up is the mare halter class. You would think that a halter class would be boring but in the Arabian horse world, even halter is exciting. The audience whoops and hollers as the horses prance trot around and then the handler goes to the center to show their horse in front of the three judges, stretching the horse's neck and teasing her to reach out with her nose. The ears prick forward and the topline just becomes a smooth line of fluid beauty. Although Arabian stallions are exciting, the mare classes are extra special because the Bedouins always prized their mares above all others.

I thought this boy was well turned out with his matching suit and exquisitely groomed mare. It's too bad they both have funny looks on their faces- candid camera!!

He seemed to show her well too.

This young woman stood on her tiptoes to get the most out of her mare, probably because she was so tiny. I guess it helped; just look at that pose.
 I absolutely loved this next mare. She had a way of tilting her head slightly as she stretched her neck and reached with her nose. Isn't she cute?

Here she is again. Isn't it cool the way she's looking my way in all the photos?

I liked this girl's hair. Her ponytail reminded me of her horse's tail.

And then she won Reserve Champion.

And the Grand Champion was awarded to my favorite, the pretty mare with the tilty head!! And to make it even better, she's from New Mexico!
I admit that I was very surprised to see that the mare and boy in white didn't win, not disappointed, only surprised.

Park Horse
The last class of the night, Park horse, is another exciting, very high energy class! These horses are shown at the walk, trot, canter, and PARK trot.

I watched from above as they blitzed past me into the arena.

Look at the markings on this gray horse. It's like a blaze in reverse! Crazy, huh?

These horses have incredible leg and foot action as evidenced by the next couple of photos.

I especially love this photo, of a girl thanking her horse after the judges passed by.

Try to imagine this line up with horses' flanks heaving, heads bobbing up and down, bits chomping, and riders holding their breath.

The top ten were announced and awarded their ribbons and then the Reserve and National Champions were announced but they moved too fast for good photos.  And then it was time to go home.

To be continued...


Lucy said...

Oh my gosh! I go to the Scottsdale show every single year. I love it! I don't own any horses but if I did they would be Arabians. I love their perky personalities and they just know they are beautiful!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

How fun! I love the Native Costume Class, too.


Mary said...

How exhilarating it must have been to see those gorgeous horses up close and personal.

Paint Girl said...

That is great that you got to go! We had one of our youth clients show there. She is the only youth that wanted to go.
What I really love about working at the shows, is I get to see sooo many classes!! It is fun!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That might explain why I haven't seen my neighbor friend in a few weeks. I was really starting to worry. She usually tells me if she's going to a horse show. I'm glad you've still got one great show nearby.

Amber said...

Thank you for sharing the photos and the wonderful narrative!

That picture of the girl thanking her horse was so moving :)