September 28, 2012 Championship Horse Show Seminars, Demonstrations, Youth workshops
The inaugural Arabian Horse Celebration, held in Louisville, Kentucky, September 18-22, 2012, was an unqualified success. Why? For one thing, the well over 300 horses that came to the party more than covered the break even number organizers were hoping for. The four-day event did more than just bring Arabians and Half-Arabians back to Louisville. The relaxed schedule allowed people to shop and go out to dinner, saw friendships and professional contacts renewed, and everybody—including grooms, vendors, providers and spectators—had a wonderful time. Freedom Hall once again rang out with the over-the-top quality, performances and sportsmanship the Arabian community brought to town years ago.
West Virginian Ruida Clouse no longer breeds Arabians, but she and her family came to Louisville just to see what was up. “We are very impressed,” she said. “This makes you want to go out and buy an Arabian. We are so thrilled!”
Attendee Christy McDowell, who still treasures her 32-year-old Amurath Baikal son and his elderly harem, but no longer shows, said she felt the same way. “I’m so glad there is an Arabian show back in Louisville. This revives my dreams, and makes me begin to plan again for the future.”
The Celebration also revived the concept of the Arabian Horse Fair, with all its educational features. Thursday and Friday afternoons were reserved for learning. They kicked off with a parade of disciplines, which presented demonstrations of the various pursuits at which Arabians excel, and followed with informational seminars on a variety of equine subjects.
Additionally, the Celebration offered a Stallion Row, a once popular feature not seen for probably 25 years. Each midday young and old crowded in, eager to see current standout sires and influential older sires people may have seen recently only in photos.
Deborah Mihaloff Kirshner of Cre-Run Enterprises, owner of Crownn Royal and premier Arabian race horse breeder, gave a brief presentation on breeding the Arabian race horse and the importance of type and utility issues in this process.
“I sent Crownn Royal (Sam Tiki+ x Royal Athena by Monarch AH)to represent the Arabian Race Horse,” said Mihaloff Kirshner. They put him on Stallion row and he was presented under the spotlight Friday night at Freedom Hall where they US Nationals used to be held. People knew they were looking at something different, and when they said that he had run last year at Churchill Downs in the first ever Arabian horse race The President of the UAE Cup Grade 1 Stakes race, they all cheered.”
Sue Meyer, vice president of the US Arabian Jockey Club, gave a brief presentation on getting involved in Arabian racing through partnerships.
Arabian Jockey Club president, Kathy Smoke, gave a brief synopsis on the Arabian Jockey Club and it’s role in education and promotion of Arabian racing in the United States and world wide. Kathy has worked with many countries to promote Arabian racing as well as the Arabian breed in general. Her efforts on behalf of the Arabian Jockey Club have helped to expose the Arabian breed and its role in the racing industry to millions of people around the world.
What about the week’s marquee event, the show? Most of the classes were well-filled, but the story of the week was not just numbers. It was the level of competition. Performance and halter classes sometimes saw as many as five, six and seven reigning or past national champions in the ring at once, and the junior horse classes revealed glimpses of greatness.
“The Celebration was without question the most exciting Arabian horse event I have attended anywhere in the world in the last 12 months,” attendee Scott Benjamin said in a letter to organizers. “I am enthusiastic and energized for the Arabian horse after this event, instead of feeling the usual exhaustion after a show. The event was first class in every respect and a much-needed boost for out breed.”
“No other ring in the world can make a horse look good like Freedom Hall can,” trainer Jim Lowe said. “And next to my wife and four kids, who come first, this is the second-best time I’ve had in years!”
Photo credit: Thank you Paul Smoke