Hello Friends and Family,

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Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, Part 1

For many years while living in Phoenix, I have been tempted to attend the annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show — but for some unfathomable reason, I have never made it up to West World. This year, with a tiny bit of urging from an old friend from California, I finally did so. Her daughter has shown horses and competed here many times — so it is strange that it took me so long to finally attend. Since her daughter was not here this year, Joszette put me in contact with a good friend of hers who was attending. So I met Mary at the show and we rode around the grounds in a golf cart that she borrowed so that I could get a quick overview and obtain knowledgeable answers from her to my myriad questions.

At the entrance to West World is an impressive sculpture to set the stage and put the visitor in the mood to see horses. Note that it was for sale in case you wanted a little souvenir. The price was not listed but I suspect it costs a pretty penny.

It does not take long before you encounter horses such as this handsome example. The horses were generally well-behaved and not the least bit shy around strangers.

All the horses at this show were either full-blooded Arabians or 50% Arabian. From Wikipedia, "With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, the Arabian is one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world. It is also one of the oldest breeds, with archaeological evidence of horses that resemble modern Arabians dating back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade, used to improve other breeds by adding speed, refinement, endurance, and strong bone. Today, Arabian bloodlines are found in almost every modern breed of riding horse."

A couple days earlier, Scottsdale was hit by snow — much more than we are used to seeing. Unfortunately, the melted snow made some of the arenas quite muddy — this main arena was still unusable even after the grooming which was intended to speed up the evaporation of excess moisture. The organizers had to double up in some of the tented arenas, half being used for warm-up and the other half for competition.

Horses enjoy the right-of-way at this event and I saw a lot of horses being walked — some for exercise and some being taken to or from performances in certain events here.

One surprise was the presence of dogs. I would have expected that dogs would not be permitted so as not to spook the horses. However, Mary explained that many, if not most, horse owners also love dogs — so they bring their own pooches to the show and the organizers thus permit guests to bring dogs too.

There are also quite a few instances of people in special riding attire. This lady looks very formal and much in contrast to the muddy path she is traversing.

In addition to horses being walked, quite a few were being ridden — fortunately at a slow pace — offering the pedestrian plenty of time to get out of the way.

Another fine Arabian being walked by a trainer who is somewhat absorbed in her cellphone conversation.

In addition to horses there are vendors selling anything a well-groomed horse might need — such as a saddle. Note that these are not cheap — the one in the lower left hand corner of the photos is offered for $5,000. Of course, I assume the sky is the limit depending on how fancy you wish your saddle to be.

The rider also must have spurs to help tell the horse when to go. These come in plain styles or as fancy as you wish with a wide price range to match.

I do not know why but this rider made me think of Marshall Dillon patrolling the streets of Dodge City — the resemblance might be even greater without the pickup and the No Parking signs.

We end this week with another huge sculpture of two cowhands talking about the cattle drive. "Move'm out!"

To be continued.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com