Aurora, Colo. - Nearly 1,800 Arabian and Half-Arabian horses and 7,200 exhibitors, owners, trainers, and support staff from 44 states and six countries made Tulsa Expo Square in Tulsa, Okla., their home for two weeks during the annual Arabian Horse Association’s (AHA) Arabian and Half-Arabian U.S. National Championship Horse Show.
Credited by the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce with bringing $104 million in economic impact to the city of Tulsa, second only to the Tulsa State Fair, AHA’s premier championship crowned nearly 200 hundred National and Reserve National Champions across a number of diverse disciplines, from hunter and Western pleasure, to trail and reining, to breeding in-hand and driving classes. This event truly showcased the diversity and athleticism of the Arabian and Half-Arabian breeds.
Over $1 million in prize money was awarded across these disciplines through AHA’s Arabian Breeders Sweepstakes and Halter and Performance Futurity/Maturity programs, along with the Arabian English Performance Association (AEPA), Arabian Western Pleasure Association (AWPA), and the new Arabian Hunter Pleasure Association (AHPA) prize money classes. These programs were created with breeding incentives in mind. Breeders and owners alike can win prize money through competition for eligible horses, by nominating to these individual programs.
Full class results for prize money classes, as well as the full schedule of classes from the 2018 U.S. Nationals, can be found here.
New in 2018, the AHA’s Market Development and Promotion (MDP) Committee sponsored a Tulsa Children’s Coat Drive. This event was headlined by the appearance of the National Football League’s (NFL) Denver Broncos® mascot Thunder, a purebred Arabian gelding owned by Sharon Magness Blake, and his rider Ann Judge. Thunder and Ann not only supported the coat drive but conducted daily meet and greets with exhibitors and horse show attendees, and carried the American flag during the show’s opening ceremonies on Friday and Saturday evening.
Adding to the excitement of this premier event, the philanthropic sister organization to AHA, The Arabian Horsemen’s Distress Fund (AHDF), a 501(c)(3) that provides financial support for AHA members who experience catastrophic, unexpected crisis, held several special events to not only support the Arabian horse community, but also the local Tulsa community. Over the years, AHDF has disbursed hundreds of thousands of dollars to horsemen and women in need in the Arabian horse community. U.S. Nationals generally serves as one of their largest fundraisers of the year.
“The Arabian Horsemen’s Distress Fund has raised over $1 million over the last 10 years that the fundraising efforts have been taking place at U.S. Nationals in Tulsa," said Mary Trowbridge, founder of the AHDF. "This is a monumental achievement that helps those in need, that the distress fund was designed to assist."
For the second time, AHDF’s Chips for Charity event served as the primary fundraiser, taking place Wednesday, October, 24. Several large sponsors stepped up to support the event, including AHA. Monies raised support AHDF and their mission, among other related charities. Sponsored signature drink bars representing key stallions in the industry, craps and poker tables, a DJ, and more made the evening a fun break from the seriousness of competition.
On top of all the fun and competition excitement, the 48th Annual AHA National Youth Judging Contest took place in conjunction with U.S. Nationals, as it does each year. This prestigious contest, known for the $10,000 in scholarship money awarded to contestants, allows youth judging individuals and teams the opportunity to evaluate national-caliber halter and performance Arabian and Half-Arabian horses.
Contestants are challenged to learn basic horse judging principles and develop their decision-making, public speaking, and reasoning skills. The contest is composed of two parts: placings through classes the contestants judge and oral reasons. The 2018 contest had 107 contestants, comprising 26 teams. The high-point individual winner was Erin Garlock from Colorado State University. With this win, she received the opportunity to judge the Half-Arabian/Anglo-Arabian English Pleasure Junior Horse Championship in center ring with the national-caliber judges and a new saddle. Find full 2018 Judging Contest results here.
Plus, find out more about the Arabian breed by watching the newly released US Equestrian Learning Center video. Join the conversation and follow US Equestrian on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #JoinTheJoy.