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54th Annual Canadian National Championship Arabian Horse Show

by | Aug 17, 2011, 10:39 AM EST

The Canadian National Championship Arabian Horse Show was moved this year after well over twenty years in Regina, Saskatchewan. The new location in Brandon, Manitoba is further to travel for some and closer for some others. Brandon is the second largest city in Manitoba (after Winnipeg) but its population is just 40,000 compared with Regina’s 180,000. The change in population and “big city” atmosphere between the two locations is obvious immediately. The location for the show in Brandon is the Keystone Centre facility and it has a lot to offer the Arabian horsemen. It hosts the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair each year in March and the Manitoba Livestock Expo each November. Everything is under one roof, a real advantage should the weather become wet, and there are plenty of attached amenities, including a hotel and numerous, convenient restaurants and lounges.

The 2011 Canadian National Championships opened Monday, August 15th and will run through Saturday, August 20th. There are about 660 Arabian and Half-Arabian horses competing this year in 185 classes. Traditionally the Western Pleasure and the Hunter Pleasure classes are the largest divisions, especially the amateur competitions. The

The Canadian National Championship show begins. [Photo by: Christy Egan]
The Canadian National Championship show begins. [Photo by: Christy Egan]
sections will not be too large for the most part and they should end conveniently in the early afternoons and evenings, rather than later. It’s easier for the show management to handle a smaller event too, making them a happier, more customer-oriented group. This size show tends to complement the Canadian National’s reputation for up-beat, friendly, family-oriented entertainment. This is the only national show left on the North American AHA Arabian circuit that is not specialized, where you can see families competing together, and where the Youth, Sport Horses, Working Hunters, Dressage, Reining and Halter horses all show in the same rings on the same days. In 2011, for the first time, the Canadian National show is being live streamed by , a development that could go a long way toward bringing more horses and horse people to the show to watch and exhibit next year. Live streaming has become all the rage at the shows and events over the last few years. The equine industry seems to be embracing it across the board, using it to create visibility for horses and to help invigorate the entire industry.

American entries have utterly dominated the Canadian Arabian National show since its inception nearly 60 years ago. The vast majority of Canadian National Champion Arabians are always American. When the show has a year with smaller numbers, it’s almost always the American entries that are down. This means that the percentage of Canadian exhibitors, as opposed to American exhibitors, will be up in 2011. Often this leads to more Canadians taking Top Tens and national titles, providing incentive for local and regional Canadian horsemen to drop in to see the show during the week and cheer for their own.

Walking around the Keystone Centre facility on the first day there is a nice energy to the 2011 Canadian National show, an enthusiasm that is part of a new beginning in a new location, but also an obvious intent by the local Canadians in Brandon and Manitoba to make the Arabian horse people feel welcome, pleased with the show and eager to return in 2012.