A spectator stands to get a better look during the afternoon competitions at the Canadian National Arabian and Half Arabian Championships being held at the Keystone Centre on Wednesday. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD / BRANDON SUN)
Brandon has quickly developed a favourable reputation among the community of horse owners, trainers and riders at the Canadian National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show.
"Everyone wants to come here because it’s a national championship and it’s the best our breed has to offer and its good competition," Chris Culbreth of Culbreth Equine in Scottsdale, Ariz., who has judged at previous Canadian championships. "I think they get the horse thing in this area as well. It’s an agrarian area, and they understand and appreciate the horse show."
Jody Hoffman of the Hastings, Minn.-based Heston Park LLC, said she appreciates how "people in Canada are very friendly."
"They are more than willing to help out with anything we need and bend over backwards to make this a fun show for us," Hoffman said.
Culbreth said the horse show’s reach extends beyond the Keystone Centre’s grounds, which also has an impact on the competitors.
"Every store we go to has a poster of this show up and they all know about the horse show," he said. "That makes you want to come here."
Culbreth said most participants in the show are here for two weeks, which means more hotel stays, more meals served in restaurants, merchandise purchased in stores and even vehicles repaired here.
Gerald McDonald, the chairman of the show commission, said the overall economic impact of the show to the Brandon area is between $8 million and $10 million.
"I needed to find a place to get my car repaired on Monday and they were here within a half an hour to tow it in and had it back within three or four hours," Hoffman said.
"You don’t find that in many places when you are in a larger centre or a metro area. It can be days before you get your car back."
With 690 horses competing this week, there are some horse owners who bring several horses to compete in various classes.
But not everyone empties their barn for the trek to Canada and some bring only a few of their top stock.
"There are some people that only brought up one horse, so they have lots of time to spend here," Culbreth said.
"I’ve heard of people talking about the museum in town and a couple of them have gone to the mall. Having little things to do in town make it nice."
Aside from the obvious expenditures, horse tack and supplies, such as bedding requirement, can provide a stimulus to the local economy, Hoffman said.
"Our clients spend some time just wondering what restaurants they want to eat at," Hoffman said. "They’ll say this one looks like fun, and they head around town to try to find those places."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 16, 2012