ROBIN BOOKER/BRANDON SUN
Trainers working with Arabian horses outside the Keystone centre on Sunday.
Exhibitors and horses taking part in the Canadian National Arabian and Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show were getting settled into their accommodations at the Keystone Centre on Saturday.
Rob Bick of North Carolina show one of the horses he trained at the Keystone centre on Sunday. (ROBIN BOOKER/BRANDON SUN)
This is the second year in a row Brandon has hosted the championship, which has been running for 55 years.
Gerald McDonald, chairman of the Canadian national show, said there will be close to 700 horses from across North America in attendance.
"Everyone in Brandon is welcome to come watch the show. There is no admission fee and they can even walk through the barns and talk to the trainers and owners," McDonald said.
Many of the exhibitors put a lot of work into their stable areas — some even have couches, rugs, paintings and other comforts of home set up.
It took John and Christine Ryan of New Jersey around eight hours to set up their area. They brought everything in their stall from home, except the couches, which they rented. They also brought 15 horses from Spring Water Farms along with them.
The couple were siting with some of their clients and friends in their living room area at the front of their stable, when John said he thinks Brandon is a great place to hold the event.
"We were here last year and we really enjoyed it. We like the city. We drove three days to get here so we must like it," John said. "I just love the Arabian horses, they are very personable horses. They form relationships with humans more than most horses do and there’s something about their big black eyes that I fell in love with when I was a kid."
Rob Bick and his wife drove 39 hours while bringing seven horses from North Carolina. When asked if the music he was playing in his stable area calmed the horses, Bick said "not really — it’s more for calming my wife down."
"Arabian horses are a lot of fun, very personable and pretty. They are also multi-disciplinary and can compete in English riding, western, driving and halter," Bick said.
This is the second year Sarah Bancroft came up form California with Ronda Karsten for the national championship.
"We spent all year last year talking about the show," Bancroft said. "It was a wonderful experience — very friendly people. When you come up to Brandon from California it takes a couple days to slow down and get with the different way of doing things. But I think it helps create a atmosphere among exhibitors where they just want to help each other. It’s not so much cut-throat, like other national’s can be."
McDonald said many of the exhibitors like showing in smaller cities because the people are often more appreciative of the show.
"Our exhibitors have been very positive about coming here because it’s a very friendly place and a great facility," McDonald said.
Peggy Sheldon came up with here husband and two boys from Madison, Wisc., for the second year in a row. Last year, Sheldon won reserved champion in the select riders class.
Brandon is "really friendly and clean — a great place to bring your family. Tonight we’re going up to Clear Lake for the evening — everyone says it’s beautiful, so I’m really looking forward to it," Sheldon said.
The show runs today through Saturday — 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
There will be 87 different classes in youth, western, dressage, hunter and English disciplines.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 13, 2012