Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/8/2017 (311 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
After making the 17-hour trek from Washington to Manitoba, seven-year-old Safar was itching to take a run around the Keystone Centre’s outdoor show ring.
The purebred Arabian horse burned off some energy under the supervision of Aysha Al-Hafian, an assistant with Heritage Arabian Farm based in Spokane, while owner/operator Jessica Wentland set up the stalls for the week.
"The Arabian industry is so great about networking with each other," Wentland said. "A lot of the trainers that have been doing this for so long are so willing to help us younger trainers, which is so nice."
Safar joins more than 700 horses that are competing in the Canadian National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show in Brandon, which begins Sunday and runs till Aug. 19.
Wentland has two junior riders competing this year in the 13-and-under division.
"I’ve always enjoyed working with kids and it seems like the love of horses just runs through the girls’ DNA," she said. "So I love just seeing the girls be passionate about the horses, and helping them achieve their goals and dreams."
This event marks a major milestone — its 60th anniversary, and seventh year in Brandon.
Competitors are descending on the Keystone Centre from across Canada and the United States — as far south as Florida and as far west as California. In Canada, participants are coming from B.C. right through to Ontario and everywhere in between.
On Friday, riders were busy setting up and preparing for the competition.
Gretchen Price of New Berlin, Wis., brought a team of six horses this year, and said the No. 1 priority when they first arrive is getting the horses settled in.
"Then … get curtains set up, get dressing rooms set up, get drinks and things for the clients, and just make sure everything’s ready to go," she said.
Price has attended the event since it first came to Brandon. She said the competition is in line with the United States nationals, but a bit smaller.
"So for people for their first year at nationals, sometimes this is a good place to get their feet wet because the classes maybe aren’t quite as big and intimidating," she said.
Over the years the event has become known for its impressive temporary stalls.
Gerald McDonald, chair of the Canadian National Show Commission, noted that a lot of the decor is purchased locally, in addition to the rental of furniture.
"It brings a lot into the community. Hotels are full and all those other exciting things," he said.
The Brandon show is one of four national events hosted by the Arabian Horse Association. But what makes this event stand out from the rest, McDonald said, is the fact that it has a wide range of classes.
"We’re the one that everybody can come to as a family group," he said. "So we get horses that will be shown here maybe by a parent and their kids. Other horses are shown by a professional, and then an amateur rider at the same time, so there’s a much broader mix."
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