The Keystone Centre was crowded with trainers, horses and riders for the Canadian National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show on Sunday.
Horses galloped around the track, heads down with their tails flying out behind them.
Sunday marked the show’s kickoff, and rider Eryn McCauley said she very much enjoys coming to the venue.
"The locals come watch and they fill the stands, which is just not something that we get at a lot of our shows in the States," McCauley said.
She came from California with her two horses, Jackson Jamaal and Jukarr.
It was a 32-hour trip, with one flat tire and a layover in Idaho Falls along the way.
"It’s a long drive," she said.
Jackson Jamaal still needed a bath before his showing on Tuesday, and the brown horse stood beside McCauley in his outdoor stall on Sunday.
Although she said that the stalls could use some improvement, since previous years found rain flood the area, she said she enjoys returning to the Keystone Centre.
Trainers who gathered at the Keystone Sunday had something positive to say about the venue and community.
"Everybody is so nice and the weather is great, it’s just a very relaxed show," said Donna Waggoner, a trainer from California.
"There’s good competition here, but it’s also just a nice place to be."
This is Waggoner’s second time at the show in Brandon, something that takes "a lot of commitment and dedication on the trainer the horse and the rider," she said. "We’ve been working for this all year long."
This work doesn’t stop, especially at the show.
Many horses were getting a full makeover in the parking lot of the Keystone Centre on Sunday morning. Hoses snaked along the ground as horses were sprayed down from their ears to the very bottom of their tail.
Upkeep is a big part of the work they have to do, McCauley said.
"Making sure they look nice, they’re clipped properly and they’re clean, having the proper show saddles and also making sure that their body looks good and they’re able to handle the amount of work they have to do here," she said.
The hair around Jackson Jamaal’s nose still needed to be clipped, as well as the hair by his ears and legs before their big showing on Tuesday.
"Just making sure the horses are healthy, happy and looking their best," McCauley said.
"This is nationals, so it’s one of our biggest shows of the year. It’s a pretty big deal."
The show will run until Aug. 18, with events happening all day starting at 8 a.m. and running into the evening.
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