Youth National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show returns to Oklahoma City after 15 years 

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After a 15-year hiatus spent in Tulsa and Albuquerque, New Mexico, the 2016 Youth National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show returns to Oklahoma City’s State Fair Park Saturday-July 30, bringing with it more than 800 horses, 1,600 riders and another 1,600 family members, friends and helpers from the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“When we took a look at Oklahoma City, we saw significant improvements that have been made to the facilities at State Fair Park, which we really liked. Also, everyone we worked with was so accommodating,” said Julian McPeak, Arabian Horse Association director of marketing. “Those factors combined with our show beginning to outgrow the Albuquerque facility and Oklahoma’s location being in the middle of the country brought us back to Oklahoma City.”

The show is free to the public to view, and in addition to watching competitions, guests will find shopping opportunities, behind-the-scenes educational tours and youth games and activities.

Twenty to 30 vendors in the Shopping Expo inside Jim Norick Arena will sell everything from tack and equine supplies to jewelry, equestrian show and high-fashion clothing. The Arabian Horse Association booth offers free youth crafts and activities, including scavenger hunts.

Shopping Expo hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily throughout the event.

Many classes will be familiar to experienced equestrian fans.

“Arabians are very versatile,” McPeak said. “They can be driven (pull carts), be ridden English or Western, there are reining classes, dressage, hunter pleasure classes … really the only thing they’re not the best at is jumping.”

One show class in particular is unique to Arabian horse shows: the Arabian Mounted Native Costume Class, in which rider and horse are traditionally costumed as they would have been many years ago in the desert. The course is conducted in three gaits: walk, canter and hand-gallop, which is faster than a canter.

“There is no trotting because historically, when traveling in the desert, the sand was too deep to trot,” McPeak said.

Costuming is elaborate, with tassels, draped fabrics and glitter, and accounts for 15 percent of competitor scores.

Youth Nationals participants are age 18 or younger. The association serves more than 84,000 owners of Arabian, Half-Arabian and Anglo-Arabian horses in North America and is headquartered in Aurora, Colorado.

“We are the caretakers of the breed,” McPeak said.

Total Arabian Interaction Learning, or T.A.I.L., tours are a special feature available throughout the event.

“These are fantastic for kids and parents,” McPeak said. “You get to take a tour of the horse show barn — really go behind the scenes — and there are learning stations set up along the way. Then, you’ll get to meet and pet at least one Arabian horse and enjoy a few show classes with a tour guide who will explain what’s happening as you watch.”

T.A.I.L. tours are 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 10 a.m. Tuesday and July 27; 3 p.m. July 28; 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. July 29; and 10 a.m. July 30. Reservations are requested and can be made by emailing or calling 303-597-8251. Tours can accommodate up to 25 people.

For a schedule of events and more information, visit

Print Headline: Classy rides, Youth National Arabian & Half-Arabian Championship Horse Show returns to Oklahoma City after 15 years.

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