Some of Canada’s best Arabian horse breeders competed in Red Deer this week.
The 61st annual Western Canadian Arabian Horse Breeders Championship Show began Wednesday, and ends Sunday, at Westerner Park’s Agricentre.
“Arabians are known for their longevity, so it’s not uncommon to see a 20-year-old horse,” said Tex Kam, president of the Canadian Arabian Horse Registry.
“The Arabian horse pretty much wins all the long distance races around the world. They do these 100-mile races through the mountains and across rivers and creeks, and if 100 horses start, probably 96 of them will be Arabian. They’re known for that kind of stamina.”
This is the second year Red Deer has hosted this show.
“Alberta is sort of the hotbed for Arabian breeding and training for all of Canada. So Red Deer is a really good central location for people from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” Kam said, adding the event will return to Westerner Park for the next five years.
The first Western Canadian Arabian Horse Breeders Championship Show was held in 1958 in Calgary.
“We only had two classes then, which is like five minutes or 10 minutes long, and we’ve grown that to a five-day event with hundreds of horses.”
The breeders put in a lot of work to get to this level, Kam added.
“This is not something you do once or twice a week. Every day these breeders are out in the barn, working these horses and training them. A lot of these horses have had years and years of development.”
Saturday night features a demonstration, where the public can learn more about the breed.
“We’re trying to get people to understand and enjoy Arabian horses and get rid of some misconceptions.
“Some people think they’re a flighty horse or hard to handle, but … they’re very people oriented. These horses are very attuned to human beings. They’re like a big lapdog.”
Kam said another misconception is that Arabian horses are “only for millionaires.”
“There’s something for everybody when it comes to Arabian horses, from a starter horse for a few hundred dollars.”