O'Connor: Oklahoma City hosts Arabian Youth Nationals – Journal Record

June 26, 2019 - Comment

Cathy O’Connor This summer brings several important horse shows to Oklahoma City. We just wrapped the weeklong National Reining Horse Derby. We’ll host the Arabian Horse Association Youth Nationals July 20-27 and the American Quarter Horse Youth World Championship Aug. 1-10. These two shows draw 60,000 people, including the best riders and horse lovers nationally


Cathy O’Connor

This summer brings several important horse shows to Oklahoma City. We just wrapped the weeklong National Reining Horse Derby. We’ll host the Arabian Horse Association Youth Nationals July 20-27 and the American Quarter Horse Youth World Championship Aug. 1-10.

These two shows draw 60,000 people, including the best riders and horse lovers nationally and internationally. The shows also provide entertainment for the entire family and make a substantial contribution to the city’s economy. Total estimated economic impact of Oklahoma City horse shows exceeds $126.5 million each year.

I have a personal interest since my daughter has shown Arabian horses for 18 years. We used to travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to participate in the Arabian Youth National Championship show. Now the show comes to us, thanks to Oklahoma City citizens’ investment through a 2004 hotel tax used to upgrade the State Fair Park facilities.

Equine organizations around the world, as well as other trade show and event management companies, have noticed our complex at State Fair Park with nine barns, the new Bennett Event Center, RV parking and amenities, exercise areas and a conference and meeting facility.

Our Convention and Visitors Bureau works to attract groups, find large blocks of rooms in our hotels, showcase our unique districts and attractions and bring visitors to our restaurants and retail shops. As our city continues to add more destination features, such as Scissortail Park, we can encourage visitors to stay longer and explore beyond the event that brings them to Oklahoma City.

Arabian horses are beautiful, athletic animals. They originated in the Arabian Peninsula, where tribes kept meticulous ancestral records, also known as pedigrees, as far back as 3000 B.C. That tradition continues. Show attendees will see competitions in many different disciplines including western, hunt seat, English or saddle seat, working cow, cutting and a fan favorite, Arabian Native Costume. There also will be halter competitions where horses are judged on conformation and other breed standards.

I encourage families to visit these events and see these beautiful horses. Seeing these athletic creatures and their talented young riders will be a unique experience and may inspire lasting memories as it has for my family.

Cathy O’Connor is the president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

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