The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show is the biggest Arabian horse show in the world and is held annually in Scottsdale, Arizona. In the 1970s, the city of Scottsdale had a vision to create an equestrian-oriented park to give its citizens a place to ride horses. This park, initially known as Desert Park and later renamed Parque Cholla, opened its doors at the north end of the runway at Scottsdale Airport. Unfortunately, less than 10 years later, it had to close its doors to make way for an extension of the runway.
The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show has come a long way since then. It has grown from having 50 horses to more than 2,400 horses, drawing in the best owners, trainers and breeders from all over the world to compete for a chance to win. The show began in 1929 when the director of the then-new Westward Ho in Phoenix organized for his guests to ride horses in Captain H. Initially, participants had to pay a fee to take part in the program, but this was eventually abolished and replaced with a classification system that divided participants into young exhibitors, adult amateur exhibitors and general points for horses.
These horses come from all over the world to be exhibited in Scottsdale at the start of each season. In 1971, the show moved back to McCormick Ranch, where it stayed until 1978 and 790 horses were exhibited. Scottsdale's WestWorld has long been a center of equestrian activity in the Southwest, hosting equestrian shows and competitions that are perfectly suited to this westernmost city in the West. The park underwent several name changes over the years - from Desert Park to Parque Cholla to HorseWorld and finally WestWorld of Scottsdale - before settling on its current name.
The NRCHA signed a three-year contract to host the DT Horses Western Derby in Scottsdale and it quickly became a popular venue. The association organized its first All Arabian Horse Show in February 1954 at Arizona Biltmore, which amazed locals who had only ever read about these magnificent creatures. Around this time, George Cavalliere arrived in Arizona Territory and began providing blacksmith services for horses used to dredge and maintain the Arizona Canal. Scott also traveled horseback to downtown Phoenix to deliver crops to the Phoenix Herald newspaper and attend sessions of the Arizona Territorial Legislature, eventually being elected as a member.
In August 1952, at Westward Ho Hotel in downtown Phoenix, a small group of Arabian horse owners met and agreed on the importance of forming a like-minded group to promote interest in Arabian horses. This group was named the Arizona Arabian Horse Association (AHAA). After the show began at Biltmore in Arizona, Ann McCormick bought 150 acres in Scottsdale and converted it into an equestrian facility known as Paradise Park which served as home for many years for the show. The Arizona Arabian Horse Association has hosted the iconic Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show since 1955 and has incorporated other national shows for breeders, youth and amateur riders over recent years.
There is always something new and exciting happening at this show which continues to draw people from all over the world.