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Local in National Arabian Show

“I’m going,” said Prue Critchley, when asked if she was entered in the Canadian National Arabian horse show coming up in Brandon.

“I’m going,” said Prue Critchley, when asked if she was entered in the Canadian National Arabian horse show coming up in Brandon. Entries from across the US and Canada will be competing, with hundreds of horses filling the barns; others will be stabled in outdoor stalls, which already fill the grounds of the Keystone Centre.

Critchley, from the RM of Hamiota, owns a small stable of five horses (Arabians and Morgans) in total. She will be showing her Polish-bred bay stallion, Empres in a class he won in 2012. He was the Champion Canadian National Sport Horse in Hand.

Empres has shown well in many disciplines, placing in the Top 10 in many events over the years but Critchley will not be riding herself, due to knee surgery. She has other riders for the horse; he will even show under side-saddle.

Empres was trained for Western pleasure in Europe. There, he also raced as a three-year-old, before being sold to breeders in the USA. The Hamiota horsewoman stumbled upon Empres as a ‘good deal’ and she snapped him up.

“He’s very sweet,” the British-born horsewoman explains. “At last year’s show he managed to get his tongue over the bit. His steering was gone,” she laughs, adding that the stallion didn’t get upset, as some horses would in that situation.

Besides Critchley, there are Arabians entered from a stable near Nesbitt and several entries from Stonewall, MB, according to show organizers. Critchley will be stabled in the outdoor area and would welcome a visit when she is not showing.

The Canadian National is a show unlike other horse shows - colourful and dramatic. Many owners enjoy their Arabians from their own lush living room suites, set up in the barns. Trainers, competitors, and grooms all work with many of the horses. However, some entries are simply a dedicated horse owner with a lovely Arabian who is their personal friend and only mount.

Winning is a family affair, when a host of people rush into the ring where their entry receives a large winner’s wreath, amid cheers, shouts, shrieks and whistles.

The Brandon show is free to the public and runs all next week at the Keystone Centre. This year, under the T.A.I.L. program, there are guided tours and education about the Arabian horse, geared particularly for youth. But you need to pre-register.

Three Manitoba stables are entered in this world class show, where Arabians and registered part-bred Arabians will be performing in 207 different classes in youth, western, dressage, hunter and English disciplines.

Can’t make it to Brandon? www.arabianhorseglobal will be live streaming parts of this colourful horse show.

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