This evening while my daughter and I were cooling horses out after riding, we began talking about the sad fact that so many equine organizations which used to host horse shows no longer do. Even within the past five years, more than ten local horse clubs who were holding shows as of 2005 are no longer doing so.
Back in the early 1970's when I first began showing, we used to have at least 12 events within the Arabian breed community just at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona (California) ~ now called Fairplex. Pomona Valley Arabian Horse Club used to have at least two shows, Western Wranglers hosted a March show for many years, there was the extremely well respected Whittier Host Lions Club show every January and even a local horsemen's club called the Bloomington Saddle Pals used to hold an AHSA rated Class "A" Arabian show. Our Southern California Half Arabian Association always had an annual show, plus the Sierra Empire Arabian Horse Association. There was the Riverside Breeders club as well, having a couple of shows, plus another one or two. I'm sure I am missing some. Of course, we also had at least one or two all amateur shows and there was always the Fair show.
These days, there is one Arabian horse show left at Pomona, the Sierra Empire club has taken over the dates held by Whittier Lions for more than 50 years. In fact, all of the Arabian Horse Association's Region One only has five or six horse shows total left, including the Regional Championships. The Festa Del Mar show is not being held this year, and we have no dates as yet for the Half-Arab club's 2012 event.
I find this so incredibly sad, but it is a statement about what's happening within our industry.We have a dying industry. One that, without new blood to keep it alive, will go away. This is the reason why I spend so much time in outreach efforts, building goodwill and trying to lure in a new generation of horse owners.
Horses have given me so much over the past 40+ years ~ it's the least I can do to give a little bit of something back.