This February marks the 68th annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Since 1955, the annual event and the growth of the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show has set the tone for horse shows worldwide. The world-class showcase is the largest of its kind, and this year it’s expected to attract more than 310,000 people. During its six-decade run, it has brought immense growth to the Scottsdale landscape and has a very rich history in the valley. The Arabian Horse Association of Arizona at the helm has proudly grown this show to the largest and most prestigious of equestrian events.

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The event kicked off in 1955 at the Biltmore Hotel, McCormick Ranch and Paradise Park. Since 1989, the show has been held at WestWorld in Scottsdale.  It has grown from 50 to more than 2500 horses bringing in top owners, trainers, and breeders from around the world to compete for a chance at winning the red roses. A win here can mean big money in the breeding barns.

The influence and the growth of the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show has resulted in many notable Arabian farms being built in the area so horses can get acclimated for competition; many of them are Scottsdale attractions like Los Cedros USA, many spectacular facilities along Cactus Road, Arabian Park Drive, and North Scottsdale. Through decades of exposure, Scottsdale is the mecca for Arabian horses, owners, and trainers take pride in traveling from around the world to the first show of the season to see the exciting new breeding stock. The Sonoran Desert welcomes the world for 11 days of competition, shopping, education, and entertainment.

The sponsoring organization, the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona, was incorporated in 1955.  There were 12 members when it began, and it has now grown to over 500. Many members have become judges and stewards while encouraging the youth to participate in the horse show and other activities.  The event supports local luxury resorts, shopping, and restaurants. More importantly, it promotes the City of Scottsdale and at the same time, also supports charities and offers educational scholarships.

The Arabian Horse Association of Arizona is a leader worldwide in promoting the beautiful Arabian horse through the production of the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and many other shows and activities throughout the year. 

The 68th annual show will run from Thursday, Feb. 16 through Sunday, Feb. 26 featuring more than 2,500 horses competing for more than $3 million in prize money. Event-goers can look forward to a huge variety of classes where Arabian horses will show their versatility, beauty, and grace. Guests will have the chance to watch over 1,000 competitions where participants stand to win a whopping $4 million in prize money along with luxurious trophies and the title of Scottsdale champion. 

The AHAA will also celebrate the second annual National Arabian Horse Day on Feb. 19 with special events and activities at the show.

Tickets are available each day at the gate or through Elevate via the website  

Author: Taryl O’Shea is executive director of the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona. The Arabian Horse Association of Arizona (AHAA), a nonprofit organization, is the recipient of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce Sterling Award, Arizona Business Magazine’s Economic Engines of Arizona Award, the Arizona State Governor’s Tourism Award and inductee into the Scottsdale History Hall of Fame. AHAA donates to charitable causes such as March of Dimes, Cox Charities, Phoenix Crisis Nursery, College Education Funds, Youth Programs and many more worthy organizations. Learn more at