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A Native Costume class competition takes place daily at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. (Karen McKnight)

It's the largest Arabian horse show in the world. Hundreds of thousands of horse lovers attend each year and over 2,400 of the world's finest Arabian and Half-Arabian horses are on display at WestWorld in Scottsdale.

"It's truly become a global event and we've been breaking attendance records all week," says Janice McCrea-Wight, President of the Arizona Arabian Horse Association (AAHA). "Each year, we bring between 250,000 to 300,000 people to Scottsdale for this annual event; this year, we expect to host the largest audience in our 59-year history."

The Arabian horses and owners come from all over the world to compete for over $1 million in prizes in more than 600 classes. Competitions include halter, English riding, Western riding, jumping, dressage, reining and native costume events, culminating with a crowned champion in each category.

The Championship Weekend begins Friday, February 20.

"This is the most exciting time of the show," says McCrea-Wight. " All of our show people and their beautiful horses have competed for the right to show and a chance to be declared Scottsdale Champion."

Due to its rich history of stars that are born here, McCrae-Wight says the Scottsdale show is the most prestigious in the Arabian world.

"The past champions from this show, dating back to 1955, are the most significant Arabian horses in the industry- it's a big honor to win here and be included as a Scottsdale champion."

Highlights this week

Gambler's Choice: Horses race around the arena jumping obstacles for points. Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m.

Scottsdale Signature Offspring classes: Select horses competing for over $590,000 in halter and performance classes.

Scottsdale Supreme Halter Champion: Judged on their beauty, the most beautiful and prestigious Arabian horses compete for this coveted prize on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 10 a.m. in Wendell Arena.

Native Costume class: One of the show's most popular daily competitions with horses/riders dressed in glimmering native desert regalia, galloping around the arena.

Free Family Night Friday: Families admitted for free for the final weekend on Friday, Feb. 20 starting at 6 p.m.

Daily events

The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show at WestWorld hosts many daily family activities. You can sign up for Barn Tours, Meet A Horse (where kids can sit atop an Arabian horse and have their photo taken), educational seminars, shopping the 300 artisans/vendor booths and viewing the competitions in outdoor and indoor arenas. Golf cart rentals are available next to the main ticket office.

For more information, you can contact www.scottsdaleshow.com or download the free app at iequine.com.

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