TOUR OPENS SCOTTSDALE 2009
the Second Annual New Year's Arabian Farm Tours
by Sue Adams
(Scottsdale, AZ) Every great sport has a "tour" of some sort - tennis, cycling, golf - moving the activity from place to place becomes part of the marketing strategy and allure. Scottsdale in December and the Arabian horse scene is garnering it's own Tour cache as the second annual Arabian Farm Tour offers a slower-paced prelude to the February Show. Last year marked the introduction - or reintroduction for those in the Arabian business for an extended number of years - of December Arabian horse events in Scottsdale. Organized by ArabHorse.com, many of Scottsdale's premier Arabian Horse Farms opened their doors to the public between Christmas and New Years and were met with great success and enthusiasm.
"We weren't certain what to expect when we launched the Farm Tour concept last year," explains Scott Bailey, founder of ArabHorse.com. "But we learned that there is significant interest for more information about Arabians in our local area market. Public response was even more positive than we had hoped, some horse people came from out of town to look at the farms and see horses. And most importantly, some of the participating farms sold horses. Our goal for this season was to expand upon our success last year."
ArabHorse.com created an expanded version for Arabian Farm Tours 2009 and added door prizes along, additional farms and more fun. The Tour events brought out not only local admirers and their guests but serious buyers as well. An amazing 3 million dollars in sales were generated by participating farms during the nine day span of the Tour.
The Tour opened the day after Christmas with a grand kickoff hosted by Bob Pomeroy and Carrie Langstroth of Pomeroy Arabians International in conjunction with fellow Canadians Murray and Shirley Popplewell of Rae-Dawn Arabians. A first year participant on the Tour, the farm treated guests to an extremely special afternoon and everyone enjoyed the lovely atmosphere of the beautiful new facility.
The following day, Saturday, Tour events opened at 11:00 a.m. at the Krickhe Training Center located in the increasingly popular horseman's area of Rio Verde. Keith and Maureen Krichke have recently opened at this location and many guests were visiting the facility for the first time. Next on the schedule, a second year participating farm, McDonald Arabians on Peak View Road where Gary and Holly McDonald and their family served up fun for all along with some serious sales activity. Saturday evening closed with a presentation of performance horses trained by Culbreth Equine Training on 93rd Street just north of Cactus Road. Chris and his wife, Michele, currently house their training operation at the spectacular Wolf Springs Ranch location.
Sunday was a whirlwind of activity starting at Riyan and Ricardo Rivero's Equine Image where sales were fast and furious. "From a marketing stand point, the Farm Tour has opened a new door of traffic that will benefit all of us who are marketing great horses," says Riyan. "I have heard several encouraging reports from the other farms about their sales. We sold three horses and an embryo as a result of our Open Barn. Not to mention the energy and excitement that was created for the farm as a whole. Thank you to Scott and David and your amazing TEAM for your support and passion to the Arabian Breed!"
Hopkinson Equine Management now residing on the corner of 96th Street and Cactus hosted the second Tour of the day. Those who recall the flurry of December activities from the "old days" will remember Robin's new digs as part of the former Adams Arabian facility.
Closing the first weekend of festivities was O'Neill Arabians on Dynamite Blvd. With their emphasis on training programs for amateur owners, Rory and Suzanne O'Neill always create a warm and inviting atmosphere to all attendees.
The New Year's celebration began early with a picture-perfect desert winter day at Greg Knowles' Arabian Expressions. Greg's farm, located in the Cactus corridor section of in-town Scottsdale horse properties, welcomed long-time clients and numerous newcomers to an afternoon of food, festivities & horse presentations. Around mid-afternoon the fun moved north to the Dynamite Road area at All Stars Arabians where always fun-loving and energetic Gil Valdez made certain the party continued. Here guests lingered to enjoy a beautiful desert sunset close to 2008.
New Year's Day brought a brunch celebration at North Arabians, International Training Center. Since coming to Scottsdale the North's have hosted a first-day-of-the-year brunch at their farm and the expansion of that event into the Arabhorse.com Farm Tour was a natural transition. This extension of their hospitality was thoroughly enjoyed by the Arabian horse community and other guests.
Saturday, January 3rd marked the final day of the Tour with Terry Holmes Arabians on Dynamite hosting the opening event. Terry and Mellissa's daughter and skilled young horsewoman, Chloe, assisted with the presentation of horses.
Following the energetic presentation at Terry Holmes Arabians was Sharon and Bill Eider-Orley's Amurath Arabians located in the Rio Verde area. This event included a special clinic by renowned horsemen Ray LaCroix and John Lambert who demonstrated techniques in preliminary groundwork for young horses that emphasized movement and control.
The final day of the Tour drew to a close at Scheier Farms, owned by Mike & Patti Scheier. Welcoming guests was nationally recognized performance horse trainer Rob Long who also calls Scheier Farms home.
The Arabhorse.com Arabian Horse Farm Tours in Scottsdale gives Arabian horse enthusiasts, owners, trainers and breeders an opportunity to view some of the very best Arabian horses in the country at the just right time of the year. The rush of Christmas is over and the prospect of a new show and breeding season looms on the horizon. This is the perfect time to find that perfect Scottsdale Show prospect, a new broodmare or to see the best of the best in stallions. The open barns allow people to move from farm to farm and get acquainted without the formality of appointments.
"The results of the Arabhorse.com Arabian Horse Farm Tours 2009 makes clear that this kind of event is a very important component in not only marketing our horses but educating an interested public," says Scott. "I think it is so easy for us to think of our farms as easily accessible to the public because we are all always ready to talk about our horses with any one who will listen. But the truth is that very few people are comfortable dropping in and they may not even know how to ask questions of us through our websites. David and I attended every event - we saw some of the same new faces at more than one farm. Attendance averaged over 150 people at every farm. The Tour events drop the barriers completely, people see other people walking in and they feel very comfortable.
"In December the pace is slower, people who have been in the business for years have time to talk leisurely with old friends. People who have never owned Arabians can talk with owners who aren't rushing to the next class on the show grounds. Late December is an ideal time for this event - and we're all ready planning how to make next December and Arabhorse.com Arabian Horse Farm Tour 2010 even better."