1. Farm Name & Location:
Culbreth Equine Training & Management, LLC. Located in the Rio Verde Valley of North Scottsdale, Arizona. Owned by Chris & Michele Culbreth 14530 East Wildcat Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85262
2. What year did you begin in the Arabian Horse Industry?
I saw my first Arabian Horses around 1968. So, I guess it was then that I knew I would be involved with these wonderful animals for the rest of my life.
3. What discipline is your favorite and why?
I love every aspect of horses and horsemanship. I can appreciate all of the disciplines. My first National Top Ten was in Half Arabian Park, back in the early 1980's. My second Top Ten was in Pleasure Driving and my third was in Western Pleasure. When I first began to learn to judge, I was asked to officiate at many open shows which had over fence classes. So, I learned to ride Hunters and Jumpers. As Reining became more popular, I learned to ride Reiners. As long as horses are involved, I am interested in it.
4. How did you begin in the Arabian horse industry?
Beginning in 1968, my father and I would go to the weekly Sunday Arabian Horse demonstration held at the Kellogg Arabian Horse Center on the campus of Cal Poly Pomona in Pomona, California. I grew up about 45 minutes from there and it was something that my father and I could enjoy together. He had always had a love for horses since he was a young boy growing up in Illinois. He wanted to share that with me. Around that time, my parents purchased an old gelding which we kept in our back yard. I learned to ride him and spent 90% of my spare time with him. In 1970, I started working at a stable near our home in Upland, California. The owner, Joe Benes, had worked at the Kellogg Ranch during World War II. He actually rode Witez II there. During the war, the Kellogg ranch was used as a remount for the war effort. So, my early childhood was surrounded with the Arabian horse.
5. What is the most memorable prize you have ever won with Arabian Horses?
I have had so many wonderful moments during my time with Arabian Horses. However, highlights would include the 2004 Canadian Nationals where I won the Purebred Western Open Unanimously on NW Beaudacious+/, the Half Arabian Western Open Unanimously on Phenom+// , the Purebred Park on HF Mister Chips+ and my wife, Michele, was Reserve Champion AAOTR Western on Galvanizer+/ all in a 36 hour period.
Other highlights would include:
1992 National Champion Show Hack with Georgia Pacific+
1994 National Reserve Champion Open Western with NW Awesome+/
2000 Scottsdale Champion Western Pleasure with Eternaly Barbarys+/
2002 Scottsdale Unanimous Champion English Pleasure Jr. Horse with HF Mister Chips+/
2012 Scottsdale, watching my Youth riders win all 3 age divisions of the Hunt Seat Equitation Championship
6. What is the most important quality you look for in a show horse?
Above all else, a successful show horse needs a great mind. Without the mental capacity to not only learn easily, it is imperative to have a horse that is willing and enjoys doing its job. We are fortunate to have an event within our breed to suit almost every horse. Finding which discipline they are going to be the best at is part of the challenge and the fun. I have experience in almost all aspects of the breed, so, I really enjoy this process.
7. Who do you think is the most inspirational person in the horse industry?
Over the years I have developed respect and friendships with countless outstanding horsemen and horsewomen. So many people have contributed to the success of our breed.
I would say that good honest horsemen and horsewomen inspire me the most. I do not define Horsemanship as someone who wins ribbons. I define a horseman as a person whose actions and talents enable horses to succeed and perform to their greatest ability while still working toward the long term betterment of the breed. This person also operates with honesty, integrity and passes on what they know to the next generation of potential horsemen.
8. What is your favorite all time horse show and why?
Without a doubt, it would be the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.
This is one of the largest horse shows in the world and the largest for the Arabian horse. Not only does this show highlight the best horses our breed has to offer, it serves as one of the best promotional opportunities for our breed. February in Scottsdale, Arizona is the perfect time of year. The weather is incredible and the population swells with "snowbirds," fleeing the winter chill of northern states. This "perfect storm," of world class competition, people seeking entertainment and visitors from all over the world leads to the greatest show on earth.
9. If you weren't in the horse industry, what other career would you pursue?
Anyone that knows me would tell you that I have an interest in just about everything. So, I could go off in just about any direction and find a way to enjoy it. From an early age, I knew I would make a career with horses. During my time in college, I really enjoyed Anthropology, Anatomy & Physiology, History, Geology and even Advertising Design. I finally earned my degree in the Humanities. However, if I had to completely go down a whole new career path, I would probably pursue a law degree. I find the History of our Constitution and the Revolution that led to it fascinating. I think a career in Constitutional Law would be both challenging and rewarding. Given my knowledge of our constitution, I could very easily find myself working toward defending it.
10. Finish this sentence: If I'm not with the horses you can find me...
In 2011, my wife Michele and I finally realized our dream of moving into our own ranch. This is a property that we purchased and consequently developed ourselves. I find no greater joy then working on our facility. Whether it is planting trees, welding together a hot walker or pulling weeds, I love it all, because it is ours.
11. Finish this sentence: Most people don't know I...
Can give a riding lesson in Mandarin Chinese!
In closing this questionnaire, I would like to add that I am a true fan of the Arabian horse. Arabians began their popularity in the US in the late 19th Century. Even though there were some importations of Arabians into the US prior to this, it was the importation of a large group of Arabians for the 1893 World's Fair held in Chicago, that galvanized their future in our country. Since then, they have grown in numbers and regard. Early breed pioneers such as WK Kellogg helped to introduce the Arabian horse to Americans and worked hard on their national prosperity. Over the past century, it has been the responsibility of breeders, trainers and enthusiasts to guarantee the future success of our breed.
This mantle of responsibility has been passed on to all of us with a passion for the Arabian horse. Given the current National economy, all of the horse sports have experienced a decline across the spectrum of all breeds. I feel that it is more important than ever that we rededicate ourselves to preservation of our breed's future.