The Scottsdale Arabian Horse show

The Scottsdale Arabian Horse show is loaded with magnificent steeds whose riders are often colorfully dressed. 

The Arabian Horse Show offers a chance for homework for Scottsdale Community College’s Equine Science students.

They learn equestrian showing, equine-related business and event management as a result of a partnership between the college and the Arabian Horse Association of Arizona.

“The SCC students have been vital to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show through many intern and volunteer positions throughout the years,” said AHAA Executive Director Taryl O’Shea, calling them “perfect ambassadors for the show” who are put into key roles at the event.

The students “gain immersive educational training” by volunteering to help out at the show, O’Shea explained.

SCC has the only comprehensive equine science degree program in Arizona.

Students in the program are required to volunteer at least 10 hours at the international show. 

Each year one student in the college’s special events internship course also does an internship with the association as an event coordinator.

 “The SCC students learn all aspects of being involved in a large event, everything from helping schedule and managing over 400 volunteers, to running the show arena gates, which keeps the show running smoothly,” O’Shea explained. 

“We have had many of them work in our office leading up to the show helping to do administrative tasks, to public relations duties.”  

Nearly 50 SCC students will volunteer at the show this year. 

Equine program graduate Shannon Leckie interned at the event last year and will work as a paid employee at this year’s show. 

“I helped with volunteer coordination and I assisted the executive director of the show,” Leckie said.

“I worked a lot in the office last year but this year I’ll only be at the show. I hope to work my way up in the company. It was an amazing experience, every day I would get there around 6 a.m. to set up the whole volunteer area and make sure they had everything they needed for their shift. I worked in retail and different parts of the show too,” said Leckie.

Another component of the student experience involves managing the program’s information booth for five hours sharing information about the profession, horses and the equine program with thousands of visitors.

 SCC Director of Equine Sciences Jay Clements said, “One student has been selected to manage the booth each year and will train another student to take over the role the next year.

“It’s such an amazing opportunity for them all to talk to the public and share their knowledge. Even students not in the internship class volunteer because everyone wants to be a part of it.”

SCC also offers certification in meeting and event management, so students in other disciplines also get some experience working the show.

“I absolutely loved the program, what I loved most were the professors,” Leckie said. “They helped me not only get through school but with getting through personal things that were hard for me at the time. Jay was always there supporting me and helping me, everyone is very supportive. I got a lot of experience I don’t think you would get other places.”

The AHAA also provides $5,000 in scholarships to SCC students in equine science. 

“It’s such an amazing educational opportunity for the students and partnering with the Arabian Horse Show helps the industry and helps the community as well,” said Clements.

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