Where are you at? I have been to Arizona, seen it there. But I am from WI and have been going to the WI and MN shows... whips and shanking is rampant. Ever hear of the Boggs?
I am have mainly been to the Region 10 shows, as well as MN Arabian Show, and Sahara Sands, all in MN. As well as a few in southern WI.
You see it at the Nationals too.
I understand where you are coming from but, using this as an example of the AHA National Championship halter class; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qqqJFThG_E
the shank is necessary as the arenas become very noisy and the horses are often not gelded. It is often used a bit less with the mares, but for all halter arabs, the arena is a place to go quick and show off their movement. The shank allows the handler to pull the horse back if it gets out of control, and generally does not aid in the actual showing of the horse.
I have never heard of the eyelash thing. Thick eyelashes are an important characteristic of the arab, to keep sand out of their eyes, so you would think it would be a desired feature. I know arabs get their bridle paths clipped further back, and their muzzles get clipped as well. I do believe I have seen some big show horses without their whiskers, though I do not imagine it is painful to achieve. I could be wrong but, regardless, many horses I have seen in those shows have had their whiskers. I myself have done a couple halter classes with my old horse who was an arab, and we did the usual; nose clip, bridle path clip, hoof polish and occasionally a dab of grease on the nose. The extremely greased up horses is definitely an acquired taste, but as far as I know it does not harm the animal.
Personally, as someone who has been around show arabians for a large part of their life and not exposed to other breeds very much until I turned ten (I used to think all horses were supposed to look like arabians), I like the "extreme" features of todays show arabians. Again, DEFINITELY an acquired taste. Arabians in general look virtually the same today as they did originally, since purity and careful, strict breeding has been so important to the culture. Each and every feature has a purpose. For example, large nostrils enable ease of breathing when running, as does the jibbah. They have short, strong backs which actually have less vertebrae than other breeds, eyelashes to shield from sand, black skin to prevent sunburn (I have a theory that the grease is to exaggerate that black skin), large jaw space, also to aid in easy breathing while running. Conformation has always been of extreme importance in their breeding.
"The Bedouins of the Arabian desert were dependent for survival on their Arabian horses. While they valued the beauty of their horses, they were equally adamant that their horses were strong, with deep chests, straight legs, large joints and good lungs to carry them across large stretches of their desert homeland."
The arabians were also used to guard tents and alert of attackers. They were often allowed into the tents, which is why arabians have grown so close to people.
Anyways, sorry about the long post.