Arabian horse and saluki dogs are expected to be the show-stealers at this week’s Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition in the United Arab Emirates.
To many in recent years, the Arabian horse has been considered an art piece, an animal of nobility, whose pure breeding had been carefully guarded by the tribes’ sheikhs over generations. But this year at ADIHEX two educational workshops looking at the history, nobility and skills of the Arabian horse are being organised for students by the Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival. It is the first time such a showcase has been held at ADIHEX, though the 2012 event was the biggest to date for equestrian activities.
The exhibition was founded by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 2003.
He once said: “My young horses are brought up in the freedom of the desert, where they roam at will and adapt to their natural surroundings. Camel’s milk and dates are an essential part of their daily rations, as they were for the horses of my youth. Like those horses, many young ones must grow to be brave, tough and strong. As one of our leading poets wrote: ‘Good horses are few, like good friends/Though they appear many to the inexperienced eye’.”
The first show focused on falconry, and was known at the Arab Hunting Show. From falcons and outdoor products, the exhibition grew to add equestrian and marine sections, as well as growing environmental awareness.
Just like camels, falcons and salukis, the Arabian horse has a special place in the Bedouin heritage and its celebration grew in popularity at the exhibition, and as well as the workshops and shows, horses from the Dhabian Equestrian Club will be in the spotlight, with riding and grooming sessions for the public, and show jumping and “horse whispering” training demonstrations.
For Tina Al Qubaisi, who founded the Dhabian Equestrian Club in 2007, horses are not a business, they are a passion.
“I founded Dhabian Equestrian Club in 2007. My adventure in horse rescuing had started two years before, in 2005, in the garden of my villa in Khalifa City. From this rescue a life commitment emerged and one rescue led to another, and before I knew it, I had 12 horses in the garden,” she says.
Nowadays, she has more than 40 horses and quite a few of them are at ADIHEX, participating in various shows and demonstrations.
In the evenings, the arena belongs to the Emirates Arabian Horse Society for the daily Horse Judging Education Session. This is the practical side of educational workshops for students on the history, skills and handling of the Arabian horse. Held for the very first time at ADIHEX, the workshops have theoretical classes in the mornings and practical demonstrations, in the evenings.
Abu Dhabi Police’s K9 unit is also back this year with dog shows taking place daily at the arena, until October 6. From German Shepherds to Terriers, the canine police have been trained for a spectacular skills performance.
The Arabian Salukis are also back for their annual beauty competition, taking place in the last two days.
But the last trot on the arena belongs to the Arabian horse, which will close the shows on October 8 with an auction, run by the Emirates Arabian Horse Society. To encourage bidders, each of the two highest bidders will receive a horse as a gift.