The Katara Festival is an event in a time that flows differently in this part of the world. It’s not the time here, but the guests that are the most important. The rich and distinguished decor of the VIP sector and the theater of lights put the audience in a unique mood.
Maybe it is partly due to these colorful beams of light, flashing in various configurations around the ring, perfectly suited music and surrounded by fishing boats docked nearby, that the participants of the show have the impression that they are part of an important spectacle, the main actors of which are Arabian horses.
For the organizer, the priority is that the invited exhibitors, their horses, judges, guests, journalists representing the industry media, diplomats and the royal family participating in the festival, feel the satisfaction of being part of such an important event for Qatar breeders. – “We breed high-quality Arabian horses, we are proud of them and the whole world should know about it,” you hear during conversations with local breeders.
The show is watched, or rather celebrated, in comfortable and elegant armchairs, thanks to which the VIP sector looks like a multi-story box. A sophisticated menu is served during the show. The age classes for horses are spread over time so that visitors can find out during the day what the city of Doha, the capital of Qatar, has to offer. It is here that modernity and design intertwine with tradition, a great souq (Souq Waqif), craft shops and a multitude of regional products.
The main show ring is perfectly visible from everywhere. Guests can additionally watch the show displayed on individual monitors prepared on VIP tables. Only for the first show at the festival, Arabian Peninsula, 228 horses were entered. It takes three days to hold the age classes. Another day is dedicated to the championship. It is a truly Arabian celebration! After all, such an important show in Qatar takes place only once a year! The organizer’s ambition is to make it better every year. The pool of financial prizes is also growing.
Meanwhile, in the ring, during the last day of the classes, we watched the older mares. Experienced competitors whose appearance perfectly reflects the character of the Egyptian Arabian type, dry and female. Despite their age, they remain noble, as if time did not touch them, on the contrary – it worked to their advantage.
The symbolic representation of Egypt in the form of only one mare at the show turned out to be able to fight the “Egyptian” power of Qatar – with a minimal loss to the winner she reached the championship. In the championship, the full line-up of judges, unlike in the class, when several judges are rotating, may decide on a different order on the podium.
After the mares, the ring was taken over by the older stallions. Milky-white, full of charisma and type, as in Juliusz Kossak’s watercolors.
KIAHF is certainly an important show for the Arab world. It is a meeting place for many people related to the business and Arabian horse breeding. So you can hear a multilingual dialect; apart from native Arabic, English is dominant, but often you hear Italian, too. Buon giorno at almost every step. The Italians, whose breeding is not very high at all, used the advantages of their climate. In recent years, they have mastered the business in many fields. During the year, they organize several or even several dozen shows and have a dynamically developing breeders’ association. Sheikhs want to come there, train horses, shop. When we, Poles, were losing the advantage we undoubtedly had in this industry. We squandered the centuries-old tradition of Polish breeding, focusing on disputes and fights by people, for whom the fate of Arabian horses is indifferent. There was no person among the decision-makers who would direct people to what is important, hit the table with their hand and bring order. Arabs hold a responsibility for their traditions. They are also willing to use the experience and help of others, cooperating with specialists from many countries. However, the potential and strength of the Katara International Arabian Horse Festival are created in their country by their people, working together for an idea that connects people, not divides – for Arabian horses.