In January (22nd-23rd) Doha, the capital of Qatar, held the National Straight Egyptian Arabian Horse Show for individual Owners. The show, although not affiliated by ECAHO, was carried out in accordance with the rules of this Organization. The weather was not only beautiful, but more importantly favourable for people and the 129 horses that were presented on the show arena. There are almost one hundred individual owners in Qatar and more than 5 thousand Arabian horses. Of course most of them belong to the large studs, but about a thousand are in the hands of individual owners. Among this group about 300 are Straight Egyptian horses.
Katara Village welcomes Arabian horses for the first time
The new, first-time event, also had quite a new, impressive location – the Katara Village.
„Katara Cultural Village is the largest and the most multi-dimensional cultural project of Qatar”, explains Dr. Khalid Bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, the General Manager of Katara, in the foreword to the show catalogue. “Katara is where the grace of the past meets the splendour of the future”.
Ahmad Alsayed, Deputy General Manager of Katara, adds: “The idea to hold an Arabian horse show here, in Katara, came from the fact that we support anything related to Arabic culture in general. We believe that the horse is part of our culture. When the QREC (Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club) asked us to do it in Katara, we said: you are welcome to do it here.” Mr. Alsayed confirms that Katara is a symbol of Qatar opening up to the world: “Katara is number one now for any visitor, for all the activities and events. In 2015 we were visited by 14-15 million people. Katara is a complete project, that combines a lot of things. It is culture, it is entertainment, different activities, like the beach, restaurants etc.”
“We organised this event in Katara Village to support the promotion of Arabian horses in Qatar. Katara Village is an excellent place to draw new enthusiasts and show them that not only large studs can breed Arabian horses”, says Fahad Ali Al Sulaiti, Director of Show & General Coordinator (QREC). “We also wanted to give smaller breeders a chance to show their horses in a competition closed for the large studs.”
Not only the prestigious location was an incentive to compete in the show, but so were the valuable prizes: Kia Optima cars for gold medalists and high money prizes for all medalists and horses from the top fives of their classes – from 60 thousand Qatari riyals (about 15 thousand Euro) for gold medals in the senior categories to 6 thousand (about 1,5 thousand Euro) for fifth place in class. In total the prize pool amounted to 976 thousand Qatari riyals.
The most numerous were the junior filly classes (even as many as 14 participants). The smallest line-up was seen in the 4-6 year old stallions class – just 4. The top five of each class qualified for the finals, under the condition that the group was large enough to have a top five. In classes with up to 6 contestants the top two qualified for the finals. The finals were not open – only class winners could aspire for the gold. The show was judged by Fausto Scanzi and Francesco Sanchi from Italy, Dr. Pilar Cavero Pino from Spain, Dr. Manfred Neubacher from Austria, Peter Birch from Denmark, and Ahmed Hamza from Egypt. The duties of ringmaster were carried out by Ronny Vosch (Belgium), whereas Dr. Laura Mascagna (Italy) and Christine Keyser (Norway) were invited to the DC.
Junior horses and their young owners with passions and dreams
Dominating among the junior horses was the get of such stallions as Barraq El Aliya (Ashhal Al Rayyan x Assrar Al Rayyan/Al Adeed Al Shaqab), bred by Asayel El Aliya Stud of Sh. Mishal Bin Eissa Al Thani , owned by Al Waab Stud of Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khaled Al Thani; Farres (Anaza El Farid x Shameerah/MFA Mareekh Amir), imported from the U.S.; Shagran Al Nasser (Ansata Selman x Dana Al Nasser/Mujahid), bred by Al Nasser Stud; Safir Al Rayyan (Ashhal Al Rayyan x RN Farida/Salaa El Dine), bred by Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Khalid al Thani (Al Rayyan Stud); Al Adeed Al Shaqab (Ansata Halim Shah x Sundar Alisayyah/Ruminaja Ali), bred by H.H. The Father Emir Sh. Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani (Al Shaqab Stud) and Ansata Nile Echo (Ansata Hejazi x Ansata White Nile/Prince FA Moniet), bred by Mr.&Mrs. Forbis and imported from the U.S. to Qatar. The enormous influence of the Ansata Arabians breeding program, as well as famous sires such as the legendary Ashhal Al Rayyan, that passed away last year, is more than evident. We must add that, as expected from Straight Egyptians, the majority of the horses were grey – only singular animals had a different coat colour.
The breeding program of “Don & Judi”, as the breeding world refers to Mr.&Mrs. Forbis, is described by Hans Joachim Nagel in his book “The Arabian Horse. Nature’s Creation and the Art of Breeding”: „They had chosen as foundation stock the best that the Egyptian Agricultural Organization’s El Zahraa Stud could offer in type, elegance, and especially in breeding value”. A horse recognized as an „Ansata Arabian” enjoys great popularity till this day. As Dr. Nagel emphasizes, it is a „fine, noble Arabian, inspired by the best horses she and Don had seen in Egypt”.
Some participants of the yearling classes were still several months from their first birthday. At this age the several month difference is disadvantageous for the “babies”, which resemble foals more than young horses and it is difficult to predict what they will grow into. The yearling fillies class was won by Sheika Al Farres (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Siah Rey) – bred and owned by Mansoor Masoud Mohammed Al Aadbah Al Marri – a filly born in 2014, one of the oldest in this group. Yet she did not mark her presence in the finals, bested by more mature rivals. Victorious in the A series of the two year old fillies class was RB Gazalah (Fares Al Rayyan x Roda Al Waab) from Al Rabeaa Stud, before Majeda Al Rowda (Barraq El Aliya x RC Majida), bred and owned by Mohammed Abdul Rahman Ali Saeed Al Nuaimi. Out of these two it was Mejeda Al Rowda that took to the podium as a bronze medalist. The best filly in the B series of the 2 year olds turned out to be the US-bred chestnut charming Fairoz Al Safwa (Shaheen Al Waab x Corwhin Amal), bearing an interesting coat colour, owned by Al Safwa Stud.
he gold went to the outstandingly feminine, with a dark eye and dark skin, three year old Deema Al Nasser (Fares Al Rayyan x Dalal Al Nasser), bred by Sheikh Nawaf Bin Nasser Al Thani, owned by Mesfer Mohammed Mesfer Al Hajri, who won the A series of the three year old fillies class with a score of 91,88. Her rival from the other 3 year old series, RB Ghaliah (a full sister of the afore mentioned RB Gazalah), bested competitors with an identical score and in the finals claimed the silver.
The owner of these outstanding fillies from Al Rabeaa Stud, Mohammed Ali Mohammed Al Kuwari, has been breeding Straight Egyptian horses for six years. Before he became interested in Arabians, he kept saddle horses. “Long ago my family bred horses”, he says. “But currently I am also doing this myself, it is my passion. For now I am showing them only in Qatar, but I am thinking of shows in the UAE and Kuwait. And in the future also in Europe, inshallah. Perhaps even at the World Championships. What’s most important is to have big dreams and boldly realize them.” To the show at Katara Village Mohammed Al Kuwari also brought a colt and the dam of both of the above fillies, daughter of Ansata Nile Pasha and Naama, bred by Shaikh Abdulla Bin Khalid Al Thani.
It wasn’t long before Roda Al Waab, a very feminine mare, beautifully fleabitten, brought her owner another success, winning the 7-10 year old mares class with a score of 91,25 and claiming a Senior Top Five Mare title in the finals. So far the young breeder is fully making use of the potential of his valuable mare, who is proving herself both as a broodmare in the breeding barn and on the show arena.
His cousin Rashid Saleh Shaheen Al Kuwari (Al Shaheen Stud), also present with his horses at the show, scored some successes as well. As he says, he became interested in horses as a child. From riding he moved on to breeding. From the show in Lanaken (Belgium) he brought home a bronze medal. Here in Katara one of Rashid’s charges placed second in class in the yearling fillies class (Nesma Al Shaheen by Shagran Al Nasser) and another (Zaafrana Al Waab by Farres) took a similar position in the A series of the three year old fillies, after which she reached for the title of Junior Top Ten Mare.
The owner of the good looking gold medalist Deema Al Nasser, Mesfer Mohammed Mesfer Al Hajri, began breeding together with his brother Nasser Mohammed Al Hajri six years ago. Their friends also got bitten by the Arabian passion and often participated in shows. These young breeders decided to first of all gather a group of mares of the highest quality. Among others they searched in Poland – for example they visited Białka Stud, the host of the famous show for junior horses. Today they are developing both their SE breeding program, as well as the international one. In their barn they have the stallion Gazwan Al Nasser and mares imported from Europe, for example the Austrian-bred daughter of WH Justice, winner from Wels in 2014 – DA Magic Moment, daughter of Al Milan from Sax Arabians and two daughters of Ararat, who came to Qatar from Poland. One of them has produced a filly by Fadi Al Shaqab, of which the breeders are very proud.
We saw much less colts than fillies and each age category had only one series. The yearling class was won by the very young, not even a year old (born in March of 2015) Julaibeeb Al Fahed (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Pandoraa), bred and owned by Fahad Mohammed Rashid Jumaa Al Mannai. In the finals, despite such a young age, he was able to claim the title of Junior Top Five Stallion. Triumphant in the 2 year old colts class was Nebras Al Waab (Authentic Ibn Nawal x NK Nada), with a distinct, extremely dished profile, bred by Sheikh Abdulla Bin Khalid Al Thani, owned by Al Marroona Stud, before the nicely moving (one “20” for this trait) colt Haboob (Farres x Ajmal Farasha), bred by Abdulla Bin Khalid Al Thani and owned by Mohammad Abdulrahman Al Nuaimi. Nebras Al Waab later took to the podium as a silver medalist. The gold was awarded to the winner of the three year olds class, Shaklan Bu Thaila (Shagran Al Nasser x N.S. Nazeera), a horse with the most desired traits in an Egyptian stallion, with a silky coat on black skin, bred and owned by Abdulhadi Manaa Al Hajri. His sweeping trot contributed greatly to his win. The second “20” of the show was seen during his class performance.
Senior horses – charm and femininity of the mares win hearts
Everyone knows that Arabian horses – especially Straight Egyptian – mature at a later age. But when they do, they literally blow viewers away with their type, beauty, and in the case of mares – femininity. We saw plenty of such mares in the senior classes. The A series of the 4-6 year olds was won by the milky-white, bearing a beautiful head Al Hanouf Bu Thaila (Ansata Shalim x Anouf Al Naif), bred and owned by Abdul Hadi Manaa Al Hajri, who in the finals took the silver.
She was bested by the winner of the B series of the same age category, Hoyam Al Waab (Barraq El Aliya x Nabawiah), belonging beyond doubt to the show’s elite, a mare with beautiful nostrils and dark eye, bred by Sheikh Abdulla Bin Khalid Al Thani, owned by Nasser Abdulla Nasser Al Mansouri. Closing off the podium with the bronze was the German-bred, fleabitten grey Authentic Monisa (Nabeel II x Monisa Halima), a champion from Ströhen (2001) among others, today owned by Jassim Kayed Mohammed Al Muhannadi. She won the oldest mares class. Victorious in the 7-10 year old mares class was the afore mentioned Roda Al Waab.
Ghanim Al Shaqab (Ansata Shalim x Waad Al Shaqab), owned by Nasser Abdul Qader Hassan Albulushi, bested rivals in the 4-6 year old stallions class (and later secured the bronze), whereas the combined class of 7-10 year old stallions and above was won by the bay, US-imported DWA Shaihin (Simeon Shai x Imbrosia), owned by Al Marroon Stud. And it was him that triumphed in the finals, before the very impressive, large-framed stallion Daghsh Al Shaqab (Sinan Al Rayan x Dima Al Shaqab, 2nd place in the oldest stallions class), owned by Mesaieed Stud. The owner of the victorious stallion Osama Omar Al Dafaa brought as many as 12 horses to the Katara show. Among them a huge success was scored by the afore mentioned, two year old Nebras Al Waab, the Junior Silver Champion Stallion.
DWA Shaihin, who was Reserve Champion already in the US during the 2015 Egyptian Event in Kentucky, is a correctly built horse, with a long neck and large, dark eye. His owner has no doubts that the horse has a huge chance for a beautiful career in the Middle East. Osama Omar Al Dafaa began his breeding adventure with Russian horses bearing racing pedigrees, continuing the family tradition. But because the beauty of the horse was also important to him, he began attending shows. Two years ago he became even more involved in the show world. In a short time, within just a year, he claimed three championships in Qatar. Today in his barn he has Straight Egyptian horses and those with Polish pedigrees. He especially values the latter for their impressive movement.
All signs indicate that thanks to an efficient organisation by the intensively developing QREC, with Mr. Nasser Sharidha Al Kaabi as the General Manager, and passion of many Qatari breeders the show has a huge chance to become a permanent feature in the Doha event calendar. „We do thank owners of pure bred Arabians and studs, farms and stables of individual owners for their care of and attention to this breed of pure Arabians”, wrote Mr. Mohammed Bin Faleh Al Thani, Chairman of Show Higher Organising Commitee, in the catalogue. “All such efforts and developments are backed by the limitless support received from H.H. the Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, the patron of sports, in general, and the equestrian sport, in particular”.