The several day long gala of the Arabian horse, which takes place each year in Qatar in the winter, this time included the international ECAHO A-ranked show (held for the 25th time), an international Straight Egyptian show, open days at Al Shaqab, Al Rayyan and Al Waab studs, as well as an auction of more than a hundred horses which we already wrote about in the news section. Last year the event also encompassed races, including the prestigious Emir’s Sword race; in 2016 the series of races was organized in February, much earlier than the shows.
The period of 9th to 15th of March saw a numerous international community arriving in Qatar’s capital, Doha. The host of the majority of the events, starting from the auction and ending with the Straight Egyptian show, was Al Shaqab stud (a member of the Qatar Foundation) located on the premises of Ar-Rayyan, a city adjacent to Doha, in a place where in 1893 the Qataris, led by Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al-Thani (ca. 1825-1913), fought a historic battle against the armies of the Ottoman Empire, which opened the doors for Qatar to become independent from its powerful neighbours.
The oldest among Al Shaqab stables, called the “Ottoman Stable”, was built in 1852 on the grounds of the former horse stud (existing since 1897) and is treated today as a historical monument. It is seldom used, usually when additional stalls are needed or as a place for old horse to “retire”. It is here that a hundred years ago the afore mentioned battle took place, which determined the later lots of Qatar. The location of Al Shaqab stud is therefore not a coincidence and has an extremely significant meaning.
On March 5th ended the international equine CHI Al Shaqab 2016 competition, under the patronage of HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Thani and already on March 11th Arabian horses took over the arena. So the huge, resembling an alien spaceship arena – with two rings, one indoor and one out in the fresh air – first welcomed competitors from all over the world, which took part in numerous show jumping and dressage contests, to later make room for Arabian show horses.
No doubt the advantage of organizing the shows indoors was the comfort of being independent from the weather. This time of year in Qatar one can expect both extreme downpours (due to the rain the auction was transferred inside at the last moment) and a scorching heat. The air conditioned arena guarantees that no unforeseen difficulties would interfere with the championships.
The Wednesday auction, despite an unexpected change of place, ended in success. Contrary to the Janów sale, during which a horse that doesn’t achieve its reserve price is simply not sold, here it is sold to the buyer that offered the highest bid, even if the opening amount turned out to be the final price. This way all horses found new buyers and that was probably the main idea. The owners of the offered horses – Al Shaqab and Al Rayyan studs – decided to make room in their stables and achieved their goal. Despite a many hour long bidding the public did not show signs of fatigue, waiting for the appearance of the largest auction magnet. This magnet was the grey 9 year old WH Justice daughter – lot 100 Wind Kamelia (out of Wind Ferrianah/Zadig El Maklouf), which achieved a price of half a million Qatari Riyals.
Horses with Polish pillars also fared rather well: the full sister to Pinga, Pilara Al Shaqab (Gazal Al Shaqab – Pilar/Fawor), was sold for 260 thousand riyals and the granddaughter of Worskla, Rihab Al Shaqab (Fadi Al Shaqab – Warqa Al Shaqab/Gazal Al Shaqab) for 110 thousand riyals. The bred in Poland by Leszek Jarmuż Emfora (Psytadel – Empira/Wachlarz) achieved 230 thousand riyals. Meanwhile the bay two year old Monerah Al Shaqab (Wadee Al Shaqab – Aleysha Al Naser/Gazal Al Shaqab) will join the herd of StanRed Arabians at Stanisław Redestowicz, who was perhaps the only buyer from outside the Middle East actively and efficiently participating in the bidding of several Al Shaqab horses.
Al Shaqab – an open day
A day later, on Thursday, Al Shaqab stud invited guests for an open day. The “Breeding and Show Department”, the place which draws Arabian horse enthusiasts the most, makes a huge impression. The cleanness and tidiness of the surroundings, charming alleys, greenery, water, architecturally interesting buildings – all this makes visitors wish that time stood still and they could indulge in moments of peace in a landscape which is home to such stars as White Silkk (Dakar El Jamal – KH Fisrt Prize/Echo Magnifficoo), Abha Myra (Marwan Al Shaqab – ZT Ludjkalba/Ludjin El Jamaal) and Venetzia (Versace – Giavanna/NV Beau Bey).
But time went on as it usually does. After a free walk through the stables, during which we could admire many champions in their stalls – including Pilar (Fawor – Pipi/Banat), who despite her age does not lack the charm of an Arabian broodmatron and OFW Mishaahl (Mishaah – OFW Balarina/RSD Dark Victory), who wrote herself down in history as the dam of Kahil and Wadee – the stud presented its current crop: selected foals from the Straight Egyptian program, including the produce of the 25 year old Kamasayyah (Imperial Al Kamar – Sundar Alisayyah/Ruminaja Ali), a highly accomplished broodmare and once Middle Eastern show champion. Both foals come from embryotransfer. Next we saw the get of Hariry Al Shaqab, Kahil Al Shaqab, Wadee Al Shaqab, Hadidy Al Shaqab, Al Adeed Al Shaqab, Gazal Al Shaqab and Marwan Al Shaqab. The stud has a full sister to Kahil and Wadee Al Shaqab by the last stallion.
We can be sure that we will definitely hear about some of the representatives of the youngest generation from Al Shaqab more than once. Their carriage, elegance and movement allow to have hope for their future show successes in the junior categories. And that, as we know, opens the doors to a successful breeding career. An impressive decorative accent was an exhibition of numerous selected trophies claimed by Al Shaqab horses on international arenas, set up to welcome and bid farewell to the stud’s visitors.
Kahil’s descendants represent Polish breeding in the international show
In the international show, organized as always by Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (QREC), this year for the 25th time, and with Fahad Al Sulaiti as Show Director and General Coordinator of Horse Show Festivals, the halter classes saw a total of 325 entries. Of course that number was not actually shown, but still each class had a dozen contestants, with the show lasting three days, from early Friday afternoon to Sunday evening, with a break for the Sunday open days – breakfast at Al Rayyan and lunch at Al Waab. Such numerous entries are not only the result of the prestige enjoyed by the Doha show. The exhibitors are also attracted by high prizes: from 40 thousand Qatari riyals to 10 thousand for places in the top five of each class; 80 thousand, 50 thousand and 30 thousand for medals in the yearling championships; 100 thousand, 70 thousand and 50 thousand for medal in the junior category; and 200 thousand, 100 thousand and 70 thousand for medals in the senior horse category.
Medals were awarded in the finals by means of a point method – 4 points gave a gold medal, 2 points gave the silver and 1 gave the bronze. The show was judged by Anna Stojanowska and Marek Trela from Poland, Jaroslav Lacina (Czech Republic), Brian Ferguson (U.S.), Claudia Darius (Germany), Christian Moschini (Italy), Helen van Nes (Belgium), Irina Stigler (Russia) and Yves Richardier (France). During the class competition the highest and lowest scores were dropped before counting the final average.
So we had as many as 3 series of yearling and two year old fillies and two series of 3 year old fillies; two series of the yearling colts, one of 2 year old colts and two of 3 year old colts. The senior horses were divided into categories of: 4-6 year old mares, 7-10 year old mares and 11 year old and above mares; the A and B series of 4-6 year old stallions, 7-10 year old stallions and the 11 year old and above stallions. With such a number of horses the quality had to be diverse. The entered horses came from large studs, such as Al Shaqab and Al Waab, private breeders, as well as studs from Saudi Arabia and other countries of that region, such as Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE. The results and scores of individual horses can be found on the ArabianHorseResults website.
For Polish enthusiasts an interesting tidbit was the participation of several horses of Polish breeding residing in the Middle East, including the 2 year old fillies Empuza (Kahil Al Shaqab – Eulerta/Ganges) and Elluara (Kahil Al Shaqab – Ellua/Al Maraam), owned by Al Shaqab Stud and Michałów’s 3 year old Morion (Kahil Al Shaqab – Mesalina/Ekstern), on lease to Qatar. Morion did excellent, winning his class with a score of 92,88 pts (incl. 3×20 for type) and later securing the gold. Similarly Empuza. In class she received 92,13 pts and in the finals, rather unexpectedly because the competition was strong, the gold. Elluara placed fifth in class with a score of 91,25. Another contestant from Poland was the 3 year old Eshila (Kahil Al Shaqab – Estaka/Gazal Al Shaqab), bred by Falborek Arabians and owned by Al Rajhia Stud (Saudi Arabia). She placed at a good, third spot in her class with 91,25. So in the junior classes Polish breeding was represented only by the get of Kahil Al Shaqab.
In the senior classes we saw the Michałów-born Wkra, a daughter of another Qatari stallion, the star of Al Shaqab, Gazal Al Shaqab. The 12 year old Wkra (out of Wyborna/Monogramm), owned by Al Muawd Stud (Saudi Arabia), placed second in her class with a score of 92,25 (incl. a 20 for movement). She was bested by Panarea by Palawan (WH Justice – Palawan/Padrons Ghibli), owned by Ajman Stud, a grey flea-bitten mare with an extremely long neck, once World Junior Champion Mare, which we could also see in Poland during the first edition of the Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival. Five “20s” (two for type and three for head and neck) gave her victory in class (92,63). In the finals she placed second on the podium with a silver medal, behind another show star, Salwa Al Zobair (Marajj – Esklawa/Eukaliptus), bred by Al Zobair Stud and owned by Sheikha Nour Khalid Abdulla M.A. Al Thani. Salwa, in the hands of Paolo Capecci, displayed excellent form, rousing general admiration.
A bronze medal went to a mare so far unknown on a wider scale, which is rare during prestigious shows in the senior category. The 8 year old Anoud Al Nasser (Asshal Al Rayyan – Aleysha Al Nasser/Gazal Al Shaqab), bred and owned by Al Nasser Stud (Qatar), surprised the judges and public, besting Salwa Al Zobair herself in the 7-10 year old mares class! Her final score was 93,63, including 5×20 for type and another 5×20 for head and neck. In her commentary Denise Hearst (“Arabian Horse World”) cited the mare’s owner, Sheikh Nawaf Bin Nasser Al Thani, who said: “She is many generations of my breeding. I bought her great, great-grandam from Michael Byatt many years ago. She has been shown very little, only locally. But lately, she changed. She was ready. And this is the thing about the Arabian horse… They can take time to blossom”.
The senior stallion classes had several stars which roused the excitement of the public, among them Hadidy Al Shaqab (Gazal Al Shaqab – White Silkk/Dakhar El Jamal) – during his performance a numerous group waved Qatari flags; Hariry Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab – White Silkk/Dakar El Jamal), who entered the arena to the sounds of „Tu es formidable” of Stromae; Abha Qatar (Marwan Al Shaqab – ZT Ludjkalba/Ludjin El Jamaal), bred by Ses Planes (Spain) and owned by Al Mohamadia Stud (Saudi Arabia); and Eden C (Enzo – Silken Sable/Genesis C), bred by Coleal Arabian Horse Farm (U.S.) and owned by Al Sayed Stud (Saudi Arabia).
This clash of the titans was won by Hariry Al Shaqab before Abha Qatar and Eden C. The triumph of an Al Shaqab representative caused an euphoria of joy. Hariry is a sire that the breeders of Al Shaqab are placing their bets on – that’s why his success brought them happiness and satisfaction.
Inspections at Al Rayyan and Al Waab
On Sunday, before the international show’s final, the guests were invited to two important studs on the Qatari map. Mares from these stables bring fame to their breeders wherever they appear. Al Rayyan Stud, currently owned by H.H. The Father Emir Sh. Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, is supervised since last year by Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Al Thani (ref.: “The moment I opened my eyes for the first time, I saw horses”) and it was him that was the host of the lavish breakfast at Al Rayyan and a true star during the Straight Egyptian show. The charges of Al Rayyan were decorated in numerous ceremonies and the stud’s director did not hide his emotions. Their joint successes include, among others, the victory of Samiriya Al Rayyan (Fares Al Rayyan – Rayyana Al Aliya/Ashhal Al Rayyan) in the B series of the yearling fillies class; Sulima Al Rayyan (Ashhal Al Rayyan – Selma Al Rayyan/Al Adeed Al Shaqab) in the B series of the 4-6 year old mares class; Darine Al Rayyan (Ashhal Al Rayyan – Aisha/Ansata Halim Shah) in the 11 years old and above mares class with a score of 92,88, including 3×20 for type and 4×20 for head and neck!; Safir Al Rayyan (Ashhal Al Rayyan – RN Farida/Salaa El Dine) in the 11 year old and above stallions class; and finally the senior mare gold for Rayyana Al Aliya (Ashhal Al Rayyan – Asrar Al Rayyan/Al Adeed Al Shaqab), the memorable gold champion from the 2015 Egyptian Event in Lexington (US) and the silver for Darine Al Rayyan, the silver medalist from that show and the 2015 National Qatari Champion Mare; as well as the senior silver champion stallion for Safir Al Rayyan.
Meanwhile frequent habitués of Qatari shows that arrived at the breakfast immediately noticed the changes that had taken place on the stud’s premises. New paddocks had been built and a new arena with stands. The surroundings gained on beauty and the presented foals clearly brought pride to the breeder. On the sunlight arena, among white walls, the grey mares resembled ethereal creatures and the joyful and excited crowd that gathered for the presentation best attested to the interest that accompanies the activities of this stud. Without much exaggeration it can be said that the entire horse breeding community cheers on Al Rayyan and its new director.
As the presentation’s announcer, Bart Van Guggenhout, emphasized, Al Rayyan can boast one of the most outstanding breeding programs for Straight Egyptian horses in the world. Therefore we were able to see representatives of Egyptian lines (together with their produce), in excellent condition, whose characteristic traits are a beautiful, large eye, femininity and charm. It is difficult to name all the beautiful mares that were shown. Especially drawing attention were Nashua Al Rayyan (Ansata Sokar – NK Nahla/NK Hafid Jamil) and the grey NK Hadiyah (Ashhal Al Rayyan – Helala/Salaa El Dine), a copy of her late sire, who clearly inherited his show talents. Shown at the end was the stallion Safir Al Rayyan, the later silver medalist of the Straight Egyptian show.
Such a presentation as the one at Al Rayyan makes us aware that breeding is an import matter. The Sunday morning meeting was a celebration and crowning of an entire year of effort from breeders and proof that beauty and charm can bloom everywhere where there are people loving horses and a true passion.
Directly from Al Rayyan the guests went to Al Waab stud, located an hour’s drive from Doha. It is an oasis in the desert, with a wonderful collection of cactuses and grazing gazelles and oryx on perfectly nurtured lawns. The owner of this extremely beautiful stud, where each detail, be it architecture or vegetation, is honed to perfection, Sheikh Abdulla Khalid Al-Thani, is a great enthusiast of daughters of Ansata Hejazi, but we had the opportunity to admire also other representatives of the Al Waab breeding program, which enjoyed great successes a day later during the Straight Egyptian show.
Al Waab took, among others, the victory with Ghazalah Al Waab (Barraq El Aliya – Nabeela Saqr/Tallahsman) in the A series of the yearling fillies class; with Deenara Al Waab (Ansata Nile Echo – RN Dananeer/Ansata Halim Shah) in the A series of the 3 year old fillies; with Hilal Al Waab (Sinan Al Rayyan – Sharuby HP/Maydan/Madheen) in the yearling colts; and later the gold in the junior mares with Deenara and the gold in the junior stallions with Hilal.
The presentation at Al Waab ended with the born in 2008 at the stud of Sheikh Mishal bin Eissa Al Thani (Asayel El Aliya Stud) Barraq El Aliya (Ashhal Al Rayyan – Asrar Al Rayyan/Al Adeed Al Shaqab), an impressive and masculine sire of many Al Waab representatives of the young generations, including the above mentioned Ghazala Al Waab, and full brother to the champion mare Rayyana Al Aliya.
Straight Egyptian show
The catalogue for the Monday-Tuesday Straight Egyptian show (6th Qatar International Arabian Peninsula Horse Show), also organized by QREC, with Nasser Sharidha Al Kaabi as the main manager, listed 220 horses. Though many of them did not appear on the arena, it was still an extensive inspection of horses with Egyptian pedigrees, judged by Renata Schibler (Switzerland), Marianne Tengstedt (Denmark), Talal Al Mehri (Kuwait), Fausto Scanzi and Pierluigi Rota (Italy), Manfred Hain (Germany) and Ann Norden (Sweden). There was no separate championship for yearlings and the prizes were lower than in the international championship: from 30 to 7 thousand Qatari Riyals for a top five in class; 90 thousand for the gold, 70 thousand for the silver and 50 thousand for the bronze in the junior category; and 150 thousand, 90 and 60 thousand for places on the podium in the senior category.
The competition tone was set, as I mentioned, by Al Rayyan (supported by Michael Byatt with his handler talent), Al Waab and of course Al Shaqab and Al Nasser Stud; the greater was the joy of the participants when they were able to best the rivals, such as representatives of Bahrain, when the stallion Najd Alshakhoura (Naif Al Rayyan – Falha Al Rayyan/Alidaar), bred and owned by Mohammed Waheed, won in the 4-6 year olds class.
The show ended with the triumph of Farhoud Al Shaqab, treated at his home stud as the heir of his famous sire Al Adeed Al Shaqab. His dam, Johara Al Shaqab (Imperial Mahzeer – Sahaba/Adeeb), a mare of exotic type, turned out to be absolutely key to the Straight Egyptian program at Al Shaqab. The born in 2008 Farhoud is her first produce. As a two year old he became Junior Champion Stallion at the 2010 Egyptian Event and his get is winning at numerous Straight Egyptian shows all over the world. This time he himself won the 7-10 year old class with a score of 92,25 (incl. 2×20 for type and a 20 for head and neck), after which he was decorated with the senior stallion gold medal.
The public’s interest in the event was slightly lower than during the earlier show days, but the event took place in the middle of the week and was less numerous in entries. Full results can be found on the ArabianHorseResults website.
The event in Doha, the most important for Arabian horses in Qatar, is definitely doing very well. A large group of people has been cheering it on for several years now, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the influence of Qatari-bred horses on world breeding is huge. It turns out that horses that give birth on this small patch of land can be an inspiration for others and give some food for thought. For example that breeding can profit from help and suffer from damage. But always, regardless of circumstances, better times can come.