Already for the third time Doha, the capital of Qatar, hosted a show for Straight Egyptian horses property of individual owners (3rd Qatar National Arabian Peninsula Show for Individual Owners, 12-13th of January, 2018). It was an excellent opportunity to take a peek at how smaller studs in Qatar are doing next to such Qatari power houses as Al Shaqab (Member of Qatar Foundation). The organizer of the show was Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (QREC) and the host was Al Shaqab Stud, which gave access to their vast arena. The show was judged by: Manfred Hain (Germany), Michaela Weidner (Germany), Koenraad Detailleur (Belgium), Sufian Taha (Palestine) and Tamas Rombauer (Hungary). The breeders were encouraged, as always in Qatar, by significant prize money. First place in class was priced a 18 thousand QAR, second – 15 thousand, third – 12 thousand, fourth – 10 thousand and fifth – 8 thousand. Gold medals in the junior categories meant 40 thousand, silver – 30 thousand and the bronze – 20 thousand. The owners of older horses could count on 50 thousand for a gold medal, 40 thousand for a silver medal and 30 thousand for a bronze medal (100 QAR = 22.45 EUR). And though the prizes were lower than in previous years (there were also no cars), still these sums must make an impression on European breeders.
The number of entered horses was 188 and the VIP tables were packed full of Qatari breeders and their families, who could not contain their emotions. The fact that the show (though held inside an indoor arena) had an atmosphere of a family picnic harmonizes well with the Middle Eastern tradition in which Arabian horses were treated almost as part of the family. Horses and people of the desert were associated by a special bond. Until today they are a living reflection of history that stands behind them: Straight Egyptian horses are usually smaller than their cousins from other breeding programs and, as their breeders often underline, have a calmer temperament. Due to their more reduced population their breeding is harder – for instance the selection of stallions is greatly limited. But often it is the addition of Egyptian blood that determines breeding success, as seen for example in the history of Polish Arabians.
In the yearlings classes, according to the rules, the contestants must be born between October 1st, 2016 and September 30th, 2017; the youngest horses were just over half a year old. Additionally Egyptian horses require a longer time to mature, a trait determined by the climate in which they are reared: they spend a lot of time in their stalls and do not have grassy paddocks at their disposal like for example in Poland. That’s why the yearling classes sometime resembled foal classes in Europe.
We saw 19 yearling fillies on the arena, of various quality. Some of the first ones definitely have a chance to grow into beautiful horses. The winner was the not yet a year old, correctly built with a nice head Shagra Umm Aludham (Shagran Al Nasser – Safirah Al Shaqab/Al Adeed Al Shaqab), bred by the current owners of the Polish Wasa, brothers Mesfer and Nasser Al Hajri. She received 91 pts. Behind her placed Toya Al Rowdha (Al Adeed Al Shaqab – Taraf Al Dhabi/Sofjan Al Waab, 90.25), bred and owned by Mohammad Abdul Rahman Ali Saeed Al Nuaimi. Already the result of the first class showed that tone of Egyptian breeding in Qatar is still set by the senior doyen (born 1995), double World Champion Stallion, Al Adeed Al Shaqab (Ansata Halim Shah – Sundar Alisayyah/Ruminaja Ali). He remains the absolute number one among Straight Egyptian stallions in terms of their influence on breeding. In Poland, in Janów Podlaski, he sired Pilarosa. Her dam, Pilar by Fawor, today 22 years old, sold to Al Shaqab in 2010 for 240 thousand Euro, is one of many residents of this stud, in which 150 foals are expected to be born this year.
The first “20” of the show came in the A series of the 2 year old fillies (13 participants) and was awarded for movement to the class’ winner, the grey Mezna Bu Thaila (Nadeed Al Naif – Aazba Al Shaqab/Al Adeed Al Shaqab), owned by Abdulhadi Mana Sh Al Hajri. With a score of 91.75 her rivals stood no chance. The B series also had 13 fillies and the best turned out to be the chestnut Sondoos Al Marroona (Medan Elalya – Tarfat/Alixir), bred and owned by Al Maroona Stud (90.63). The three year old fillies were also divided into two series: “A” with 11 participants and “B” with 9. The first of them was won with a score of 91.88 by Blmira Al Shmokh (Ameer Al Nasser – Mawadah/Ashhal Al Rayyan), owned by Mohammed Mubarak Al Sulaiti, a long time head manager of Al Shaqab Stud. Today Mohammed Al Sulaiti is the owner of 10 broodmares, out of which three are Straight Egyptian mares. Victorious in the B series was Aminah Al Waab (Nasser Al Rayyan – Ameera Saqr/El Habiel), bred by Al Waab Stud and owned by Al Jasasiya Stud (91.13), daughter of one of the classic representatives of Al Waab’s breeding program, known for their Straight Egyptian horses.
After the fillies came the junior stallions: there were 13 rivals in the yearlings class, 14 in the two year olds and 10 in the three year olds. The victorious yearling colt was RB Ghazi (Shagran Al Nasser – Roda Al Waab/Ansata Nile Pasha, 91.25), bred and owned by Mohammed Ali Al Kuwari (Al Rabeaa Stud), who scored yet another success with the produce of the impressive, flea-bitten Roda Al Waab. The next class was won by SA Mansour (Fares Al Rayyan – Nabila Al Rayyan/Sinan Al Rayyan), bred by Sh. Saoud Bin Abdul Aziz Al Thani and owned by Al Hazm Stud. His score was 90.63. The three year old Waset Al Shaqab (Al Adeed Al Shaqab – Rahema Al Shaqab/Wahag Al Shaqab), owned by Mohammed Meshbib Al Shahri, bested his rivals with 91.63 pts. Second placed Julaibeeb Al Fahed (Al Adeed Al Shaqab – Pandoraa/GR Amaretto), bred and owned by Fahad Mohammed Rashid Al Mannai, with a score of 91.25, including a “20” for movement. For awhile this colt, shown by Gerald Kurtz, held the highest score in this class. However after several minutes he was outdone by a colt with the subsequent number in the hands of Tom Oben. The fight was fierce and ten grey horses in this age category is a sight that is no longer found on European arenas.
On Saturday morning the senior classes were held, starting with the 4-6 year old mares (two series, 13 and 14 participants each). Ehsan Al Shahania (Barraq El Aliya – Salomeh/Ansata El Salaam), with a beautifully chiseled head and muzzle of a sea horse, graceful and feminine, bets fit the judges’ tastes. They awarded her with 91.38 pts, which allowed her to win the class easily. The B series was of a higher quality and several contestants fought for the top spot. One of the favorites was the refined, dark-eyed Deema Al Nasser (Fares Al Rayyan – Dalal Al Nasser/Ansata Nile Pasha), bred by Sheikh Nawaf Bin Nasser Al Thani and owned by Umm Aludham Farm, the junior mare gold champion of this show from two years ago. Her high score of 91.75 gave hope for victory. However she was bested by Safira Al Dohul (Safir Al Rayyan – Saja Al Shaqab/Al Adeed Al Shaqab), bred by Mohammed Abdul Rahman Ali Saeed Al Naimi and owned by Al Nawasi Stud (92.13).
Among the 7-10 year old mares (8 participants) triumphant was the Egyptian-bred (at Al Badeia Stud of Dr Nasr Marei) classical eye-catching Lahlooba Al Badeia (Laheeb – Hekayet Al Badeia/Anaza Bay Shah), owned by Abdulla Khalifa Jassim Al Kuwari, with a score of 90.5. As her owner revealed, the mare went into training just a dozen days before the show, hence her slightly light condition. But clearly she quickly remembered how to behave on a show arena, because she is no debutante: in the hands of Al Zobair Stud she was the silver medallist at the Sharjah Straight Egyptian Show in 2010. And finally the oldest mares class (5 participants – all grey matrons) – here victorious was the dam of the lovely Ehsan Al Shahania, Salomeh (Ansata El Salaam – Alissha/Moroc), bred by Angela Maria Teresa Visinoni (Italy) and owned by Abdulla Salem Al Hajri. The judges, who were very reluctant in awarding the highest marks so far, gave her two “20s” for movement and a final score turned out to be 91.75 points. It has to be said that her sweeping trot was impressive, especially compared to the other show’s contestants.
Finally came time for the senior stallions. As many as 15 of them were shown in the 4-6 year olds class. The winner was Mountaser Laffan (Ansata Nile Echo – Authentic Monisa/Nabeel II), bred and owned by Jassim Kayed Al Muhannadi, with a score of 91.63 (incl. a “20” for movement), before the standing out and well moving Shaklan Bu Thaila (Shagran Al Nasser – N.S. Nazeera/Nabeel, 91.5), owned by Abdulhadi Man Sh Al Hajri. The 7 year old and above stallions class was decisively less numerous – just 5 contestants. Here the best turned out to be Daghsh Al Shaqab (Sinan Al Rayan – Dima Al Shaqab/Alidaar), owned by Mesieed Stud, with a score of 91.13. Behind him placed Medan Elalya (Ashhal Al Rayyan – Torfa Al Shaqab/Al Adeed Al Shaqab, 90.75), bred by Asayel Elalya Stud and owned by Mohammed Ali Al Kuwari.
The general impression was that the horses presented themselves best in striking a pose and a little poorer in movement. One can argue whether this is a result of breeders breeding for pedigrees or the result of inbreeding, but movement is something that they lack most.
The finals were open, but the judges rarely changed their decisions, only sometimes awarding the gold to a horse from second place in class. The junior mare championship results were: Toya Al Rowda-Blmira Al Shmokh-Aminah Al Waab. The victory of the yearling filly may come as a surprise. It seemed that compared to the older rivals their younger friends will have poorer results. On the contrary. The junior stallions stood on the podium in the following order: Mansour-Julaibeeb Al Fahed-RB Ghazi. Gerald Kurtz bewitched the horse and judges, vying for their attention, and won the silver with his charge.
In the senior mare finals Deema Al Nasser bested her class rival Safira Al Dohul. The bronze went to the silver medalist from two years back, who was third in class behind the other mares on the podium: RB Ghaliah (Fares Al Rayyan – Roda Al Waab/Ansata Nile Pasha), bred and owned by Mohammed Ali Al Kuwari. Once again she attested to the quality of Roda Al Waab, dam of two of this year’s medalists. The victory of Deema was a great joy to her owners. „I am very satisfied – said Mesfer Al Hajri. “It is not easy to compete, as there are a lot of high quality horses at this show. But I think Deema deserved the gold, she was really well trained and in perfect condition. She is our foundation mare, I bought her as a foal. She is for sure one of my favorite horses at our stud. Her dam line traces to Imperial Madanah by Imperial Madheen, a very important line in the Straight Egyptian breeding”.
The senior stallions had to yield before Shaklan Bu Thaila, the gold medalist from two years back. Second was Nebras Al Waab (Authentic Abin Nawaal – Nk Nada/Adnan), owned by Al Marroona Stud, who placed third in the 4-6 year old stallions class. The bronze went to Medan Elalya.
Where is ECAHO heading
The show was held as any ECAHO affiliated, although at the end of last year Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Al Thani, head of the Breeding and Show Department of Al Shaqab Stud, sent out a letter to the officials of this organization in which he announced that Qatar would give up its membership. However before a member country leaves the organization, six months must past, and a lot can happen during half a year.
“As for the ECAHO and its role in general, unfortunately, it has fallen sharply recently”, Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Al Thani wrote in his letter. “There is no real contact between all members. Laws drafted without proper study, secret meetings, giving priority and advantage to a country over another country for personal interest, disintegration of the family spirit, and turning it into an organization of laws, penalties, contracts and fines – it would be acceptable if it was with proper study – but on the contrary it is chaotic. Where is the qualitative and cultural role of the ECAHO? It is inexistent!”
„Everything has now collapsed, we need to stand up, to start again – says Sheikh Hamad in a conversation with polskiearaby.pl. – The biggest problem that I found out is that the shows nowadays are not for the breeders, but just a fun for the people who collect. The meaning of the Arabian horse show was to help breeders taking breeding decisions. And now it is all about the trophy! Our goal should be organizing seminars, offering the perfect stallion and not to hunt success at the shows”.
„This show is for supporting the individual Qatari breeders – he continues. – Also in Europe we need to support C-shows for smaller breeders. Breeders need support. Because who do the breeding now? The handlers, the training centers. Not the breeders. There are the training centers who decide which horse will be shown or sold. The breeding decisions are not in the hands of the breeder anymore. Where are the smaller European owners? At all the shows in Europe you can only see Middle East-owned horses. I don’t find ECAHO anymore. It is not a European society anymore”.
So is the decision of quitting ECAHO definitive? „Qatar will continue supporting ECAHO if ECAHO respects Qatar – declares Sheikh Hamad. – We have been supporting it for more than 25 years now. All our shows are ECAHO shows. We like the ECAHO because there are rules, and we need to follow the rules. But ECAHO needs to respect its members. And where is the sport section in ECAHO? It is finished. Where is the education? The main goal of the society should not be looking for sponsors, but teaching, giving people information, showing how we can support each other. We have meeting and meeting and meeting and it goes nowhere. We are horse lovers and we follow our passion which is the Arabian horse. You cannot make it all difficult to us – this is not allowed, that is not allowed. All that bans are not clear and when you ask nobody answers. At the end everybody will quit”.