Asharqia, the Eastern Province, is one of thirteen provinces of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, bordering on Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Yemen. In the world of Arabian horses this name has become known thanks to a new event organized at the end of February (22nd-25th) in the province’s capital, Dammam (more precisely in Al Khobar, which is part of the metropolis), under the name of Asharqia Arabian Horse Festival. It was held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Saud Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of the Eastern Province.
The Asharqia Arabian Horse Festival consisted of two Arabian horse shows – the Asharqia Arabian Horse Classic and the Gulf Straight Egyptian Arabian Horse Cup, an educational conference titled “Where It All Began” and the Art & Archeology exhibition. After the event, on Monday February 26th, guests were invited for a farm tour of three nearby studs.
It has to be said that it is not often that an event organized for the first time has such scope and splendour. The organizers clearly wanted to match the most prestigious shows in the world in terms of lavishness and organization – and they succeeded. Elegance, attention to detail in stage design and comfort of guests, tastefully designed logo, neatly published catalogues, spaciousness made available to horses and people – all this was of highest quality. The bar has been raised extremely high already during this first edition. The entire event was supervised by the President of the Higher Organizing Committee, Sheikh Khalid Al Gahtani. The duties of show manager were performed by Ronny Vosch (Belgium).
Asharqia Arabian Horse Classic (22-23.02)
Almost 300 horses in the catalogue and 225 on the arena in Sport City Center, the most numerous class being the 4-6 year old stallions with as many as 20 horses – that was the attendance of this C-National ECAHO affiliated show. The show was judged by: Claudia Darius (Germany), Maria Ferraroni (Italy), Tamas Rombauer (Hungary), Abdullah Almokbel (Saudi Arabia), Lucas Goździalski (Poland) and Mohamed Machmoum (Morocco). Among the exhibitors were both individual Saudi breeders, as well as world-renown studs, such as Al Khalediah Stables, Al Khaled Farm, Athbah Stud and Al Muawd Stud. The top three horses from each class qualified for the championships, which were held in an open formula.
The first class, the A series of the yearling fillies, was held in heavy rainfall. Victorious was Oxotica Al Khaled (QR Marc – FS So-Viva Exotica/Charismatic BVA) with a score of 91,63. A charming chestnut, graduate of Sheikh Khaled Bin Ahmed Bin Baker Bagedo, the later yearling gold champion mare, was one of the examples attesting to the strength of the stud’s breeding program. The junior classes, not surprising at all, were dominated by horses of Saudi breeding. It was only in the senior classes that imported horses were found. The B series of the yearling fillies class was won by Rahbah Athbah (EKS Alihandro – Mawee Athba/QR Marc), with a score of 91,5, from the stud of H.R.H.P. Abdulaziz Bin Ahmed Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, later chosen yearling silver champion mare. Second in this class was Mubdeat Al Khalediah (Razi Al Khalediah – Sahwat Al Khalediah/El Palacio VO, 91,38) whose both parents come from the breeding of HRHP Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. In the finals she received a bronze medal. The judges were very frugal with their top marks and the first “20” came no sooner than in the B series of the two year old fillies.
There were 10 participants in the yearling colts of the A series and the best turned out to be Ameer Al Washm (Eden C – CC Pssaaz/Psytadel), bred and owned by Mohammed Bin Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Manea. The graduate of Al Washm Stud gathered 90,5 pts, but in the finals did not find himself on the podium. He was bested, among others, by a rival from the same class, Nabil Alsakab (Excalibur EA – Scandall Mirage TGS/Mirage LM), who had the same amount of points, but placed second due to lower marks for type. However in the finals he was awarded the silver, to the joy of the breeder and owner, Abdul Aziz bin Ibrahim Al Bargash (Al Sakab Stable). Also competing in this class was the son of the Polish Espa by Kulig (a daughter of Espadrilla by Monogramm), sold to Saudi Arabia in 2014 – Ghassan Al Sayed (by Eden C), who placed fourth.
The winner of the B series of this age category, the bay Raslan Al Khalediah (out of Mazoon Al Khalediah by El Palacio VO), is another offspring of the extremely handsome Razi Al Khalediah (by Marquis CAHR). With a score of 90,5 he bested his rivals (in the hands of Philippe Hosay, who presented all horses from Al Khalediah Stables) and claimed the bronze in the finals, yielding to the afore mentioned Nabil Alsakab and the graduate of Athbah Stud, who entered the finals from second place in class. The gold medallist, Almaa Athbah (Shael Dream Desert – Bint Marajj/Marajj), received 89,88 pts.
Triumphant among the 2 year old fillies of the A series was the daughter of Janów Podlaski-bred Perespa by Enzo (exported in 2015) – chestnut, correct, with a pretty head and the name Al Jazi Alsayed by Ascot DD. The breeder of the filly, who received 90,75 pts from the judges, is Khalid Bin Said Bin Abdullah Al Sayed. In this class we had the chance to see daughters of other Polish dams – Middle East (Emerald J – Pinga/Gazal Al Shaqab) and Hayat Al Faris (Shael Dream Desert – Baklava/Kabsztad). Out of these two the better was the daughter of Baklava, a filly with a very sweet expression, who placed sixth with the same score as her rival from fifth spot (Hayat Al Faris lost due to movement). Pinga’s daughter, an elegant filly with a long neck, placed tenth (89,5).
In the next series of this age category (there were three in total) was the later junior gold champion mare, the delightful chestnut Reselat Al Khalediah, a full sister to Raslan Al Khalediah and at the same time a representative of her sire, Razi Al Khalediah (who was on the cover of the 2017 Al Khalediah European Arabian Horse Festival in Nowe Wrońska, Poland). Resalat can boast the first “20” of the show – for head and neck, inherited from her exotic in type sire (final score: 91,63). She bested 17 rivals in her group.
Almost as numerous was the C series of the two year olds, won by Najd Al Muawd (Emerald J – Ryaanh Al Muawd/Stival), awarded in the finals with a bronze medal. This filly, with plenty of Polish blood in her pedigree (not only as a daughter of Emerald J, but also a great-granddaughter of Ekstern and a far descendant of the Polish Alfa by Wielki Szlem), received 90,75 pts from the judges. The silver medal went to the winner of the three year old fillies B series, the bay and expressive Asayel Nawayef Nahd (Fadi Al Shaqab – Famira KA/Farres), bred and owned by Abdulla Bin Amir Al Nahdi, with score of 91,5 pts. Earlier, the A series of the three year old fillies was won by the US-bred daughter of Shanghai EA and Thee Rae of Hope/Thee Desperado, the grey Salma Aljawad (90,38), with a strongly dished head, bred and owned by Abdulaziz Ahmed Abdullah Alfouzan (Tala Stud). Third place in this class went to the daughter of Michałów’s Felicjana by Ekstern (sold in 2009 for 105 thousand Euro). Yakotah Arsan (by Marjan Al Zobair), bred and owned by Abd Al Elah Bin Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Al Mousa, received 90 pts. An interesting feature was also the participation of M-Hoor Alnibras (by Vitorio TO), daughter of Mandjuria Tersk/Angleter. We saw her recently (as a foal under her dam) during the “Figura Animalis” exhibition of Rooby Cyron in Warsaw. She was present on a photograph there and in Dammam she placed seventh in class (88,75).
Between subsequent classes were several performances of a folk group from Dammam, which presented clothing and dances typical of the region. The presentations referred to local traditions (for example fishing) and there were also pop culture accents, such as the performing of songs in other languages – huge applause came after Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”. The colourful artistic group was warmly welcomed by the audience every time and was sometimes even joined by a spectator. The atmosphere of fun accompanied the event from beginning till the end.
The next day – Friday – was the second day of the show and a very long one, because not only were 9 subsequent classes held, but also 6 championships. The first winner of the day was again a representative of Al Khalediah Stables and again a son of Razi – the bay, long-necked Wajeh Al Khalediah (out of Bushra Al Khalidiah/Abha Ifni), who ended his performance in the A series of the two year old colts with a score of 91,63 and later in the finals added one more gold to the trophies of Al Khalediah Stables. The second in this class Equador (Emerald J – Just So Versace AM/Vivegas, 91,25), bred in the US and owned by Nasser Jasser Saif Alsobaie, gained the silver in the finals. The best in the B series was General (Emerald J – E.S. Mahbuba/Ajman Moniscione, 91,00), bred by Al Muawd Stud, owned by Naif Fahd Abdullah Al Ouidah. Also performing here was the son of Janów’s Ostoja by Ekstern, sold in 2013, Azhaa RJ (by Savio), who placed sixth and the son of another mare sold in the same year, Michałów’s Wagira by Enzo, Ward Al Muawd, who placed 10th (88,5).
The second “20” of the show came in the 3 year old colts class. It was awarded for movement to the grey Safeer Al Mshalia (Wadee Al Shaqab – Shaklan Lady/Om El Bendigo), bred in Italy and owned by Meshal Bin Srour Al Zaidi (Al Mshalia Stud). However with a score of 90,5 he did not beat the winner of this age group, the chestnut Singaar Gharnatah (Shamal Al Khalediah – SG Marwah/Marwan Al Shaqab, 90,63), with nicely shaped nostrils, the later bronze medallist, bred and owned by Naser Bin Klifeekh Al Hajeri. We must also mention the performance of the son of the Polish Eusaria/Perseusz, Vitorios Al Naseem (by Vitorio TO), who placed 8th (88,38).
And finally came the time for the senior mares, the classes which are most awaited for by Arabian horse enthusiasts. On Friday afternoon the stands for the public were full and the VIP tent continued with the amicable atmosphere of fun, mutual cheering on for each other and healthy rivalry. In the 4-6 year old mares class we saw the later silver and bronze medallists. The grey, with a dark eye Khadija Al Khalediah (El Palacio VO – IM Kadidja Cathare/Padrons Immage) won with a score of 92,13 before the German-bred, chestnut, similar to her sire with a very exotic head Bourhani Sharifa (Ajman Moniscione – Psynesica/Psytadel), owned by Al Muawd Stud (91,25). And similar was the order on the podium, though Khadija Al Khalediah took the silver and Bourhani Sharifa the bronze. They were bested by the winner of the 7-9 year old mares class, the bay Ajadore (Ajman Moniscione – Cerenephantasy/SH Phantom Echo), with a shapely head and protruding eye, of US breeding and owned by Abdul Aziz Bin Ibrahim Al Bargash (Al Sakab Stables), who received 91,88, including a “20” for head and neck. These classes included several representatives of Polish lines: Ghayla Alsaleh (Elmaran – Esika/Eskulap), the correct and good-looking Filena (Maran – Fiszka/Eldon), as well as the very impressive Girlana (Equifor – Groteska/Emigrant). They placed 16th, 6th and 5th respectively (7-9 year old mares).
Only two 10 year old and above mares showed up on the arena at Dammam. Victorious was the UK-bred, flea-bitten Laminiah (Laman HVP – CS Kalliope/Pilot), owned by Tala Stud, with a score of 90. There were still three classes of the senior stallions left, divided according to age, just like the senior mare classes. The bred in Sweden HS Santiago de Magnifique (Magic Magnifique – Gazals Serina/Gazal Al Shaqab), who was awarded 90,75 pts, owned by Abdulaziz Bin Ibrahim Alajlan, turned out to be the best among the 4-6 year old stallions, and it was the most numerous class. Luckily the arena was so large that 20 stallions could safely parade before the judges during their comparison. In the finals HS Santiago de Magnifique gained the silver, while the gold went to a stallion from second place in class, Bade Al Hawajer (Marajj – Valentyna F/Psytadel), an owner of a classic pedigree widely regarded as a superb combination. Bade Al Hawajer (90,25), bred in the UAE by Dr Ghanem Mohammed Obaid Al Hajri, is owned by Abdul Aziz Bin Mohammed Bukhamseen. This class finally saw the so desired top marks for movement – for Lattaf Al Janadriyah (WH Justice – Lateefah Al Rabiah/Wadim Ibn Sharkassow), bred by King Abdulla Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (Al Janadriyah Farm) and owned by Abdulaziz Bin Othman Bin Abdul Rahman Al Hssoun. The stallion received 3×20 for movement, but lower points for the other traits gave him sixth place in class.
The next class was won by Aja Andreas, the British son of WH Justice out of Aja Anouska/FS Bengali, with a score of 89,75, owned by Jaffer Muqhbel Husan Alsaihati. As his score shows, the quality of this class was not extremely high, but still the victorious stallion enjoyed great popularity, because he was surrounded by crowds of enthusiastic supporters. The oldest stallion class belonged to the black Ibn Jameelat Al Khalediah (Moutaz Al Biwaibiya – Jameelat Al Khalediah/BJ Thee Mustafa, 90,00), the later bronze medalist, a horse of masculine beauty and charisma. Polish accents in these classes included the participation of Primerius Emer (Emerald J – Poruta/Monogramm) of Polish-French breeding (8th), Baher RG (Equator – Figurantka/Ekstern, 11th place), D Jallab (Marajj – Pasadia/Ekstern, 15th) and Muhtar Al Shgair (BS Paparazzi – Syrena/Emrod, third place in the 7-9 year old stallions).
Though there was no „shower” of highest marks (however there was a shower of rain), it was clear that the breeders and owners accepted both the location and the formula of the event, because they showed up in crowds, bringing with them decent horses of good quality, as befits a C-National show category. We can expect that the next editions will also bring a visible increase of quality and rivalry. The enthusiasm of the participants is worth mentioning. „This is a very successful event”, confirms Lucas Goździalski, the show’s judge. „Well organized, with very high standards. The first edition showed that the organizers know what they are doing and a powerful promotional and marketing campaign will definitely be positively received in the international community. I saw several breeding pearls on the arena, especially among the mares. Two of them I would like to bring to Poland if there was such a possibility…”.
The Gulf Straight Egyptian Arabian Horse Cup (24-25.02)
The second show held as part of the Asharqia Arabian Horse Festival was dedicated to Straight Egyptian horses. 162 horses were entered, out of which we saw 135 participants, with the most numerous class being the 4-6 year old mares and its 20 horses. The show was judged by Michaela Weidner (Germany), Francesco Santoro (Italy), Koenraad Detailleur (Belgium), Christian Moschini (Italy), Talal Al Mehri (Kuwait) and Majed Al Mehyawi (Saudi Arabia). The money prizes for the top five horses from each class were the same as during the Asharqia Arabian Horse Classic, which was 5 thousand SAR each. The show was also open for horses from outside Saudi Arabia, with participants hailing from Bahrain, Kuwait and UAE. Four championships were held, for junior and senior horses.
The guests and participants were welcomed by wind and rain, which were more problematic than before – the show had to be stopped several times due to heavy rainfall and a slippery ground. The yearling fillies class was won by the grey Saudi Teif Al Tinhat (AA Loay Al Aadeyat – DSA Baby Dhall/Mishaal HP), bred and owned by Abdullah Bin Fahad Al Haqbani (Al Tinhat Stud), with a score of 89,88. Her dam, shown in the 7-9 year old mares class, won that competition after which she became gold champion. When her daughter matures and turns grey (she celebrated her first birthday in January) she stands a huge chance to match her dam in terms of beauty. In the yearling colts class we saw the later junior silver champion – Muheeb Al Rashediah (Jamil Al Rayyan – Maleeha Al Rashediah/Tammam Albadeia), bred and owned by Abdulrahman Mohamed Abdulla Aljasmi (Al Rashediah Stud, Bahrain). His score was 91,5. Also awarded with a silver was the winner of the 2 year old fillies class, Sahla Al Khaled (Ibn Dahra Al Khaled – Sukayna Al Khaled/El Thai Khemal Pasha), representing the breeding program of Al Khaled Stud owned by Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Bin Baker Bagedo. Her score was 91,63. An identical score was achieved by the later gold medalist, the winner of the 3 year old fillies class (among as many as 17 rivals), Nadirah Al Rashediah (ZT Faa’iq – NK Naeema/NK Hafid Jamil), a representative of Bahrain and owner of a fantastic head and neck – a mare of really excellent quality. The bronze went to a mare that placed second in the two year olds class: D Masha’a Allah from Dubai, daughter of Royal Colours and Frasera Mashara by Shahil who is a numerous medallist from shows in Europe and the Middle East. The result of D Masha’a Allah was 91,5 pts.
The two year old colts class brought victory to an incredibly valued graduate of the Saudi Al Fala Stud owned by Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al Tobaishi – Helal Al Fala (Ansata Nile Echo – LF Aliah Bint Adeed/Al Adeed Al Shaqab), who in the hands of Giacomo Capacci was awarded with 92 pts, including a “20” for type. This grey stallion with a nice head and long neck was next unanimously chosen as junior gold champion. The bronze went to the second colt in this class – the representing Kuwait Lail El Kuwait (Rea El Kaream – Lulua Elkuwait/Ansata Hejazi), bred by Arabian Horse Center and owned by Abdullah Eid Al Mekhyal (Al Eid Stud) – 90,25. The Kuwaiti participants were more than pleased with this medal, as the day of the final was also National Kuwait Day. Among the 3 year olds the best turned out to be the milky-white Madledg Al Naif (Sinan Al Rayyan – Thamraht Al Naif/Ansata Nile Echo), bred in Qatar and owned by Saeed Bin Abdul Jalil Al Eid from Saudi Arabia. He collected 90,13 pts.
The representative of Saudi Arabia, a bay filly with a good body and nicely set tail, AA Layal Al Aadeyat (Naif Al Khaled – Lily of the Valley El Salm/EC Power Play), gained 91,63 pts. This mare owned by Marbat Al Adyat For Arabian Horses (Khalid Bin Saad Haddad) won the 4-6 year olds class. The afore mentioned DSA Baby Dhall (Mishaal HP – DSA Hey Baby/Thee Desperado), grey, full of charm, correct, with a shapely head – bred in the US and owned by Al Tinhat Stud – was shown in the 7-9 year old mares class in the hands of Gerald Kurtz and broke the bank with her “20s”: she received as many as six of them (3 for type and 3 for head and neck)! This feat was accomplished by just one more horse during both shows (the silver champion mare, in a moment more about her). The final score of DSA Baby Dhall was 92,75. The daughter of a very successful show mare, DSA Hey Baby, is doing very well on the show arena on her own, impressing both judges and the public. A gold medal for a mare that additionally received an award for best head did not surprise anyone. For her owner, Abdullah Bin Fahad Al Haqbani, it was another huge success. In 2015 he received the WAHO Trophy for best breeder for the successes of the year old at the time colt Fahd Al Tinhat (Shanghai EA – Barbarella RV/Falcon BHF).
In the next class, the 10 year old and above mares, were mares that later stood on the podium behind DSA Baby Dhall. The first of them is the bred in Italy Alfabia Jumeira (Phaaros – Grea Bint Khattaara/Moroc) from Al Fala Stud, a mare with a long neck and pretty head. Her score was 92,25, including 3×20 for type and 3×20 for head and neck. She won the class and received the silver in the finals. Second was the flea-bitten and dark-eyed Haifa Al Khalediah II (F Shamaal – Ansata Nile Pearl/Ansata Hejazi), who with one “20” for type and two for head and neck received a final score of 91,75 and later the bronze medal.
On Sunday beautiful weather spread over Dammam and accompanied the senior stallions. The 4-6 year olds class was won by the later gold champion, the representing Dubai black, extremely attractive D Haydar (Royal Colours – Hearts Embrace/Thee Desperado). This six year old stallion, presented by Paolo Cappeci, showed impressive movement and received 3×20 for this trait. His final score 92,88 was the highest awarded on the Sport City Center arena during both shows. The classified behind him Barq Al Dantain (Dahes Al Rayyan – Letizia Star/Ansata Shaamis), bred by Abdullah Nasser Al Ajmi and owned by Abdullah Al Mekhyal (Al Eid Stud) from Kuwait, also drew the attention of the judges with his unique movement (2×20, final score 91,63). The silver medal went to the winner of the 7-9 year old stallions class, Nayiel Al Khaled (Ansata Safeer – Nefertiti/Alidaar), another representative of Al Khaled Farm. He is a stallion with many show successes already to his name, both in Europe and the Middle East. The graduate of Sheikh Bagedo this time received 92,38 pts. The bronze went to the bay Salman Al Khalediah (F Shamaal – Thee Evening Star/Thee Desperado), who won the oldest stallion class with 91,38 (including a 20 for head and neck). There was an interesting situation in this class: two full brothers performed here, very much similar in quality, born in 2008: Ameer Al Shakhoura and Safir Al Shakhoura. Both are the sons of Naif Al Rayyan and Dana Al Shaqab by Safir, bred in Bahrain (Shakhoura Farm). We can assume that their entering into this world marked the beginning of an era of embryo transfers in the Middle East. The first of them (90,75) is the property of Bashar Mustafa Jaafar Alsayed, the second of Waheed Hasan Alaali. The latter fared better, because he placed third (90,88) before his brother, who placed fourth.
The championships had a very formal setting, as the victorious senior horses were decorated by His Royal Highness Prince Saud Bin Naif Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of the Eastern Province. His arrival to the show was preceded by a performance of the military orchestra. Earlier there were attractions for the numerous spectators – for example there was a lottery with iPhones.
And that’s how the show part of the Festival came to an end. Despite the changeable weather, the show was a great success. „It was a great pleasure to judge these wonderful Egyptian horses in such a great judging panel”, said Michaela Weidner. “Even if the weather was very surprising – it was raining heavily and the ground was very slippery. But even in this very bad circumstances these wonderful mares were moving and dancing with the tail up! Honestly some of the mares gave me real “goose bumps” and let me totally forget the very bad weather. It was such a great pleasure to see these very classic Arabian mares… And so this kept us going with great pleasure until the late evening”.
The Asharqia Arabian Horse Festival also had an educational character. You can read a separate article about the Art & Archeology exhibition and the “Where It All Began” conference here
Asharqia Arabian Horse Classic (22-23.02)
The Gulf Straight Egyptian Arabian Horse Cup (24-25.02)