By M. Satya Narayan, Staff Report
Buenos Aires: Almost every venue that hosts an endurance ride in modern day has a link with the UAE in some form or the other. That the UAE is one of the leading endurance nations is a well confirmed fact but the impetus it has provided to the sport, even far-flung ranches in this part of the world have felt the positive ripple-effect.
Horses have been part of the cultures here but breeding of Arabian horses in the recent past have become more focused. And during the regional, national and international championships, owners participate with a double aim - victory on one side but more importantly they hope that their horses will be roped in by prospective buyers.
Today's World Endurance Championship for Junior and Young Riders is no exception. A day prior to this the Argentine National Championship ride was held and it was more a display of the young and promising endurance horses, mainly Arabian, on offer.
Quite a few riders and stable representatives from the UAE and other endurance nations are here on a poaching mission.
And ranch owners and breeders like the Garcias from Uruguay are looking forward to sell prospective endurance stars. "We have 32 stallions which cater to both show horses, endurance horses and race horses," said Federico Garcia, owner of El Oasis, a 6000-acre ranch breeding Arabian horses since 1939 in Paysandu, north of Uruguay. "Our horses have total freedom and graze freely with the cattle and sheep. The gauchos ride them and once we realise their potential then they are broken and trained in that particular sport - shows, endurance or racing.
"The fact that they are free in a natural environment have helped in them becoming better endurance horses," said Garcia Sr., who has sold 18 horses to the Al Aasfa stables based in Uruguay, owned by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Ro Fabiola the best
Ro Fabiola, which emerged as the top-ranked horse in the tough UAE domestic season of 2005-06 is another product of Uruguay.
Initially Arabian horses bred in Australia, the US and South Africa apart from France and Spain were in great demand.
Now the focus has shifted to Arabian bred horses from Uruguay, Argentina and Chile.