Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pride of the desert: The Arabian Horse

By M. Satya Narayan, Senior Reporter
Published: July 19, 2008, 23:06

Dubai: Arabian horses and the United Arab Emirates share a bond that has been handed down through generations and today some of the top owners of this fascinating equine breed hail from the emirates.

In ancient days, the possession of an Arabian steed was a matter of great pride for an Arab. Even now in many prominent locations one can find the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan seated on a grey Arabian, Vain Huzar, and it was the late President who ensured that the noble creature will not be lost in all the development and modernisation of the country. The breeding programme he initiated in 1980 has now spread and many new owners and breeders has resulted in a record number of foals born last season in the UAE.

Alanudd (Unchained Melody), which was owned by Shaikh Zayed, is one of the most famous Purebred Arabian race horses. During her racing career here in the UAE, Alanudd lost only once in 31 starts and dominated almost all distance while the 18-year is a broodmare now, one of her daughters is already creating ripples. Mizzna, owned by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs, has already won six of her seven starts in the UAE and has also halted the winning streak of another great Arabian champion- Madjani.

Madjani hails from the stables of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and one of the top owners currently of Arabian horses. Another great champion, Madjani won the Kahayla Classic Group 1 (one of the biggest Arabian races run on Dubai World Cup night) thrice in succession like Alanudd and was bidding for his fourth when Mizzna beat him and ensured her mother's record of three Kahayla wins stayed intact.

With quite a few stables breeding Purebred Arabians in the UAE, there are many races which are earmarked for locally-bred horses but last season Dynamite registered a major triumph for the locally-bred crop. The seven-year old bay gelding won the HH President's Cup in Abu Dhabi, the first locally-bred horse to win a Group 1 race against top quality opposition. This win in the 2007-08 season has been a perfect advertisement for the local-breeding programme and does augur well for the many new Emirati owners who are taking to racing.

With breeding programmes already on to produce champion endurance horses and the UAE riders emerging as world-beaters in the sport, Purebred Arabian horses will continue to be a desired craze for UAE nationals.

And this will only strengthen the age-old bond between the emirati and his Purebred Arabian horse.

Gallery of Arabian Horses

Gulf News - Full Article

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