Originally broadcast on Emirates News, 25 March 2013
The world’s richest horse race is on again this weekend and as the sports attention turns to the UAE for the Dubai World Cup, an equestrian event with a difference has just been held here.
Held under the patronage of the Deputy Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, The Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship is known as the most prestigious competition of its kind in the world.
It was staged at its traditional home, the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, but for the first time the action took place on a state-of-the-art artificial surface at the purpose-built exhibition arena.
They saw a record number of entries this year, competing for the five championship titles, including seven multiple world champions.
It attracted a total of 371 purebred Arabians from across the Middle East and European to the three-day event, compared to last year’s event, where 295 horses took part.
The horses represented 24 countries, in competition for prizes totalling nearly AED 15 million.
In assessing the equine competitors, judges looked for agility, appearance and breeding, according to Skite Omen, a horse trainer based in France.
“They judge for Arabian type, and that’s, you know, how pretty the head is, they judge head and neck, body and top line, legs and then movement.”
The event celebrated its tenth anniversary this year and organisers say they were delighted to be celebrating such a milestone.
They marked the occasion with a new category: the introduction of the yearling class, which is already proving popular with breeders and owners.