Horse Championship Like Mini Olympics

Published: 21. 4. 2021
Author: Jaroslav Lacina
Photo: Photo KIAHF
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People have been talking a lot about Qatar recently, mainly in connection with the approaching World Cup. However, this small country in the Persian Gulf offers a huge range of other events that are worth your attention.

One of them are the long-term organized championships of thoroughbred Arabian horses, which have been held regularly in Qatar since 1991. It has been exactly 30 years since Arabian thoroughbreds, which have been closely associated with the Islamic faith and Arab culture for centuries, competed for the first time in Qatar for championship titles. This moment is considered as the start of the great popularity of Arabian horse breeding, which has Qatar has significantly influenced worldwide over the years.

Championship on the beach

The country came to the attention of all breeders thanks to this unique breed, which is mainly thanks to the stallions Gazal Al Shaqab, Marwan Al Shaqab and Al Adeed Al Shaqab. They were bred at Al Shaqab Stud - an equestrian centre, founded in 1992 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, father of the current emir and the then ruler of the country. Today, Qatar dominates the most prestigious International Arabian Horse championships and regularly ranks the highest in the competitions.

Every year several equestrian competitions of various categories take place in Qatar. However, this year’s world's supreme title championship, organized for the first time in the cultural part of Doha called Katara, caught the world’s attention. The wide boulevard of the district that remind Qataris of the history and heritage of their country, was transformed by the organizers into an exhibition of art, products and supplies associated with Arabian horses, and on the adjacent beach they built a magnificent arena for the international KIAHF (Katara International Arabian Horse Festival) championship. It was held under the auspices of the Emir of Qatar himself, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad AI Thani.

Breathtaking conclusion

In the competition itself, almost 300 horses competed over five days for financial prizes worth a total of 3.4 million euros. The closing ceremony was reminiscent of the Olympic Games, when a fireworks show with vivid drawings and inscriptions created by luminous drones intertwined in the evening sky above the beach area. The beautiful horses in the amazing arena, the perfect organization, the attention to detail and the breathtaking views amazed everyone involved and the spectators so much that they are already looking forward to 2022.

Qatar, under the leadership of its Emir proved that even after a long blockade by neighbouring countries and under strict safety conditions due to the COVID pandemic, it is able to organize an international event at the highest level and surprise even those who think they have already seen it all.

Bronze champion Baviera HVP from stables of Shikh Al-Qa’-qa, son of the Emir of Qatar.

Katara Cultural & Heritage Village is within sight of the Doha Skyscraper Center.

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