In 2015, Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani, of Al Rayyan Farm, arrived at the US Egyptian Event, in Lexington, Kentucky, with a string of beautiful, world class straight Egyptian competitors. That year, not only did he sweep up all the ribbons, but also, after time away from the competition ring, he won the hearts of the American Egyptian community. It was also at this show where he and I struck up both a friendship and working relationship. When Sheikh Hamad invited me to attend the 2016 Qatar International Arabian Horse Show and the Al Rayyan presentation of horses, I was thrilled with the opportunity to make a contribution. As my research began, I found that much like the Arab culture, the history of Al Rayyan Farm was
There have been few moments in our breed as great as this one... when a little bay mare named Ronteza and a school teacher named Sheila Varian took on the world and won. Never before – or since – had a woman, an amateur, or an Arabian won the World Reined Cow Horse Championships (i.e. "Winning the World"). Here is the experience, in Sheila's own words: October, 1961 — San Francisco, damp and cold. Ronteza, Mom and I. My father staying home to take care of the ranch. Lightweight division, Ronteza. Heavyweight division — 50 horses going for the title. Ronteza the only Arab, me the only girl. I never noticed. Never walk by the trophy window, don’t look at the trophy saddle and blankets . . .