The 2016 Qatar National Arabian Horse Show


by Lisa Abraham
January 9th, 2017

The 2016 Qatar National Arabian Horse Show

Text and Photos by Lisa Abraham


The 2016 Qatar National Arabian Horse Show, took place in the capital city of Doha, from December 9-10. The show, which celebrated its 19th edition, is organized annually by the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC). Issa Bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, the Committee Chairman of QREC stated, “We thank purebred Arabian horse owners, studs, farms and stables for their efforts and care for the breed of purebred Arabians. This year, the show sees an increase in the number of participating horses, demonstrating the growing attention paid by horse owners to show horses and their interest in owning top horses and improving the performance of their existing horses. We, at QREC, strive and dedicate our collaborative efforts to further promote the standing of Qatar’s equestrian sport with all its disciplines and particularly those related to purebred Arabian horses on both the Arab and world arenas.”

Santiago Fornieles: For me, Qatar Nationals offers a nice contrast to our International Show which is in March. The  International Show is a big fancy show with all the pressure that goes along with an event of its prestige—it’s a rush of adrenaline in two days. In addition to the excitement, the horses, which represent countries and breeding programs all over the world, are amazing and in big numbers. However, what makes the National Show so special is the community environment and a more relaxed atmosphere. For me it’s like a big barbecue with a huge group of friends who just happen to show their horses in a healthy competition. I love it—and for these reasons, it’s probably my favorite show.

~Santiago Fornieles is the Farm Manager at Al Shaqab (QAT)

The Atmosphere of the National Show was indeed special as comradery among guests and competitors was high. In fact, it was often difficult to identify the actual winners since the excitement was shared by many, if not all. It was also nice to see the attendance of families and young children who enjoyed the show as much as everyone else. Although the presence of children raised the concern of safety measures, this was far outweighed by the pleasure derived from sharing in their unique observations and humor. It was especially enchanting to see the children involved in the prize giving ceremonies as on a few occasions they were encouraged to hold the trophies for the photos.

The show took place at Al Shaqab, in its “state of the art” indoor arena. Al Shaqab is an enormous facility which satisfies a great deal of the equine needs of the Doha community. His Highness The Father Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, established Al Shaqab in 1992 on the landmark Al Shaqab battle site, where Qataris fought a pivotal battle which led to their independence as a nation. In 2004, Al Shaqab became a member of Qatar Foundation. Qatar Foundation is dedicated to the global leadership in “preserving and promoting the Arabian horse breed through setting the highest standard in breeding, show, equestrian arts and equine welfare,” alongside community participation (text in quotes is taken from the show guide). The indoor arena, which may be one of the nicest in the world, offers a show footing that is 100 X 60 meters, 6000 seats, air conditioning and an abundance of natural light.




The Classes were judged by a panel of seven, rotated in groups of six. The categories for scoring included: Type, Head & Neck, Body & Topline, Legs and Movement. Scoring was based on a 20-point system with half points. In the case of a tie, the horse with the most points for Type received the higher placement. If this did not resolve the tie, then the score for Movement decided.  The Foal Classes, as well as the Championships, were judged comparatively. In the event of a tie in the Championships, the higher place was given to the horse with the highest total points in the Qualifying Class. 

The 2016 International Panel of Judges included: Claudia Darius (DEU), Dr. Francesco Santoro (ITA), Ahmed Hamza (EGY), Irina Stigler (RUS), Peter Birch (DNK), Sufian Taha (PSE) and Christina Valdes (ESP).

The Junior Filly Championship was an excellent example of how difficult it can be to judge horses. In this Championship, among the choices for medals, there was very little unity among a panel of experienced Judges. For example, in their rankings for Medal winners, there were a total of nine horses represented: five different horses were chosen for both Gold and Silver; while four were chosen for Bronze. The Gold Champion was only chosen by two Judges for Gold, one for Silver and one for Bronze; the Silver Champion was chosen by two, who both chose her for Gold; while the Bronze Champion was chosen once for both Gold and Silver. Despite the diversity among the Judges' choices, the winners shared striking similarities: all three were sired by World Champion, Kahil Al Shaqab; and all three are owned by Al Shaqab. Ultimately the highest honor was awarded to Elluara (X Ellua), a 2014 filly who was bred by Sk Michalow (POL); the Silver was earned by Empuza (X Eulerta), a 2014 filly who was bred by SK Janow Podlaski (POL); while the Bronze went to Safiat Al Shaqab (X Shalimar Prestige), a 2015 filly who was bred by Al Shaqab.

In this Championship, there were two other competitors worth mentioning: Um Graiba Al Shaqab and Al Jazeera.  In her Qualifying Class, yearling filly Um Graiba Al Shaqab (Hariry Al Shaqab X Amina Al Shaqab), who was also bred and is owned by Al Shaqab, earned a score of 92.0 and was awarded three 20’s for Head & Neck and straight 19.5’s for Type. While Al Jazeera, who was also sired by Kahil Al Shaqab (X Alhasa) and owned by Al Sraiya Stud (QAT), received a class score of 92.5--the highest of all Junior Fillies. In addition, Al Jazeera, a 2013 filly who was bred by SK Janow Podlaski, earned straight 20’s for Movement and straight 19.5’s for Type. Um Graiba Al Shaqab was chosen by two Judges for Silver and two for Bronze, while Al Jazeera was chosen twice for Silver.

In the Junior Colt Championship, the Judges were in closer agreement as six of the seven chose Medan Al Shaqab (Farhoud Al Shaqab X Abha Myra), a 2014 colt, for Gold. Of all four Championships, this was the closest decision to unanimous. In his Qualifying Class, Medan Al Shaqab earned a score of 91.8 and was awarded three 20’s for Head & Neck and one for Type. The Silver was earned by Radad Al Shaqab (Hadidy Al Shaqab X Rasha Al Shaqab), a 2014 colt; while the Bronze went to Baher Al Shaqab (Kahil Al Shaqab X Vanessa Al Shaqab), also a 2014 colt. Not only were all three of the Junior Colt Champions bred and owned by Al Shaqab, but two of the three were represented by Al Shaqab breeding through both the sire and the dam.

The quality present in the Senior Mare Championship was exceptional and certainly a delightful highlight of the show. Although there was a slight difference in placement, the Judges were relatively decided on who were to earn the medals.  The Gold honor was awarded to Da Magic Moment (WH Justice X Da Enfidha), a 2012 mare who was bred by C Kolnberger (DEU). Da Magic Moment, who  was chosen by four Judges for Gold and by two for Silver, with a Qualifying Class score of 93.4, was the highest scoring horse of the show. In addition, she was awarded a total of seven 20’s. The Silver was earned by Rihab Al Nasser (Marwan Al Shaqab X Remal Al Nasser), a 2007 mare who was bred and is owned by Al Nasser Stud (QAT). With a Class score of 92.8, Rihab Al Nasser was the second highest scoring horse in the show. Finally, the Bronze went to Lamana (Laman HVP X Miriam Ii). As a 2004 mare, Lamana, who was bred by Sax Reinhard Peissing (DEU) and is owned by Al Sraiya Stud, was the eldest of all Champions.

As in the Senior Mare Championship, the Judges were closely decided on the medal winners for the Senior Stallions. Ultimately, the Gold was earned by Gazwan Al Nasser (Gazal Al Shaqab X Ftoon Al Shaqab), a 2007 stallion who was bred by Sheikh Nawaf Bin Nasser Al Thani (QAT).  Gazwan Al Nasser was the top choice for five of the Judges. The Silver was earned by D Daffer (Marajj X Shownel), a 2012 stallion who was bred by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE) and is owned by Saad Salem Al Hajri (QAT). As a side note, D Jaffer, along with Medan Al Shaqab, were the only Champions who were chosen for a medal by all seven Judges. Finally, the Bronze was earned by Kamar Al Gazal (EKS Bey Al Gazal X MSA Kataryna), a 2010 stallion who was bred by Michael J or Victoria J Mangan (USA) and who is also owned by Saad Salem Al Hajri. It is also worth acknowledging that both the Senior Mare and Stallion Gold Champions were shown to their victories by handler Glenn Jacobs (BEL) and both are owned by Nasser Mohammed Al Hajri (QAT).

Please join us in 2017 for the 20th Annual Qatar National Arabian Horse Show!

The Gold, Silver & Bronze Junior Colt Champions--all bred and owned by Al Shaqab Stud!


For a FULL-SIZED Gallery of Show Images:


For Information on the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club:


For Information on Al Shaqab, Member Qatar Foundation:



Lisa Abraham is an International Journalist and Photographer from the United States. Although she does free-lance for various media, her primary dedication is to as a Premier Contributor and Representative. She is also a breeder of Straight Egyptian Arabians.