The 2017 Qatar International Arabian Horse Show
The 2017 Qatar International Arabian Horse Show
By Lisa Abraham
The 2017 Qatar International Arabian Horse Show, which celebrated its 26th edition, was a not only a great horse show, but also one which showcased the warm Qatari hospitality and their unbridled enthusiasm for the Arabian horse. Although the spirit was heightened in the International competition, which took place from March 10th-12th, all the Qatar shows are a healthy combination of important competition and a reunion of respected and often lifelong friendships and mentorships. Despite the actual winners, the energy was infectious as everyone seemed happy for one another. Naturally, the International show draws competitors and enthusiasts from all over the middle east, as well as many of the world’s most important horses. But, the authentic passion the Qatari’s have for the breed, as well as the genuine comradery shared by attendees and participants, prevailed above all.
Another impressive element of the International show was the broad participation by media. Top press, not just from the region, but also from around the world, attended with incredibly sophisticated equipment of all capabilities. It was amazing to observe how hard everyone worked to create unique coverage. Although most of our International Arabian horse shows get widespread publicity and media exposure, in Qatar, the intensity is greater. There were easily thirty photographers shooting from every angle and well over a dozen recording every moment with digital video. There were also representatives from several of the world’s top print media sources. Altogether this presence spoke volumes for the importance of the show. In addition, this year there were large video screens added to the arena for the presentation of live feed, which certainly enhanced the prestige.
The competition took place in the Al Shaqab Indoor Arena, which very well might be one of the nicest venues in the world. The show space was large with excellent footing for both the horses and handlers. The décor of the VIP section was well thought out and exceptionally decorated with colorful flower arrangements, tasteful place settings and other accents which enhanced the rich ambiance enjoyed by all. This year the VIP section was expanded to go all the way around the show arena which offered more space and comfort for guests. As a side note, this was beneficial to the imagery of the show as there were guests and décor from all angles. Furthermore, also from the perspective of visual media, it was a pleasure to work in this environment due to the abundance of natural lighting. Finally, as the arena is incredibly well staffed, hospitality at the show was high. Both hot and cold refreshments were available as well as warm meals at appropriate times.
Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani
I would like to also make a personal note regarding the Qatari show experience. My first opportunity in this country was the 2016 Qatar International and International Arabian Peninsula Horse Shows, so my experience is not deep. I was invited by Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani, the Breeding and Show Manager of Al Shaqab Stud, who I had met at the 2015 US Egyptian Event, in Lexington, Kentucky (USA). At that time, he was the Manager of Al Rayyan Farm (QAT) and attended with three beautiful representatives of the long term Straight Egyptian program. Although his horses won and were an absolute delight for the American community, it was Sheikh Hamad who was most impressive of all. Sheikh Hamad attended this historically important Event for two reasons: to win and to have a good time enjoying a horse show. Not only were both goals successfully accomplished, but also, he made it special for all who were fortunate to be present.
I have now attended several shows in Qatar—and where Sheikh Hamad is concerned—they are all the same. No matter the size of the show, his energy alone can fuel an event and/or competition. Naturally he is a fierce competitor, but he is also the first to offer sincere, heartfelt congratulations to his peers and friends when they prevail. He is always smiling and his kindness and generosity are not reserved as he is the same to everyone. Attending a show with Sheikh Hamad is a most special experience and I cannot imagine any of the Qatar shows without him and his “arena filling” energy.
The Qatar International Arabian Horse Show was Class A ECAHO (European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations) show and was subject to the rules of conduct for shows as issued by ECAHO, which were clearly stated in the show program. 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 was to receive the higher placement. If this did not resolve the tie, then the score for MOVEMENT decided. If the tie remained, then one judge chosen by ballot decided placement. The Championships were judged comparatively. In the case of a tie in the Championships, the horse with the highest Qualifying Class score prevailed. However, if the tie remained, then rules for decision in the Qualifying Classes decided.
2017 International Panel of Judges: Claudia Darius (DEU), Ann Norden (SWE), Christian Moschini (ITA), Irina Stigler (RUS), Jaroslav Lacina (CZE), Marianne Tengstedt (DNK) and Mohamed Machmoum (MAR)
The Yearling Filly Gold Champion was Hadba Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab X OFW Mishaahl), who was bred and is owned by Al Shaqab Stud (QAT). With a Qualifying Class score of 92.1, Hadba Al Shaqab was the highest scoring yearling of the show, as well as the youngest of all yearling medal winners. The Silver was earned by Haifa ED (Kahil Al Shaqab X Prestic), who was bred by Nasser Bin Abdul Lateef Al Fowzaan (KSA) and is owned by Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Abdul Aziz Al Bargash (KSA). As a side note, in her Qualifying Class, Haifa ED earned three 20’s, more than any other yearling competing: 2 for TYPE and 1 H & N. Finally, the Bronze went to Hattan Al Nasser (Kahil Al Shaqab X Lubna Al Shaqab), who was bred and is owned by Al Nasser Stud (QAT).
The Yearling Colt Gold Champion was Hagras Al Shaqab (Fadi Al Shaqab X Wind Kamelia), who was bred and is owned by Al Shaqab Stud. The Silver was earned by General (Emerald J X E.S. Mahbuba AE), who was bred by Sons of Abdullah Bin Muhammed Al Subaiee (KSA) and is owned by Al Muawd Stud (KSA). With an Qualifying Class average of 76.5 for MOVEMENT, General received the highest score of all yearling medal winners for this catagory. The Bronze went to Sawfan Nayaar (Fayad Alfayyad X Starlight By Sissi), who was bred by Nayaar Stud (KWT) and is owned by Adbullatif Ahmad Alkandari (KWT).
The Filly Championship was deeply competitive. But, despite the overall impressive quality, the decision for Gold was nearly unanimous. Prevailing as the top champion was Malikat Al Moluk (Mameluck X Asalat Al Hala), a 2014 filly who was bred by Halawa Khader (BEL) and is owned by Al Khashab Arabians (KWT). However, the choice for Silver and Bronze was far closer as the two fillies chosen were so deeply tied that the decision was left to a one judge to choose. Ultimately, Judge Irina Stigler chose Madeeha Al Shaqab (Kahil Al Shaqab X QR Annah Ferrari), a 2014 filly who was bred and is owned by Al Shaqab Stud for Silver; and Safiat Al Shaqab (Kahil Al Shaqab X Shalimar Prestige), a 2015 filly who was also bred and owned by Al Shaqab Stud, for Bronze. In was also interesting to note that all three medal winners earned and impressive score average of 76 for MOVEMENT.
The Colt Championship was interesting since each medal winner was different in pedigree and strength, but all born in 2014. The Gold Medal was earned by Medan Al Shaqab (Farhoud Al Shaqab X Abha Myra), who was bred and is owned by Al Shaqab Stud. As Medan Al Shaqab was not his class winner, this was a perfect example of how performance can be improved upon in the Championship. However, in his Qualifying Class, Medan Al Shaqab excelled in the H & N category as he was awarded three 20’s and the highest score average for this category of all medal earning Colts and Fillies. The Silver went to Moaid Al Shaqab (Fadi Al Shaqab X Hadeel Al Shaqab), who was also bred and owned by Al Shaqab Stud. Moaid Al Shaqab excelled in the category of MOVEMENT, where he received an average score of 78, which was also the highest score for all medal earning Colts and Fillies. Finally, the Bronze went to Sharaf Al Shahania (FA El Rasheem X Marwan Cristal RCA), who was bred and is owned by Al Shahania Stud (QAT).
I would like to make a couple of observations up to this point in the coverage. First, I think it’s interesting to note the depth and diversity of the Al Shaqab Stud breeding program. Of the twelve medal winners in the younger categories, six were bred by Al Shaqab. However, these six champions represented three different sire lines through four Al Shaqab bred stallions: Marwan Al Shaqab, Kahil Al Shaqab, Farhoud Al Shaqab and Fadi Al Shaqab. Although Marwan Al Shaqab (Gazal Al Shaqab X Little Liza Fame) and Kahil Al Shaqab (X OFW Mishalli) are father and son, Farhoud Al Shaqab is by Al Adeed Al Shaqab (X Johara Al Shaqab) and Fadi Al Shaqab is by Besson Carol (X Abha Myra).
Second, I would like to make note of the growing influence Kahil Al Shaqab is having as a sire. In each show that passes, more of his progeny are earning championship medals. In addition to his success as a sire to champions in this prestigious show, a couple more of his recent accomplishments include: at the 2016 Qatar Nationals, he sired four of the six Filly and Colt Champions; and then at the 2017 Kuwait International Show, he sired three of the Champions and was the only sire represented more than once in the eighteen medal winners. Furthermore, although his strength as a sire is clearly being demonstrated in important competitions around the world, he himself has a show record which includes multiple Gold Championships at the highest level.
In the Mare Championship, although the judges were closely aligned in their choices, the horses competing were exquisitely beautiful and of deep quality—each one of them. As a medal earning group, not only did they represented the highest Qualifying Class score average, but also, each champion was a Qualifying Class winner. Ultimately, prevailing as the only unanimously chosen Gold Champion was a mare who has already earned some of the Arabian horse world’s highest honors: Tehama Ballalina (Tehama NA Sidaqa X JJ Shai Majestic), a 2002 mare who was bred by L. Ferguson (ZAF) and is owned by Al Zobair Stud (UAE). With a Qualifying Class score of 94.1, not only was Tehama Ballalina the highest scoring horse of the show, but she also received straight 20’s for TYPE and H & N, and a score average of 78 for MOVEMENT. The Silver was earned by Farida Al Nasser (Shagran Al Nasser X Marha Al Rayyan), a 2009 mare who was bred and is owned by Al Nasser Stud. In her own right, Farida Al Nasser earned a Qualifying Class score of 92.3 and was awarded four 20’s for both TYPE and H & N. Finally, the Bronze was earned by the youngest of all Senior Champions, Farah Al Shaqab (Al Adeed Al Shaqab X SWF Valencia), a 2013 mare who was bred and is owned by Al Shaqab Stud. In her Qualifying Class, Farah Al Shaqab earned a score of 93.3 and was awarded two 20’s for TYPE and a score average of 78 for MOVEMENT.
Although the Senior Stallion Championship was not a unanimous decision, the judges were once again very close in their choices for both medals and actual placement. The Gold was captured by a stallion who is always exciting to watch: Abha Qatar (Marwan Al Shaqab X ZT Ludjkalba), a 2007 stallion who was bred by Marieta Salas (ESP) and is owned by Al Mohamadia Stud (KSA). The Silver was earned by EKS Mansour (EKS Alihandro X EKS Phateena), a 2012 stallion who was bred by Elkasun Arabians (ZAF) and is owned by Al Shahania Stud. I found it interesting that EKS Mansour, who also presents himself with large charisma, enjoyed a very enthusiastic fan base in Qatar. Finally, the Bronze went to Mountassar Al Zobair (Khidar X Falha Al Shaqab), a 2007 stallion who was bred by Al Zobair Stud (QAT) and is owned by Khalil Ebrahim Ali Muktar (BAHRAIN).
Directly following the Qatar International Show in Doha, on March 13-14, 2017, took place an Arabian Horse National Judge Course. It was sponsored by Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani and Al Shaqab Stud with the cooperation of the Doha Racing & Equestrian Club. The Arabian Horse National Judge Courses are designed as a first step for those who are interested in judging Arabian horses at the level of National. The esteemed instructors of the course were ECAHO Class A Judges: Claudia Darius (DEU), Marianne Tengstedt (DKN) and Mohamed Machmoum (MAR). This two day course included: classroom lectures which covered several topics such as International scoring systems, categories of evaluation and conformation; field exercises where live horses were scored; and finally, individual testing in which the instructors evaluated the overall knowledge of the participants. It was an excellent conclusion to another exciting show in Qatar.
For a FULL-SIZED Gallery of Show Images:
For a FULL-SIZED Gallery of Images from the Arabian Horse National Judge Course:
For Information on the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club:
For Information on Al Shaqab Stud, 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 Arabhorse.com as a Premier Contributor and Representative. She is also a breeder of Straight Egyptian Arabians.