The 2018 World Arabian Horse Championship


by Lisa Abraham
December 3rd, 2018

The 2018 Arabian Horse World Championship

By Lisa Abraham


The 2018 Arabian Horse World Championship took place on November 23rd through the 25th. This year marked the 38th edition of this internationally important show and was organized, once again, under the royal patronage of His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco. Horses from over 20 nations competed while guests attended from all over the world to admire those who had remained competitive to fight in this final leg of the European Triple Crown and for the esteemed World medals.

For many, Paris is one of the most wonderful cities in the world. It has long been considered the city of love and romance as countless couples have begun their lifetime commitments with proposals made during their stay.  While, on another note, some of the most influential artists and writers were uniquely inspired by the city’s lures. Hollywood has also mirrored this enamor with films such as: Amelie, French Kiss, Midnight in Paris, Funny Face and An American in Paris. It is also fair to write that Paris lends itself quite unselfishly to this end. The Eiffel Tower, especially at night, is a popular destination for couples; and while the sun sets, the lights of the city paint the urban landscape and architecture with energy and passion. Then there are the “love padlocks” in which thousands of couples swore their undying love with locks that they have attached to the guard rails of the Pont Du Arts bridge which connects the Quai du Louvre and the Quai de Malaquais, over the Seine river. And finally, although far from last, on the Hill of Montmartre, on the Mur des jet’aime (the wall of love), designed by artists Frederic Baron and Clair Kito, the words “I love you” are immortalized in 311 different languages.

With this history, it sets the perfect stage for the Arabian Horse World Championship, a show which celebrates a breed of horse that has been held as uniquely precious for thousands of years. Like Paris, the Arabian horse cannot be separated from its romantic history. It is thickly woven with tales of love and heroism, many of which are rooted in the conversations and stories of long past Bedouin, while sitting under canvases scattered throughout harsh desert terrains, with their treasured equine companions lovingly protected beneath the cover of the tents as well. This romanticism we feel for our ancient breed might result from the tremendous heart of the Arabian horse which has allowed it to survive in nearly all climate conditions and challenges, as well as in its ability to form deep relationships and to communicate on an intimate level. However, whatever the reason(s), they have become our friends, our companions and our family. 

From a calendar perspective, it seems as though everything leads up to Paris. Most likely, due to this reason and to its prestige as a competition, the marketing of contenders was taken very seriously. Great thought and effort was put into preparing campaigns of lasting influence. Last year I was particularly impressed with the promotion of the Junior Filly Madinat Al Baydaa, owned by Al Baydaa (EGY). It was a very thoughtful and layered campaign which started months before the show and effectively utilized multiple avenues of promotions with clever combinations of good photos, design work and messages.

This year there were several farms with standout campaigns. The ads were enchanting and reflected our deepest feelings, on the most personal level. They were designed to stimulate us emotionally and they were effective. The designs also reflected Senior Mare: Nesj El Markhisa  the importance of the World Championship and of the charm of Paris. Some examples included:

~The promotion of Senior Mare Nesj El Markhi, owned by Eiad and Amira Safady (NLD). On their beautifully designed ad they used the text:

And I’d choose you

In a hundred lifetimes

In a hundred worlds

In any version of reality Senior Female Gold Champion: Anood Al Nasser

I’d find you

And I’d choose you.


~For Senior Mare Anood Al Nasser, owned by Akmal Stud (QAT), it was a classic design with a simple message:

If she is not perfect

Then there is nothing

Perfect about perfect.

  Yearling Filly: Algamra

~The marketing strategy for yearling filly Algamra, owned by Mohammad Sheikh Suliman of Al Sheikh Stud (ISR) was very good as well. This was an innovative promotion which began early and had depth in terms of being multifaceted by utilizing several different media platforms. Part of the promotion, which was titled “The Unveiling” involved newsletters with the same photo, yet different section of the photo revealed, and included comments by various influential people who shared of their admiration and excitement to see her in the Paris arena. It was a fresh concept and the message was sincere.


~The campaign of yearling colt Royal Asad, owned by Royal Arabians (USA). As a younger colt, a different approach was taken.  It referenced the bravery of our breed and perhaps even the trials our young males must overcome. Still a romantic notion, but more appropriate for a young boy. The text included:

I breathe in my courage

And exhale my fear.

The feelings we share for our horses extended to a warm friendly glow among the guests in the VIP section, which was completely full. The crowd enjoyed camaraderie and were supportive of one another. Groups mingled with one another and congratulations were offered all the way around. As dreams were achieved by some, there were friends standing close by to share in their success. Both the Arabian Horse world and the outside world at large are changing by the day. Individuals and entire communities are growing further and further apart. As everything is becoming more impersonal, we are also becoming more desensitized. Things can lose meaning, but relationships can last forever. The gathering at the 2018 Arabian Horse World Championship reflected this value.


Rules for Entry and Scoring

The Arabian Horse World Championship was an ECAHO (European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations) Title Show.  According to the 2017 ECAHO Blue Book, “To qualify for entry at the World Championship, an entry would have had to achieve: 1st to 5th place at an A or B Show; 1st to 3rd at a National Championship, C National, C International or C European show; and/or 1st to 2nd place at specific Origin Shows. Horses registered in countries which are not member of ECAHO must either qualify in an ECAHO affiliated show or may qualify at other shows accepted by the EHSC (European Horse Show Commission) which include: US Nationals, US Scottsdale, US Regionals, official National Championships, US Las VegasShow and/or in a recognized Egyptian Event held in a non–ECAHO member country.

“There shall be a minimum of five Judges, of which the majority must be chosen from the EHSC A and B list of Judges. Those Judges chosen from non-ECAHO member countries must be selected from the Judges’ panel of the National Arab HorseOrganization.” The Classes were judged on a scale of 20 points in which half points could be utilized. The followingcriteria was evaluated: TYPE, HEAD & NECK, BODY & TOPLINE, LEGS and MOVEMENT. The Championships were judged comparatively.


Judges: Leslie Conner (USA), Koenraad Detailleur (BEL), Ahmed Hamza (EGY), Regis Huet (FRA), Holgar Ismer (DEU), Murillo Kammer (BRA) Joe Polo (USA) and Francesco Santoro (ITA)




The Yearling Championships were two of the most significant of the show due to the quality and depth of competition. Most importantly though, both Gold Champions have been tested through out this fall season and each prevailed as victors of the European Triple Crown—which include the top honors at the All Nations Cup (ANC), the European Championships and finally, the World Championship. Furthermore, at the European Championships, both were chosen unanimously by a significant panel of seven.

The Yearling Female Gold Champion was AJ Samara (AJ Mardan X Samam AM), who was bred and is owned by Ajman Stud (UAE). In her Qualifying Class, with a score of 19.67 for TYPE, she tied for the highest ranking in this category for females. She was also awarded five 20’s and was the only yearling female to receive a twenty for MOVEMENT. Of the seven judges, four chose her for Gold. She was also her Qualifying Class winner. The Silver was earned by D Shihanah (FA El Rasheem X D Shahla) who was bred and is owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE).  D Shihanah, who was also her Qualifying Class winner, received the highest Qualifying Class averaged score of all Yearling Females and was awarded seven 20’s: three for TYPE and four for HEAD & NECK. D Shihanah was also the ANC Yearling Filly Bronze Champion. Finally, the Bronze went to Israa AH (Wadee Al Shaqab X Zhared Dreamz JTA) who was bred by Bsoul Said (ISR) and is owned by Al Orasia Stud (QAT). Other Yearling Females chosen for medals included Algamra and Durrah Alsayed—and each was chosen for Gold by one judge.

For the Yearling Males, it was Admiraal (Emerald J X Haniyyah) who prevailed as the Gold Champion. Because of this special colt’s  charisma, he stimulated the spirit of the crowd from the moment he entered the arena. As for the judges—their admiration was also obvious. In his Qualifying Class, he was awarded straight 20’s for MOVEMENT and earned the Special Trophy for the high score of the show for this category of evaluation. Admiraal, who was bred by Sons of Abdullah Bin Muhammed Al Subaiee (KSA) and is owned by Ajman Stud (UAE), also tied for the highest Qualifying Class score of the show and was awarded the most amount of 20’s which included three additional for TYPE and one for HEAD & NECK. Furthermore, in Aachen, he was chosen unanimously. The Silver was earned by Arraab Aljassimya (Al Ayal AA X Om El Aisha Aljassimya), who was bred and is owned by Aljassimya Farm (QAT). Arraab Aljassimya, who was chosen by two judges for Gold, was awarded seven 20’s: three for TYPE, two for HEAD & NECK and two for MOVEMENT. Finally, the Bronze went to the youngest Champion of the show: Duke Santonio DMC (Santorini X Amaliaa) who was bred by Dawn Cascoe (GBR) and is owned by Meshaal Almesbah (KWT). Other Yearling Males chosen for medals included: El Rey Magnum RCF, Maher Al Sayed and Poseidon K.A..

There was great divide among the judges as to who were to be the Junior Female Champions. Ultimately it was HDM Maria Apal (RFI Farid X WW Imania-Apal), bred by Eleonore Mertens (BEL) and is owned by Ajman Stud (UAE), who narrowly earned top honors. Despite the close margin of victory, her ranking was consistent with her Qualifying Class score and performance as she did receive the highest overall score for this age division of females and was awarded the most 20’s: four for TYPE, one for HEAD & NECK and two for MOVEMENT. She also tied for the highest TYPE score for a female and second highest of the show. HDM Maria Apal, who was the youngest of all Junior Champions, was also a perfect example of how different shows results can be based both on judge panels and performances. Just less than two months previous, not a single judge chose her for a medal at the All Nations Cup.

The Junior Female Silver Champion, chosen by three judges for Gold, was D Ajayeb (RFI Farid X Ladi Veronica), who was bred and is owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud (UAE). Interestingly, D Ajayeb also improved her performance since Aachen as there she placed Fifth in the final line up of Champions. While the Bronze was awarded to Balada Al Alfabia (EKS Alihandro X ZT Magna Psyche), who was bred by Alfabia Stud (ITA) and is owned by Aljassimya Farm. While Balada Al Alfabia was chosen by one judge for Gold, she was also the 2018 European Bronze Champion for this age category. Other Junior Females chosen for medals included: A Vision MI (chosen by one judge for Gold), Seranza (2018 ANC Bronze Champion), Rshediah Alkhashab (2018 ANC Silver Champion) and Caza Al Soor.

Junior Male Silver Champion: AJ Kafu

In the Junior Male Championship, the judges were again divided as to who they liked best. With four judges who chose him for Gold, ultimately it was D Seraj (FA El Rasheem X Ladi Veronica), a 2015 colt who was bred and is owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud, who prevailed. While the Silver was earned by AJ Kafu (Shanghai EA X AJ Kahayla), a 2015 colt who was bred by HRH Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al-Nuaimi (UAE) and is owned by Ajman Stud. As another interesting turn of events, AJ Kafu, who was chosen by three judges for Gold, was the 2018 ANC Junior Stallion Gold Champion, while D Seraj followed with the Silver.  Also, AJ Kafu’s gave an improved performance in the Championship as he placed second in his Qualifying Class behind D Shallal. The Bronze went to Gabel Athbah (EKS Alihandro X Meqbilat Athbah), a 2015 colt who was bred and is owned by Athbah Stud (KSA). Gabel Athbah was one judge’s choice for Gold. Other Junior Males chosen for Medals included: D Shallal (2018 ANC Bronze Champion), Aanan Lembarak, D Arghad and Royal Asad.
Senior Mare Silver Champion: Om El Aisha Aljassimya

The Senior Female Championship was lovely. The Gold Champion Female has not only earned the endearment of the community, but also presented herself with charisma and grace: Anood Al Nasser (Ashaal Al Rayyan X Aleysha Al Nasser), a 2008 mare who was bred by Al Nasser Stud (QAT) and owned by Akmal Senior Male Bronze Champion: Al Ayal AA Stud. With a Qualifying Class averaged score of 93.42, she received the high score of the show for the Females and the second highest of the show. She also tied for the highest score for TYPE for the Females and was awarded six 20’s:  four for TYPE and two for HEAD & NECK. Anood Al Nasser, who was the most senior of all female Champions, was also the 2017 ANC Senior Mare Gold Champion. As a side note, Al Nasser Stud also bred the 2018 ANC Senior Mare Champion Rihab Al Nasser. The Silver Champion was Om El Aisha Aljassimya (WH Justice X Om El Aliha), a 2013 mare who was bred by Om El Arab International (USA) and is owned by Aljassimya Farm. Om El Aisha Aljassimya was chosen by two judges for Gold and was awarded five 20’s in her Qualifying Class: three for TYPE and two for HEAD & NECK. Finally, the Bronze went to Wadad Zamani (Laheeb X Zena Al Buraq), a 2011 mare who was bred by Osman Al Kasai (ISR) and is owned by Hanaya Arabians (CHE). Wadad Zamani was also awarded the Special Trophy for Best Straight Egyptian Female. Other Senior Females chosen for medals included: Aijana OS, Bint Hazy Al Khalediah, Noft Al Nayfat and Wildona (one judge chose for Gold and was the 2018 European Gold Champion).

The Senior Male Championship was particularly special as the three chosen for medals are dearly loved by the community with passionately devoted fanbases; all capable of winning; and entirely different from one another in both genotype and phenotype. Also, although there was not a unanimous champion, there was consistency in placement between the Qualifying Classes and the Championships as the medal winners competed together in the same Qualifying Class with the same final line up. It is fair to write, Equator’s time for the Paris spotlight had finally arrived as he earned the title of World Senior Male Gold Champion—to the absolute thrill of his fiercely loyal admirers. Equator (QR Marc X Ekliptyka), a 2010 stallion who was bred by Stadnina Koni Michalow SP (POL) and is owned by Al Sheikh Stud (ISR), tied with Yearling Admiraal for the highest average Qualifying Class Score and was awarded eight 20’s: four for TYPE and four for MOVEMENT. He was also the 2018 European Senior Stallion Gold Champion. The Silver was earned by E.S. Harir (AJ Dinar X TF Magnum’s Magic), a 2011 stallion who was bred by Emirates Stud (UAE) and owned by Alsaqran Stud (KWT). E.S. Harir was awarded seven 20’s: five for TYPE and two for HEAD & NECK and received the second highest score for TYPE in the show.  He was also the 2018 unanimous ANC Senior Stallion Gold Champion. Finally, the Bronze was earned by the most senior of all medal winners, Al Ayal AA (Al Ayad X The Vision HG), a 2008 stallion who bred and owned by Ariela Arabians (ISR). With straight 20’s for TYPE, Al Ayal AA earned the highest score for this category of the show. He was also awarded the second highest amount of 20’s of the show with the additional three being for HEAD & NECK. Other Senior Stallions chosen for medals included: E.S. Sarab, PSE Al Rakhan (Bronze European Champion) and Al Khatab Al Thani.


Platinum Titles

In 2012 the World Championship introduced the Platinum Award. Only the Senior Stallions or Senior Mares who have already won the title of Gold World Champion are eligible to compete for this prestigious honor. Over time, the inclusion of the Platinum Title has added an extra layer of opulence to a show which has capitalized on being impeccably elegant. World Champions, some of which have long retired from competition have returned to this glamourous stage, for some what may be their final public appearance, to be honored with this title. The first Platinum Champion was stallion Dakharo, the Senior Male Gold Champion in 2007. Since that time, each Platinum Champion has been truly special. However, for those of us in attendance, I’m confident that no one will ever forget when in 2012, Pianissima, may she forever rest in peace, made her final public appearance to be celebrated on the Paris stage with this honor. That day even the judges had tears in their eyes. Last year was just as memorable, as Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani and Al Shaqab Stud (QAT) gave the Arabian Horse World the priceless gift of allowing us to see the one of the most beloved stallions of all time, Gazal Al Shaqab, be presented as Platinum Stallion.

This year was equally special, and it is absolute that, once again, it will not be forgotten. Emandoria, daughter of Gazal Al Shabab and Emanda (Ecaho), and who was bred by SK Michalow (POL), is also one of the most adored mares of all time. Since her birth in 2004, besides capturing the heart of the world, she has also won nearly every important title for which she has competed. On a personal observation, with just a single look into her large eyes, a spirit of endless beauty and femininity is revealed--and her kind, most gentle heart, is also easily apparent. To write that Emandoria is loved by the world in a vast understatement—we all value her beyond measure. Emandoria was presented with her long-time handler, Mariuz Liskiewicz, who was also at the lead when she became the 2013 World Senior Mare Gold Champion.

For Emandoria:

Car, vois-tu, chaque jour je t’aime davantage, aujourd’hui plus qu’hier et bien moins que demain.

For, you see, each day I love you more, today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.          

~Rosemonde Gérard

The Platinum Senior Stallion, Kahil Al Shaqab, has come from a lineage of World Champions—all bred and owned by Al Shaqab Stud and all priceless National treasures of Qatar. His sire Marwan Al Shaqab was not only the 2002 World Champion Colt and the 2008 World Senior Stallion Gold Champion; but also, in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 he was the leading sire. While his grandsire is Gazal Al Shaqab. Therefore, the Paris stage was ready to receive this third generation of the great Al Shaqab dynasty for its most prestigious honor and recognition. Kahil Al Shaqab (X OFW Mishaahl), a 2008 stallion, was the 2011 World Gold Champion Junior Male, with the highest Qualifying Class score of the show, and the 2014 World Gold Champion Senior Stallion.

To have Kahil Al Shaqab there would have been enough, however the presentation was made a “moment in time” by Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani, manager of Al Shaqab Stud. When it was Kahil’s time to enter the ring, as an audience, we were ready. But what not everyone was prepared for was that it was Sheikh Hamad himself who was to lead him into center ring. Sheikh Hamad is a man of many qualities—but most of all he is a deeply passionate and generous individual. It was a tremendous experience to see him alongside Kahil, sharing this part of his heart with the entire arena—and viewing audience. As usual, he took his laps around the floor making sure everyone had a chance to either touch Kahil or get an up close look into the eye of one of our world’s most important stallions and sires. Sheikh Hamad’s mark on Paris is indelible—and as a community, we are infinitely richer for all he has shared—and will continue to share.

For Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani and Kahil Al Shaqab:

C’est cela l’amour, tout donner, tout sacrifier sans espoir de retour.

That is love, to give away everything, to sacrifice everything, without the slightest desire to get anything in return.

~Albert Camus



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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.