Page 1

the 2014

Qatar Arabian Farm Tours


Alzobara Stud Al Zobara National Stud

Umm Qarn

Al Sha Shaqab

Al Rayyan

Al Shahania

Al Nasser Al Samariyah


the 2014

Qatar Arabian Farm Tours by Denise Hearst

Photos by Juhaim and Glenn Jacobs

L

isten to the sound of the desert wind blowing through the tamarisk trees — it sounds like the sea. Rest for a moment in the shade of a white plumeria, mynah birds chattering and the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf lapping at the shore. You might need such a pause just to fully absorb the exotic experiences you’ll enjoy during the WAHO Conference week in Qatar, November 10-18, 2014. If you’ve never been to Qatar, the WAHO Conference is your ticket to enjoy exclusive visits to farms and cultural sights you’d never have the chance to see on your own. For those who attended the 2011 WAH0 Conference in Qatar, some of the stud farm tours will be familiar — but one can never tire of seeing beautiful Arabians showing off in desert settings. The Arabian stables that will be hosting visits are profiled on the following pages. It would be hard to find such a high-quality concentration of Arabian breeding stock and show horses anywhere in the world. WAHO Conference Coordinator for the Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club (QREC), Hannie Maasdijk, has also arranged visits to Al Zubarah Fort and archaeological site, a dhow cruise, four-wheeling on the dunes, a tour of the breathtakingly beautiful Museum of Islamic Arts, a shopping tour, and many more adventures.

1 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


And then, of course, there are the WAHO Conference sessions and registrars’ reports — always fascinating stuff. “What touched me the most about our 2011 WAHO Conference was the hospitality of the farms,” says Hannie. “They pulled out all the stops. All the farm staff members were so enthusiastic about welcoming the WAHO guests and showing them the best of the best. Their pride was obvious, and that really touched me. It was Qatari hospitality at its best. So I feel as though we’ve had the dry run and this year’s conference will be even more fun.” The conference is staged under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani, special adviser to H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of Qatar.

Racing and Equestrian Club Chairman, H.E. Sheikh Mohamed bin Faleh Al Thani emphasized that, “It is a unique event for WAHO to have two successive conferences in the same country and it is due to the unavoidable cancellation of Brazil 2013 that QREC has stepped in again.” “What is so remarkable about Qatar, is that enthusiasm for horses — shows, racing, and endurance — is shared by everyone from the ruler of the country, His Highness the Emir, to young children learning how to ride on Arab horses,” says Sami Jassim Al Boenain, QREC General Manager and

2 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Secretary General of the Board of Directors. “It is this broad base of interest in the Arab horse that gives the horse such a special place in Qatari modern life. The most important race for Arab horses in Qatar is the Emir’s Sword race. It is always the Emir himself who presents the first prize, a beautiful sword, to the owner of the winning horse. Many of the sheikhs are longstanding and passionate Arab horse owners. “Another ancient Arab tradition is the sharing of the benefits of life with others,” continues Sami. “The reason

for the broad-based ownership of Arab horses in Qatar is mostly due to the fact that those who were fortunate enough to purchase many horses shared them with the rest of the population by passing them on. This system gave many people the opportunity to own or breed Arab horses. “The constant and generous sponsorship around the world for Arab horse racing is another expression of the Arab tradition of sharing with others. The State of Qatar is a wealthy country. His Highness the Emir, the sheikhs and the Racing and Equestrian Club realize that Qatar can support and promote the Arab horse by providing generous sponsorships. This is not done out of a sense of obligation, but out of genuine excitement — our way of helping the Arab horse and those who care for the breed. “We look forward to sharing our horses and our culture with WAHO guests this November.”

3 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Since 2008, QREC has been the official sponsor of Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend, held at Longchamp, Paris, during the first weekend of October. As of 2014, the prize money has been increased to 5 million Euros for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and 1 million Euros for the Qatar Arabian World Cup. These are now the two richest flat races in the world on turf.

4 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Al Zobara National Stud Farm Left: The VIP Clubhouse next to the racecourse.  Middle left: The u-shaped indoor conditioning pool.  Middle right: One of the barns, nearly complete.  Bottom: The view of the project from the top of the clubhouse showing the immense area it encompasses.

T

he Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club is currently investing in one of the largest horse breeding farms in the Middle East. It will be a public boarding and breeding facility, located about an hour’s drive from Doha in the Al Zobara region. We visited the construction site last May, where the project manager, Ahmed Mamdouh, was kind enough to give us a tour. It is truly mind-boggling. We marveled at the sheer scope of the project — it covers an area of 1.5km x 1.0km, and includes: stabling for 600 horses, training facilities, paddocks and shelters, quarantine and veterinary facilities, a racetrack and viewing stand, VIP club house, accommodations for staff; administration facilities, an auction facility, central laboratory, training facilities, and more. WAHO visitors will be able to see this spectacular project, still under construction.

5 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Al Shaqab

“We are eager to welcome the 2014 WAHO contingent at Al Shaqab. This year’s guests are invited to walk the stables before we present a sampling of our twenty-two-year-old breeding program through the get of Al Adeed Al Shaqab, Farhoud Al Shaqab, Fadi Al Shaqab, Gazal Al Shaqab, Marwan Al Shaqab, Kahil Al Shaqab, and the first foal crop of Wadee Al Shaqab.” — Mohammed Al Sulaiti, Breeding and Show Manager, Al Shaqab.

W

ell, that sounds like a memorable experience — front row seats at what is perhaps the most influential Arabian show horse breeding program in the world. Here’s a chance to stroll around the spectacular new Al Shaqab stable complex, peer into the stalls and paddocks, and see the depth of quality of this spectacular collection. Founded by HH The Emir father Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Al Shaqab now falls under the umbrella of the Qatar Foundation, and is located within the sprawling Al Shaqab equestrian center. The stallions Gazal Al Shaqab (Anaza El Farid x Kajora) and his son Marwan Al Shaqab (x Little Liza Fame) founded a dynasty in contemporary Arabian breeding, and Al Adeed Al Shaqab (Ansata Halim Shah x Sundar Alisayyah) is recognized as a most valuable sire in Egyptian breeding. As Mohammed Al Sulaiti said, “Al Shaqab may never breed another horse to equal Marwan … but that is no reason not to try. To obtain results close to our goals, to accomplish the future we dream of, we must aim high.” To that end, Al Shaqab tries to produce over 100 Arabian foals every year, but even at those

6 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Facing page: Gazal Al Shaqab (Anaza El Farid x Kajora), and his son Marwan Al Shaqab (x Little Liza Fame), right, founded a dynasty in contemporary Arabian breeding.

numbers, the Al Shaqab philosophy — that success is not only defined by show wins, but in the health and well-being of each and every horse — is reflected in every interaction with horses. The goal is healthy horses, mentally and physically. “Every breeding decision is based on knowledge of the standard of excellence and in collaboration with my team,” adds Mohammed. “Making breeding decisions is an ongoing process. We never tire of this discussion. It is the fuel for our goals, for our hopes, for our dreams of the future. “Some of those goals have already manifested in accomplishments even greater than we dreamt. Our primary stallions, Al Adeed, Gazal, and Marwan are established, they are well represented in the breeding program. Now we need to determine their successors.” One such successor may well have been determined at the Polish Nationals last August, where two Kahil Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab x OFW Mishaahl) yearlings claimed the two Junior Championship titles against older horses.

The Kahil son Morion (x Mesalina by Ekstern), was named National Champion Colt of Poland, and last June was Yearling Champion Colt and Best in Show at Białka. Morion has already caught the eye of breeders around the world. His length of neck, well set and beautifully shaped, makes Morion a standout. He also has a beautiful face, with large dark eyes that have been a trademark of the Kahil Al Shaqab progeny. The Polish National Champion Filly Al Jazeera (x Alhasa by Ganges) has an incredible show attitude that is also typical of the Kahil Al Shaqab get in Poland. There is little doubt that Kahil Al Shaqab, during his two-year lease to Poland, has brought superior quality, well-shaped necks with great throats, huge dark eyes, nice substance and flair in the showring to his foals. His second foal crop is on the ground now, and already talk has begun about a superstar. In the Janów breeding parade, Bellisa’s (Poganin x Bellanda by Pilot) filly at side took the crowd’s

7 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


breath away. Endowed with all of the traits he gave to the first crop, this dark bay filly has an ultra exotic face that makes her one to watch in the future. It appears that Kahil Al Shaqab, himself a World Gold Champion Colt, may well have a tremendous influence in Polish breeding in the years to come. Another Kahil daughter, Minwah (Kahil Al Shaqab x LC Primavera by Padrons Psyche), bred by Mohammed Al Sulaiti and owned by Aljassimya Stud, Qatar, was 2013 Menton Yearling Gold Champion Filly and World Champion Yearling Filly in Paris. 8 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD

Top left: Kahil Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab x OFW Mishaahl), during his lease in Poland.  Top right: The Kahil son Morion (out of Mesalina by Ekstern), was named National Champion Colt of Poland, and last June was Yearling Champion Colt and Best in Show at Białka.  Wadee Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab x OFW Mishaahl), also a Gold World Champion Colt, welcomed his first foal crop in 2014.  Bottom right: The 2014 filly by Wadee Al Shaqab out of Magheeda Al Shaqab by Al Adeed Al Shaqab.


Left: Al Adeed Al Shaqab (Ansata Halim Shah x Sundar Alisayyah) is recognized as a most valuable sire in Egyptian breeding.  Middle right: The straight Egyptian stallion Farhoud Al Shaqab (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Johara Al Shaqab) was 2010 Egyptian Event Champion Colt and Supreme Champion Male at just two years of age, and at this year’s Egyptian Event his get won a Gold and a Bronze championship.  Bottom right: Tibrah Al Shaqab (Farhoud Al Shaqab x Twom Hiddiyya), 2014 U.S. Egyptian Event Gold Champion Junior Filly, pictured with handler Uri Shaked.

Right: Tajj Al Shaqab (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Nada Al Shaqab), 2014 U.S. Egyptian Event Gold Champion Junior Colt.

Left: Amina Al Shaqab (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Amwaj Al Shaqab), 2014 U.S. Egyptian Event Gold Champion Senior Mare.

Kahil’s full brother Wadee Al Shaqab (Marwan Al Shaqab x OFW Mishaahl) also enjoyed a successful show season, earning Gold World Champion Colt. “To the best of my knowledge this was the first time full brothers have been named World Champion in successive years,” notes Mohammed. “Wadee began his breeding career in 2013, and at Al Shaqab we have 10 2014 Wadee foals. We are especially grateful to Dubai Stud, UAE, on their acquisition of a multiple breeding package that will afford Wadee an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate his ability with their extensive collection of well-bred mares.

“In another amazing event for this overachieving family, OFW Mishaahl has delivered a third full sibling to Kahil and Wadee in 2013 — a colt of equal merit,” says Mohammed. The Marwan grandson Fadi Al Shaqab (Besson Carol x Abha Myra by Marwan Al Shaqab), 2013 Gold World Champion Stallion, has long been appreciated for his almost perfect conformation and movement, his refined bone and ideal temperament, but now his foals are giving Al Shaqab

9 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Top left: Fadi Al Shaqab (Besson Carol x Abha Myra by Marwan Al Shaqab), Multiple international champion including 2013 World Gold Champion Senior Stallion in Paris.  Top right: The 2014 filly by Fadi Al Shaqab out of Aisha Al Shaqab by Marwan Al Shaqab.  Left: The 2007 stallion Amir Al Shaqab (Gazal Al Shaqab x Amira Madrona), 2014 Mediterranean Silver Champion Stallion, Menton, France.

more reasons to be elated. “Fadi has sired with note for many other breeders,” says Mohammed. “Magnolia Apal and Disputa FA have both produced promising foals for Athbah Stud. And we are honored that Haras Aratinga of Brazil, Haras Mayed of Argentina, Al Zobair Stud of the UAE, and Al Naif Stud and Al Nasser Stud in Qatar have chosen Fadi as well.” The straight Egyptian stallion Farhoud Al Shaqab (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Johara Al Shaqab) was 2010 Egyptian Event Champion Colt and Supreme Champion Male at just two years of age. Farhoud quickly settled into a breeding career and has emerged a leading sire among all the stallions at Al Shaqab. His eldest daughter, Layali Al Shaqab (x QR Annah Ferrari), was named 2012 Egyptian Event Champion Filly in Kentucky.

At the 2014 Egyptian Event in Kentucky, Tibrah Al Shaqab (Farhoud Al Shaqab x Twom Hiddiyya) was named Gold Champion Junior Filly and First Place Egyptian Two-Year-Old Filly, and Raniah Al Shaqab (Farhoud Al Shaqab x Rahema Al Shaqab) won Bronze Champion Junior Filly and First Place Egyptian Yearling Filly. These are just a few of the treasures in Al Shaqab’s stallion barn. Of course, with such a deep bench, opportunities for the junior stallions can be limited, thus a stallion leasing program has evolved. Currently there are Al Shaqab stallions on lease in Australian, Argentina, the U.S., Holland, and Denmark. It’s all part of the original founding vision of Al Shaqab — to honor the Arabian horse of Qatar and to share the great gifts of a nation’s heritage with the world.

10 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Al Shahania Farm

Al Shahania Racing

T

he Al Shahania winners on the racetrack and in showrings around the world are the result of the stud’s carefully crafted breeding breeding strategy that reflects a longterm vision. HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani places a premium on great broodmares. “This is where our success lies,” he says. “For me, the depth of the breeding program is more important than the trophies.” Indeed, among the ten Emir’s Sword trophies glittering in the Al Shahania offices, the most special to HH Sheikh Mohammed are the five won by Al Shahaniabred horses. Al Shahania Stud had a strong finish to the 2013 race season and continued that success in Qatar, and other parts of the Middle East and Europe into 2014, under the direction of race trainer Julian Smart. Last December, Assy (Amer x Margouia) won the Qatar Derby for locally bred horses and then in February 2014 won Qatar’s Emir’s Sword against open company, the first Emir’s Sword winner bred in

11 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD

Top left: Assy (Amer x Margouia) won the Qatar Derby for locally bred horses and then in February 2014 won Qatar’s Emir’s Sword against open company, the first Emir’s Sword winner bred in Qatar. “He’s a character,” says race trainer Julian Smart. “All the good ones have character.”  Top right: The mare Al Anga (Amer x Kerbelle du Loup) won the Fillies Championship last December and later the 100,000 Euro Qatar Gold Trophy.  Middle right: The new race training barn at Al Shahania.  Bottom right: Yearlings enjoy large turnout paddocks.


In 2013, two of Al Shahania’s homebreds were honored for excellence: Mkeefa (Amer x Nisaee), top right, was named IFAHR Older Horse of the Year for 2012 after her wins in the 2012 Qatar World Cup at Longchamp, the Shadwell Farm Hatta International Stakes at Newbury, and The President of the UAE Cup at Newmarket; and the 2008 stallion Rathowan (Amer x Arc de Ciel by Djendel), top left, was ranked second among the leading older horses of the year.  Left: The mare Djainka des Forges (Kerbella x Djamour Des Forges), won the open Qatar Derby last December, and in August 2014 she won the Group 1 Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Stakes at Newbury, England.

Qatar (the other Al Shahania-bred Emir’s Sword winners were foaled in Europe). The mare Al Anga (Amer x Kerbelle du Loup) won the Fillies Championship last December and later, the Qatar Gold Trophy. The Al Shahania horses were successful in other countries as well. The mare Djainka des Forges, won the open Qatar Derby last December, and in August 2014 she won the Group 1 Shadwell Arabian Stallions Hatta International Stakes at Newbury, England. Djainka des Forges was second in the Kahayla Classic in Dubai last March. Julian Smart is currently in Europe with a seven-horse race string and has had a good summer with wins at Newmarket and Newbury, and has horses pointed toward races on the big Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend in Paris in October. “I can’t say which horse has been my best surprise this season, but I was very happy for Taraf (Burning Sand x Gethaabah) to win at the home of horse racing in Newmarket, especially as she is a Qatari-bred filly from the farm,” says

Julian. “At just four years of age I think she has a bright future ahead. I was also pleased with the way Djainka won her Group 1 race on Dubai Day, as she really did deserve it. “As most trainers would probably agree, bringing a young horse from the beginning of their careers to winning any kind of race is what gives me the most pleasure — obviously the bigger the race, the greater the pleasure! In my relatively short time at Al Shahania I have been very lucky to achieve a few memorable accomplishments. Being the first from Qatar to win the Kahayla Classic with the great Jaafer was great, winning the race on Arc day twice has been amazing, and winning the Emir’s Sword three times in five years is also something I am very proud of. Our 1,2,3 finish this year with Assy winning and becoming the first local-bred to ever win the Emir’s Sword was very special.” With an Arabian broodmare band built for racing and widely considered to be one of, if not the best, in the world, Al Shahania’s place at the top echelons of the sport seems assured for years to come.

12 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Home base for Al Shahania’s racehorse breeding and training programs is the beautiful 500-acre farm outside Doha, where mares and foals graze in spacious pastures, and racehorses in training gallop on the farm’s state-of-the-art track. Assistant trainer Pierre Deymonaz shares his morning gallop astride one of the promising young racehorses: Picture this: it’s the end of February, the week of the richest Arabian races in Qatar and in particular, the one that everyone wants to win: The Emir’s Sword. The pressure is building and we are all trying our very best not to let the horses feel any of it. It is 5.30 a.m., the temperature is slowly rising and Julian is watching us with a sharp eye, getting on the track for the final workout. We have all jumped off in a single file with a few yards separating us. I have just gone past the 800m pole, gone around the bend and am now coming into the home straight for the final stretch. My horse changes lead, his nostrils are getting louder and so are the sounds of his hooves hitting the ground, I lower myself down his neck, shorten my reins and suddenly, the most beautiful sight you could wish for hits me. I am galloping my horse into the brightest sunrise I have ever witnessed, his mane is brushing my face, the whole sky has a mixture of red and orange. I can only see the outline of the horse a few lengths in front me, with the crescent of a mosque just visible on the horizon. I manage to freeze time for this moment, so it can stay imprinted in my mind. At this point I do not wish to be in any other place but right here, right now, on my horse!

Al Shahania Show Horses

T

he breeding philosophy at Al Shahania is simple: make them beautiful and make them usable. After a long and successful history in both racing and endurance, Al Shahania entered the world of Arabian show horses with the desire to have it all. “Exquisite and artistic, strong and sound, these are the horses that would enter the Al Shahania breeding program,” says trainer Michael Byatt, who has several of the Al Shahania horses at his farm in New Ulm, Texas. “One thing that continues to strike me is that Sheikh Mohammed is a horseman. He understands form and function, and can pick up on subtle things. He has exquisite taste, and seeks only the very best for his program.” Right: Badiaa Al Shahania (Marwan Al Shaqab x Majalis by Ali Jamaal), 2013 U.S. National Champion Two-Year-Old Filly and Reserve Champion Junior Filly. 13 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Above: Abha Opalina (WH Justice x Om El Amira Estopa) was named Gold Champion Mare, Best in Show, Best Head, Best Female, and High-Scoring Horse at the Vichy International Show in July 2014.  Left: Nada Al Shahania (Besson Carol x MFA Annies Song), 2013 Gold Champion Filly in Menton, France.

When Al Shahania expanded into the Arabian show horse world in 2010, HH Sheikh Mohammed began to meld the performance attributes he treasures with the sheer beauty of the breed. He carefully selected the best broodmares he could find — well-bred horses from the U.S., Spain, Brazil, Poland, and Egypt. He also chose show prospects that have brought more glory to the stud. The mares Abha Qalams, Abha Raipur, Badiaa Al Shahania, and Marwan Cristal RCA have all been U.S. National Champions for Al Shahania, and stallion Barzan Al Shahania is a two-time U.S. National Champion. In addition to a strong presence in North America, Al Shahania entered the European circuit with the beautiful Nada Al Shahania (Besson Carol x MFA Annies Song). In her debut Nada was named the 2013 Gold Champion Filly in Menton, France. And in July 2014 at the Vichy International Show in

France, Abha Opalina (WH Justice x Om El Amira Estopa) was named Gold Champion Mare, Best in Show, Best Head, Best Female, and High-Scoring Horse of the show. Al Shahania is proud to stand at public stud two young stallions who have carried the farm’s name into the winners circles of the breed’s top shows. Barzan Al Shahania (Stival x NW Siena Psyche), mentioned above, was himself U.S. National Champion Junior Colt, U.S. National Champion Yearling Colt, Scottsdale Champion Junior Colt, Las Vegas World Cup Gold Supreme Champion Junior Stallion and Gold Supreme Champion Yearling Colt. Om El Sanadeed (Om El Shahmaan x Om El Jinaah) was Las Vegas Gold Cup Champion Junior Stallion and Champion AHBA Futurity Yearling Colt, as well as Scottsdale Champion Signature Auction Yearling Colt and Champion International Classic Junior Colt. His heritage points to the possibility

14 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


that his own show record, as stellar as it is, might one day be surpassed by that of his offspring. “Of course a breeding program is not something to be taken lightly,” Sheikh Mohammed says. “Al Shahania Stud has proven that with patience, and study of the physical and mental attributes of the horses and their pedigrees, we can produce champion racehorses. We wish to excel in the same way with our show program.” For Sheikh Mohammed, 30 years with Arabian horses have given him what he calls “the highest highs.” Still, one may wonder how a breeder with a foot in both worlds — performance and beauty — can reach the pinnacle of both. But of course, if anyone can, it would be Sheikh Mohammed. He not only possesses an appreciation for all the facets of the Arabian breed, he also has a solid working knowledge of structure and function, honed during his many years of endurance competition and as a highly engaged owner of racehorses. His eye for beauty — in all things — doesn’t hurt either. 15 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD

Al Shahania’s show and breeding stallions include Barzan Al Shahania (Stival x NW Siena Psyche), a two-time U.S. National Champion, top, and Om El Sanadeed (Om El Shahmaan x Om El Jinaah), a multiple gold champion colt, bottom.


Umm Qarn Right: Tabarak (Nizam x Altesse d’Aroco) was honored as the joint titleholder as the highest-rated Arabian racehorse in the world for 2013.

U

mm Qarn Farm is well-known as one of the premier Arabian racing enterprises in the world. We visited the remote 1,500-acre farm last May. The setting, a natural oasis in the midst of the empty desert, offers shady grass paddocks and cool highceilinged barns. Umm Qarn reached the top of Arabian racing on a global scale last year. For the 2013 season, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani’s Tabarak (Nizam x Altesse d’Aroco), trained by Alban de Mieulle, was honored as the joint titleholder as the highest-rated Arabian racehorse in the world by the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing’s Pattern Race and Handicapping Committee. The committee considered the results of races run throughout Europe and the Middle East. 16 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Left and inset: Amer (Wafi x Bushra Amer) has sired nearly 200 get and winners of 763 races.  Below: Djelmila (Manganate x Cherifa) has been an outstanding race mare — she won 10 races, including some of the Arabian racing world’s most prestigious races. Her first foal, Majd Al Arab, has won many races in Europe and the Middle East.

In 2013, Tabarak’s major wins were the Emir’s Sword in Qatar and the Qatar Equestrian and Racing Club’s Harwood International Stakes at Doncaster, England. Tabarak was fifth in the Qatar Arabian World Cup at Longchamp last October. So far this year, the stable has had success with Nashmi (Amer x Dani Di Cassou), who was second in the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup at Newbury, England, in May. Nashmi is a full brother to Dahess, the top-rated Arabian racehorse of 2007 who was a winner of 10 Group 1 races in his career. We had the opportunity to ask Sheikh Abdullah a few questions about the Arabian horses in his life. Here’s what he had to say. Describe that first moment when you knew that Arabian horses would be a part of your life. Where were you and who was the horse?

KENNE

TH BRIG

HT PHO

TO

In spite of my busy schedule, I was attracted to horses and racing in general, and purebred Arabian horses in particular. Although I was deeply involved in Arabian racing from early 1980s, it was in March 1994 when I personally participated and rode my purebred Arabian Nu Toi (Numaa x Toiloj) in the Qatar International Desert Marathon, at which time I realized that Arabian horses were going to be a part of my life. You have built a premier Arabian racehorse program. Please tell us what attracted you to the sport of racing. In what countries do you race? I continue to have an interest in the promotion of equestrian activities, especially among younger generations.

17 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Above: Al Anood (Amer x Dandoura), has an impressive international race career with 18 wins including six Group 1 wins.  Right: Al Hanoof (Manganate x Pesennaia) has been an outstanding mare particularly over short distances with six wins and six places, and is the dam of the great Al Dahma and General.

The Arabian racehorse program has been very successful during the recent years. We have participated in world-renowned races in the U.K., United States, France, Turkey, Germany, Ireland, Holland, and Sweden, in addition to Qatar and the UAE. Our horses have won Turkey’s Malazgirt Trophy, Qatar Arabian World Cup at Longchamp, The President of UAE Cup series in U.K., Ireland, UAE, Germany, and Holland.

Al Arab was bred by Umm Qarn Farm out of multiple international winner, Djelmila. Majd al Arab won 5 Group 1 races including the Hatta International Stakes, HH The Emir’s Sword, French Arabian Breeders Cup Classic, and Shadwell Dubai International Stakes. He is the sire of winners, including the Group 1 winner Muntaser.

Please tell us about your best breeding stallions and broodmares.

Stallions:

Broodmares:

AMER (Qatar) 1984 (Wafi x Bushra Amer). Amer has sired nearly 200 get and winners of 763 races including 86 Group 1 races. His top progeny include Group 1 winners like Nizam, Majd Al Arab, Al Anood, Al Dahma, General, Mutabahi, Dahess, Raqiyah, Mugadir, and many more.

AL HANOOF (Great Britain) 1994 (Manganate x Pesennaia). Al Hanoof has been an outstanding mare particularly over short distances with 6 wins and 6 places. She is the dam of two winners from two runners, including Group 1 winners Al Dahma and General.

MAJD AL ARAB (Great Britain) 2002 (Amer x Djelmila). Son of the phenomenal racehorse and sire Amer, Majd

DJELMILA (France) 1994 (Manganate x Cherifa). Djelmila has been an outstanding race mare — winning

18 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Above: General (Amer x Al Hanoof ) has become famous for his multiple Group 1 wins.  Left: Majd Al Arab (Amer x Djelmila) won five Group 1 races in Qatar and Europe and is now a popular sire in the breeding world.

an international race on her first run at Leicester. She won 10 races, including some of the Arabian racing world’s most prestigious races. Her first foal, Majd Al Arab, has won many races in Europe and the Middle East including five Group 1 races. KACHIA (France) 1994 (Djelfor x Ortie). Kachia raced in Qatar and the U.K. with a race record of 7(1-2-2). She is the dam of race winners like Mugadir, Keilan, Murhib, Damis, etc. AL ANOOD (Great Britain) 1996 (Amer x Dandoura). Impressive international race career up to 18 wins (6 Group 1 races) including the International Malazgirt Trophy (Group 1) in Turkey in 2001 and 2002, Zabeel International Stakes in U.K. in 2000 and 2001, Al Nahyan International Championship in U.K.

Describe the one horse you’ve bred who has come closest to your ideal of the Arabian horse. I would have to say the homebred Majd Al Arab, the son of phenomenal racehorse and sire Amer, and out of multiple international winner Djelmila. Majd Al Arab won five Group 1 races in Qatar and Europe. He has become a popular sire in the breeding world. Please tell us about the stars of your Arabian race string. Of which horses are you the most proud? In reflecting on the numerous international wins earned by your horses, name a couple of the sweetest wins. We are proud of all our horses, especially Amer, Dahess, Muneef, Al Dahma, Al Anood, Nizam, Majd Al Arab, General, Maleehah, Mugadir, and Raqiyah. Dahess has the best racing career, and General has become famous for his multiple Group 1 wins, including the Qatar Arabian World Cup in Paris in 2009 and 2010, and Turkey’s Malazgirt Trophy in 2010.

19 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Right: WAHO conference coordinator Hannie Maasdijk, left, and Arabian Horse World publisher Denise Hearst visiting horses in the beautiful Umm Qarn barn.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned as an Arabian breeder? As a breeder, I’ve learned that the great efforts I put into this field bore the best fruits, and it gave me great satisfaction. In your experience of more than thirty years of owning and breeding Arabians, what are the outstanding events that have meant the most to you? The most spectacular event was the Qatar International Desert Marathon that Umm Qarn organized in coordination with Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club in 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997. Celebrities came from all over the world, such as

Dubai Ruler HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, The Dutchess of York Sarah Ferguson, famous Hollywood stars Bo Derek, Patrick Swayze, and Kelly Lang of the soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Renowned endurance champions from Europe and the Middle East participated in these races with their favorite horses. We did not consider the financial gains from organizing these events, rather, we focused on upgrading the quality of endurance, and popularizing a sport in which the Arabian horse is truly the best in the world.

20 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Al Rayyan Farm

The 2002 mare Darine Al Rayyan (Ashhal Al Rayyan x Aisha).

H

ow much beauty can you absorb in one day? Be ready at Al Rayyan Stud, home of some of the most beautiful Egyptian Arabians in the world. Watch as one stunning grey beauty after another trots around the presentation ring, all looking incredibly fit — it’s clear that manager Travis Rice’s conditioning program is bearing fruit. What a program — the vision of HH Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Khalid bin Hamad Al Thani and now the pride of former Emir HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. And the great and good fortune of lucky WAHO guests! One of the famous mares in residence is the 19-year-old RN Farida (Salaa el Dine x Noha by Hadban Enzahi), 2001 Qatar International Senior Champion Mare. At Al Rayyan, her every whim is indulged; she has even made it clear which stall she prefers. If anything, she is even more beautiful in age than she was in youth. And her son, Safir Al Rayyan (by Ashhal Al Rayyan), age 10 and becoming flea-bitten like his dam, looks better than ever. He is fit and feisty. And smart. We visited with Travis when we were in Qatar recently, and asked his impressions of the 2014 Al Rayyan foal crop. “This year is my first year being heavily involved in a straight Egyptian program,” he says, “and I feel a little spoiled to be in the presence of such an elite group of mares — I say this from the bottom of my heart, that this is the best group of mares I have ever been around at any one time of my life. 21 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Left: The 2010 mare Sulima Al Rayyan (Ashhal Al Rayyan x Selma Al Rayyan).  Below: The 2014 filly sired by Fares Al Rayyan out of NK Ruby (NK Hafid Jamil x Ansata Ken Rayna by Salaa El Dine).

“This year we were graced with two very special foals. One, out of the late Ashhal Al Rayyan daughter Nadrah Al Rayyan and sired by Ansata Sokar, is mesmerizing and breathtaking. I have never seen eyes like this on any foal. The other is another stunning filly with an incredible neck and shoulder and amazing athleticism. She is sired by Eggab Al Rayyan (Ansata Nile Echo x Nadrah Al Rayyan) and out of the mare Turkiyah Al Rayyan who is sired by the great Safir. Also, there is the lovely filly sired by Fares Al Rayyan out of NK Ruby (NK Hafid Jamil x Ansata Ken Rayna by Salaa El Dine). There are some other beautiful fillies as well, but these three are at the top! “In the stallion barn, king of the castle is Ashhal Al Rayyan. For straight Egyptian breeders he needs no introduction. From what I have seen he complements every aspect of the mares. “Next is Safir Al Rayyan (Ashhal Al Rayyan x RN Farida). He is well-balanced overall and you can see that in his foals. They possess a very interesting presence and great tail carriage and beautiful eyes. There is a sexiness to his foals, along with a look-at-me attitude. Oh, and he sires pretty! Very pretty! “The young Eggab Al Rayyan has only had a few foals, but as mentioned earlier, his 2014 filly shows promise of greatness. From what I can see, Eggab Al Rayyan will bring incredible necks and shoulders with amazing movement and great attitudes. I have never seen a neck and shoulder on a straight

Egyptian like his. He got some of the best Al Rayyan mares this year. “Then there is Fahad Al Rayyan, sired by Sinan Al Rayyan and out of the beautiful RN Farida daughter Noof Al Rayyan (by Ansata Nile Pasha). He is young in his breeding career and had a little setback this year, but if he sires what he is it will be very exciting. He has these huge liquid eyes and sculpted face, and hinge and bend in his neck that you never get tired of seeing. His larger-than-life heart makes him ever more impressive. I am anxious to see his foals. His pedigree is unique. “And then there is the up-and-coming youngster just brought in from Europe — Nayer Al Rayyan (Safir Al Rayyan x Ansata Nefer Isis). He is just cool! I can’t wait to show him to visitors. “In my short time here I haven’t seen all the produce of our broodmares in person, but if I were to point to motherdaughter combinations I like the best, I’d have to say Nadrah Al Rayyan and her two daughters, who are to die for. Next would be Jalila Al Rayyan and her amazing daughter Jawaher Al Rayyan by Ashhal Al Rayyan. Selma Al Rayyan (by Al Adeed Al Shaqab out of the famous mare G Shafaria), has given this farm a filly, Sulima Al Rayyan sired by Ashhal, and now a full sibling in this year’s foal crop. Both have greatness written all over them. But I am sure most would have different opinions after seeing all of the great individuals here at Al Rayyan — it’s

22 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


a good problem to have! At any given moment any mare here could produce the next superstar.” When asked what he thought about the one horse bred by Al Rayyan that comes closest to his ideal, Travis said, “Well, I wasn’t here when some of these horses were in their prime. But it’s easy to see greatness in RN Farida and Ashhal Al Rayyan. This is a tough question, because the mare here who has my heart and is such an inspiration to just look at every day is Darine Al Rayyan (Ashhal Al Rayyan x Aisha).” Something that impressed us on our last visit to the farm was how fit the horses looked — a source of pride for Travis. “My conditioning program is very easy yet intense,” he says. “I love physical fitness whether it’s in people or horses. Just like people, horses are all different. You have to give a horse 30 days to see how they react to certain things and then you can launch your program for that individual horse. The one thing I would really like to have here in the future is a swimming pool (I am not a big fan of swimming horses but for certain conditions I feel it would be beneficial) but in the meantime we’ll make do. The Equisizer is wonderful because you can increase or decrease the horse’s speed, allowing you to get their heart rate up while minimizing stress. Of course, if your program lacks proper

nutrition you won’t get great results. Fortunately, I have a great team here at the farm that is open to my ways. “I’ve really been enjoying Qatar. The country, and the horses, are quite impressive. The Al Shaqab operation leaves one speechless. Also Al Naif Stud — what Manager Glenn Jacobs has done there is nothing short of spectacular. Seeing some of the horses he has bred over the years is flat-out jaw-dropping. And Al Nasser stud — my hat goes off to Manager Hendrik Mens; the farm is growing and going in the right direction. And then there is Al Waab. I have had the privilege of attending a presentation with Sheikh Saud bin Abdul Aziz bin Khalid Al Thani and what a group of horses — one after the other was superb. In years to come that program will be a force to reckon with around the world. “Qatar is a great destination for Arabian horse lovers.”

Right: The mare Rayyana Al Ali (Ashhal Al Rayyan x Asrar Al Rayyan by Al Adeed Al Shaqab).  Below: The 2011 mare Nashua Al Rayyan (Ansata Sokar x NK Nahla).

23 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Al Nasser Stud

Above: Selma Al Nasser (Ansata Selman x Dana Al Nasser) with her 2014 foal by Nadeed Al Naif and Al Nasser manager Hendrik Mens.  Right: The Marwan Al Shaqab daughter Rebab Al Nasser (x Remal Al Nasser).

D

own the Salwa Road in Mekainas, Qatar, one finds Al Nasser stud, founded around 20 years ago by Sheikh Nawaf bin Nasser Al Thani. There, surrounded by date palm groves and tamarisk trees, manager Hendrik Mens showed us so many wonderful horses when we visited last May, including the beautiful Marwan Al Shaqab daughter, Rebab Al Nasser (x Remal Al Nasser), and a super fancy EKS Alihandro colt, also out of Remal Al Nasser (Ashhal Al Rayyan x Aliah Al Nasser). The program is interesting in that it is about 75 percent straight Egyptian and 25 percent international bloodlines. Playing with the best of the best across the spectrum of bloodlines has led to some exciting show wins in the past couple of years, among them: Monther Al Nasser (Ansata Hejazi x Aliah Al Nasser), 2013 unanimous Champion Stallion at the Egyptian Event in Kentucky; Kanz Al Nasser (WH Justice x Ftoon Al Shaqab), Champion Junior Colt at the 2013 Qatar International show and Bronze Champion Yearling Colt at the All Nations Cup Aachen, and this year Champion Junior Colt at the Sharjah International show; Bdour Al Nasser (Marwan Al Shaqab x Aliah Al Nasser), Reserve Champion Yearling Filly at three Middle Eastern shows (Al 24 â–Ş WAHO QATAR 2014 â–Ş WORLD


Khalediah, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah); Farida Al Nasser (Shagran Al Nasser x Marha Al Rayyan), 2013 Qatar National Champion Filly and 2014 Qatar International Egyptian Champion Mare; and Masrata Al Nasser (Marwan Al Shaqab x Remal Al Nasser), Champion Junior Filly at Bruges and Reserve Champion Filly at the Abu Dhabi international show. “We are looking forward to breeding her next season,” says Hendrik. In the stallion barn, the eye-catching Egyptian chestnut with roaning Shagran Al Nasser (Ansata Selman x Dana Al Nasser) is being used extensively, not only by Al Nasser stud, but at other Qatari farms like Al Shaqab and Al Naif. “He is turning out to be a great sire,” notes Hendrik.

Top left: The straight Egyptian stallion Shagran Al Nasser (Ansata Selman x Dana Al Nasser).  Top right: Kanz Al Nasser (WH Justice x Ftoon Al Shaqab), 2014 Champion Junior Colt at the Sharjah International show.  Bottom left: Retired senior stallion Imperial Mahzeer (Imperial Madheen x Maar Bilahh), and also pictured bottom right at the farm visiting with WAHO conference coordinator Hannie Maasdijk. Mahzeer is the maternal grandsire of Al Shaqab’s stallion Farhoud Al Shaqab.

Also on the stallion roster is Monther Al Nasser (currently on lease to Aljassimya Farm in California). “A multiple champion and really making his mark for Aljassimya with some amazing foals,” says Hendrik. “We look forward to what this stallion can do in the future.

25 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Left: Farida Al Nasser (Shagran Al Nasser x Marha Al Rayyan), 2013 Qatar National Champion Filly and 2014 Qatar International Egyptian Champion Mare.  Center: The 2014 colt by EKS Alihandro out of Ftoon Al Shaqab.  Right: 2002 World Reserve Champion Mare Bint Saida Al Nasser (Imperial Mahzeer x Saida), now retired in Belgium.

“Our youngest stallion is Kanz Al Nasser, a son of WH Justice and out of Ftoon Al Shaqab. He has won many titles for us and is just starting to breed a limited number of mares in Europe while finishing his show season there. We are really excited for his first foals and look forward to using him on some of the Al Nasser mares next year.” Favorite broodmares include Aliah Al Nasser (Imperial Mahzeer x DYN Aliyah by Ali Jamaal), the dam of Monther Al Nasser. She has produced multiple champions for the farm, and according to Hendrik, “Her whole family is doing great in the breeding barn as well. Her daughter Remal Al Nasser (by Ashhal Al Rayyan) seems to follow in her dam’s footsteps, as she was a national champion mare and produced some outstanding champion foals of her own. “The horse that probably comes closest to our ideal of an Arabian horse is 2002 World Reserve Champion Mare Bint Saida Al Nasser (Imperial Mahzeer x Saida). Although she is retired, she blessed us over the years with some outstanding produce, not always show horses, but excellent producers, as are her granddaughters and grandsons. One of her granddaughters is Al Jazi Al Nasser who is producing some fantastic foals early

in her breeding career. This year she blessed us with a super typey Al Adeed Al Shaqab filly. Bint Saida is so typey and full of spirit that whoever sees her falls in love with her charisma, gentle attitude, and her head to die for. Although she is 19 years old now, she is still an amazing mare. “Like most breeders, we are trying every breeding season to improve on certain elements we think we are lacking, choosing stallions that complement our mares for the features we think we need to improve, sometimes with results and sometimes not — that’s the thing with breeding, you always have something to strive for and improve — there is no such thing as the perfect horse. But if there is an ‘Al Nasser’ type I think it’s this: elegant horses with beautiful refined faces, gentle characters but nice show attitudes. “We keep striving for overall correct horses with that typical refinement and elegance that our horses are known for.”

26 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Al Samariyah Farm

L

ocated near the little town of Al Shahania, west of Doha, Al Samariyah Farm is a spectacular destination. There, reflected in a man-made lake, is a replica of an ancient Qatari fort that houses the private museum of HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, who will generously open his museum to WAHO guests during the “Pride of Qatar” days. It would take days to absorb the vast collections — everything from automobiles of all types, jewelry, coins, dhows, rare manuscripts, and textiles. It seems that HE Sheikh Faisal’s interests and curiosity know no bounds. He has also created a breeding sanctuary for Qatar’s national animal, the oryx, which has been extinct in the wild since 1970. The Arabian horse has also captured HE Sheikh Faisal’s heart. He and his brother, HE Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani both breed Arabian horses at Al Samariyah, where beautiful new stables and an Equestrian Academy, open to the public, have been built since the 2011 WAHO conference. Here, three beautiful Welsh dynamos, mother and daughters Pegi, Sian, and Megan Jones, manage the farm and run a lesson program for toddlers through adults. One hundred lessons per week keep the place humming. 27 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Says HE Sheikh Faisal, “Our target this year is to take three of our best ridden horses over to the U.K. for the British summer shows with the dream of qualifying them to HOYS (Horse of the Year Show) in October. HOYS is a ridden version of the World Championships in Paris and having qualified two of our horses there previously, Ohio and Naama Al Shaqab — this year we would like to take over a strong team and hopefully come back with a fulfilled dream. “My brother, on the other hand, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani of Al Gharafa Stud, is expanding his breeding program with foals this year from the Brazilian stallion and British National Champion Ruger, Qatar International Champion Wadee Al Shaqab, Marwan Al Shaqab, and others.” We asked HE Sheikh Faisal about his popular riding lesson program, and why this program is important to him. “We started the Riding Academy a few years ago on a small scale and it really kicked off; then it was decided that we would build 28 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD

Top left: Ibn Naama Al Shaqab (Al Adeed Al Shaqab x Naama Al Shaqab), Qatar International Ridden winner 2014, ridden by Sian Jones.  Middle left: Ohio (Ras El Jadi x AZ Enigma), a Horse-of-the-Yearplaced stallion in 2010, pictured with Sian Jones.  Top right: Fadil Al Shaqab (Besson Carol x Abha Myra), ridden by Clare Fitch.  Bottom: Al Samariyah started the Riding Academy a few years ago to develop young riders.


a new Equestrian Center to develop young riders. We offer training in several disciplines in the equestrian sport,” he said. “It’s a great pleasure for me to come down to stables during the weekend and see the children and adults enjoying their riding and developing new equine skills. There is nothing more satisfying than the look on our riders’ faces when they are here enjoying the horses. Al Samariyah is a familyrun facility, managed by Pegi Jones and her daughters Megan and Sian. As they are very passionate horsewomen themselves I feel that they enjoy passing on their skills to our future riders. “I hope that when visitors leave Al Samariyah they feel as though they had — with the gazelles, Arabian oryx, and the Arabian horses — experienced the authentic Arabian heritage.” 29 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD

Top: Fadil Al Shaqab, full brother to Al Shaqab’s World Champion Fadi Al Shaqab, looking more like his lovely dam, Abha Myra. He is stunning … congratulations to his owner, Sheikh Hamad, and his caretaker, Sian. A horse couldn’t ask for a better friend than this girl!  Bottom: Elmina (Harbin x Elzunia), with her daughter Elodia (by Esparto).


Alzobara Stud

I

n the remote northeast of Qatar, Ali Al Misnad established his Alzobara stud in 2007. On this pretty little island of green, gazelles, flamingos, and hunting falcons provide the accents of Ali’s serene sanctuary. In just seven years, Ali has already experienced pride as a breeder/owner of Gold and Silver Champions. One of his foundation broodmares, Inra Al Shaqab (Wahag Al Shaqab x Johara Al Shaqab by Imperial Mahzeer), produced the 2010 filly Ghalia Alzobara (by Ashhal Al Rayyan) who won Silver Champion Filly at the 2012 Egyptian World Championships in Rome. The following year, Inra produced the handsome bay colt Sultan Alzobara (by Gazal Al Shaqab), who went on to win 2012 Gold Champion Yearling Colt at the World Championships in Paris, and 2014 Silver Junior Champion Colt at Menton.

Top left: The 2014 colt Naif Alzobara (Gazal Al Shaqab x Aliyah Alzobara).  Top right: Alzobara Stud owner Ali Al Misnad with the 2014 colt Shaman Alzobara (Marwan Al Shaqab x Aliyah Alzobara).

30 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Inra’s 2010 daughter Aliyah Alzobara (by Al Adeed Al Shaqab), produced two colts this year, one by Gazal Al Shaqab and one by Marwan Al Shaqab — a colt Ali believes may be even better than Sultan. “I can see the horse I want to breed, the one in the poem,” says Ali. “Now I am the judge … and for me, beauty is the Arabian as he was, the authentic Arabian type. The Arabian is clever, a character, his tail up, a nice mover, and he can take the heat, and a rider. “I am new, I am still learning, but my goal is to be respectful of the Arabian horse’s history, to save it, and to give other new breeders direction and pleasure. I’m not afraid of God giving me horses — I will have beautiful horses. And I want to learn to communicate with horses like I do with my falcons.” Throughout the Arab world and beyond, Ali is recognized as an expert in the art of falconry. Falconers from all over the Middle East call him with training questions. On a recent visit, Ali observed a friend’s falcon bating from her perch. He said, “This is very bad manners — I don’t like this. Yes, I can fix it but it takes time. I would never have a bird like that.” I’ve been lucky enough to talk falcons with Ali a few times in recent years, both at his house in Doha, and at his farm in

Top left: The colt Sultan Al Zobara (Gazal Al Shaqab x Inra Al Shaqab), 2012 Gold Champion Yearling Colt at the World Championships in Paris, and 2014 Silver Junior Champion Colt at Menton.  Right: The 2010 mare Ghalia Al Zobara (Ashhal Al Rayyan x Inra Al Shaqab), was Silver Champion Filly at the 2012 Egyptian World Championships in Rome.

31 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


Right: The 2014 filly Hanoof Al Zobara (Kahil al Shaqab x Aliyah Al Zobara).  Below left: Ali Al Misnad with his favorite falcon, Serheed.  Below right: A view of the presentation paddock and barns at Alzobara Stud.

Alzobara where he now lives full-time. On those occasions, the falcons are always close by; sometimes on their blocks and sometimes on our fists. There are Gyr-cross falcons in the kitchen, Peregrines and Sakers in the living room. “Some people keep their falcons away from them,” he says. “I keep mine with me. I want to see their eyes, see how they are feeling.” Ali is the last of a generation that learned falconry “before oil” when falcons actually hunted food for the families. “After oil, it’s just for sport,” he says. On this day, his favorite, an Atlai Saker from Mongolia is with us. This is Serheed, his favorite falcon, who has been with him for 16 years. He’s quivering on Ali’s fist. “He’s happy,” Ali says. “Falcons feel the heartbeat of their prey through their feet. They will not eat until it dies. He can feel my heartbeat, and he knows I am happy. He knows me, I feel him. I feel for all my birds. We build a partnership. It hurts when you lose one. It happens … and sometimes there is death. The Houbara, the hare, can kill a falcon.”

As Ali tells his stories, he expresses his gratitude to four famous falconers who taught him everything, and to the falcons themselves … “because we had so much fun. I remember those people who taught me how to handle them: my father, Abdullah al Misnad; Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; Mohammed Al Kumait; and Khalil Al Shawanie. Sitting in the majlis, they taught me about the preservation of wild spaces, about the hunt, and the code of honor; the way men acted in the camps. “You go with a group of men. Everyone is bragging about their falcons. I don’t say anything. I just let my falcon hunt, and then they are quiet.” This November, WAHO guests will not only enjoy this lovely boutique Arabian farm, but also a private falcon training center where Ali will share his knowledge and passion for this most esoteric of sports.

32 ▪ WAHO QATAR 2014 ▪ WORLD


THE FARMS: AL SHAQAB www.AlShaqab.com



AL SHAHANIA FARM www.AlShahaniaStud.com



UMM QARN www.UmmQarn.com



AL RAYYAN FARM www.AlRayyanFarm.com



AL NASSER STUD Phone: +974 55874502



AL SAMARIYAH FARM Phone: +974 55257203



ALZOBARA STUD www.Alzobara.com

HANNIE MAASDIJK WAHO Conference Coordinator Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club +974.4419.7639 路 mobile: +974.5551.5874 路 www.wahoqatar2011.com

Designed and produced by Arabian Horse World 路 09/2014

The 2014 WAHO Conference Arabian Farm Tours  

An inviting preliminary peek at the treasures awaiting lucky visitors to Qatar for the WAHO Conference in November, by Denise Hearst

The 2014 WAHO Conference Arabian Farm Tours  

An inviting preliminary peek at the treasures awaiting lucky visitors to Qatar for the WAHO Conference in November, by Denise Hearst