THE ALL NEW
PHOENIX SYNDICATE RISING
No Stopping Her
Endurance phenom Amy McAuley
MARCH / APRIL 2019
THE SHOW HUB
Let Phoenix Thoroughbreds & Phoenix Ladies Syndicate transport you to the most prestigious race meetings in the world. An innovative investment fund aiming to return annual profits to investors.
Our stock is quickly becoming globally known....
Gronkowski, Axelrod, Sands of Mali, Walking Thunder, Superior & Golden Jaguar.
All running in the Dubai World Cup Night.
Letter from the editor
Welcome to this issue of the Show Hub Magazine. It has been a busy month as always and full of new exciting experiences. With March being the month of both mothers day and International Women's Day, we decided to give our magazine over to the women who make our region's equestrian industry so amazing and diverse. In this issue you will find interviews with champions and unsung heroines - including our cover star this month, the enormously talented Amy McAuley whose success on the endurance circuit is unprecedented.
We also undertook our very first car review with a difference, taking to the dunes in the all-new Ram 1500 as a support vehicle for the Al Dhabi Pony Racing Team. I'd like to personally like thank the team for allowing us to film them and also to Abdulrahman Alabdouli at Al Abadla stables for the use of his beautiful private stable, his horse and grooms as well as his beautiful facilities for our photo shoot.
As we get into the month we are now preparing for the Dubai International Horse Fair, where will be hosting our very first horse talks with some of the leading professional in the industry. We hope to see some of you there!
Come and experience the very best in racing
Courtesy of @HamnyAlabi
TELEPHONE: +971 558808932
TriMedia Middle East
Follow The Show Hub across social media for up to the moment insight into the equestrian world
THE DIGITAL ARTIST
Terri Crowley talks us through what inspires her unique artistic creations
What to see, where to see it and when - all the best local events
We attend and review AUE Dubai's Equine Behaviour and Performance Programme
THE WONDER WOMEN
A celebration of the women who put their heart and souls into regional equestrianism
TRAVEL AND EVENTS
This season we explore the magic of Paris and the Saut Hermes CSI5*
DEALING WITH FAILURE
Our resident life-coach Sandie is here to help you cope when things aren't going your way
IN DEFENCE OF MARES
Ben Franklin talks us through his feelings on the effectiveness of mares in dressage
Equestrian headlines from the Middle East and around the world
The women of the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate on beating the boys at their own game
THE ALL-NEW RAM 1500
A truck worthy of the road, a beast at home on the sand, this pick-up turns heads!
ORIGIN OF THE RACEHORSE
An ancient discipline becomes
a spectacular international equestrian event in Abu Dhabi
Yearling Filly Champion
Owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud
A Vision MI
Owned by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Saoud Al Qassimi
Owned by Akmal Stud
Owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud
Saif Al Bidayer
Owned by Sheikh Mohamed Bin Saoud Al Qassimi
Owned by Alsaqran Arabian Horse Stud
UAE Polo win Julius Baer Gold Cup
UAE & KSA qualify for the Nations Cup in Barcelona
Sultan Ali’s Capezzano stole the thunder to shake Meydan in round 3 of the Al Maktoum Challenge G1.
Ahead of the richest race the Dubai World Cup meeting at the end of March, the five-year-old showed unbelievable form as he led from start to finish over 10 furlongs to upstage the former World Cup Winner Thunder Snow. It was Capezzano's first Group 1 win in 14 starts and the margin of victory, an astonishing 9.5 lengths, underlined his dominance going into the World Cup.
Godolphin continues supremacy on Super Saturday at Meydan
The 20th Sharjah International Arabian Show Festival Results:
Capezzano (USA) Image credit Erika Rasmusen
Team UAE set fire to the arena on the 23rd February with spectacular rounds to seal their place in the Nations Cup Final to be held in Barcelona at the end of the year. The team consisted of UAE Olympic Rider, Sheikha Latifa, H.H Sharjah Ruler Cup grand Prix Winner and previous Nations Cup final team rider Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Al Shiraa's and Nations Cup Champ Abdulla Al Marri and our newbie to the team and Asians Games representative Nadia Taryam.
Competing against the worlds best and taking 3rd overall place was a feat in itself and proof that the UAE team spirit and dedication has payed off. KSA also had storming rounds to take their qualification, lead by the Olypian Ramzy Al Duhami.
Fierce Polo action between two rivals saw a dramatic finale to the Julius Baer Gold Cup. An even chukker between teams at the start which ended at 3–2 in favour of UAE Polo. The team maintained its goal advantage with a series of goals until halftime notably from Tomas Panelo who helped his team take a decisive lead into half-time. But the Habtoor team came back with three goals from Facundo Sola and Tommy Beresford to close the gap and the teams went into the fourth chukker at 9 – 6. Facu managed to deliver two more goals at the last chukker but was not enough to outscore the UAE team who won the match 10 – 8.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum awarded the winners of the Julius Baer Gold Cup 2019. For the final awardees, Régis Burger, Head Middle East of Julius Baer (Middle East) Ltd., joined the stage to give the awards to the runner up of the Julius Baer Gold Cup 2019 final – Habtoor Polo – and the champions – UAE Polo Team.Alejandro Muzzio was awarded the Most Valuable Player and Milly, the horse he rode, was named the Best Playing Pony.
Emirates Equestrian Centre's annual Dressage Championships is always a favorite amongst the riders and spectators thanks to the superb organisation and facilities on offer.
One of the Champions on the Day was Tracy Wynguard Gill, a super rider based in the UAE who is also a coach to some of our younger riders. Tracy came away with two champion wins. On her horse Evita she went away with a win in the Advanced Medium test, while her young Mare Infatuation won the Novice.
Hylkje Fan De Finnen also put in a super show with a second in the Medium test.
Image credit - Wayne Grey
#dubaiendurance for all the latest endurance news!
Ireland's Amy McAuley has had yet another successful month in endurance. As one of the leading woman in the sport in the UAE, Amy came 2nd in the CEN 119KM Hatta Endurance Cup on board Zabeel Stables Benmaco De Saularie. an 8th of a second split her apart from the victor Saeed Hamoud Saeed Al Khayari riding Magdam for S.S Stables.
Amy went on to ride in the Dubai Crown Prince Endurance Festival Ladies Cup CEN 119km, in which Amy and Huitru X R for F3 Stables coming in 4th out of 178 starters.
Ireland's Endurance Queen
VENUE: Meydan Racecourse, Dubai
VENUE: Bou Theib, Abu Dhabi
Click for more info
VENUE: Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club, Dubai
With a prize pot of AED 50'000, this prestigious event is sure to bring out all the UAE's top Dressage Riders.
Classes range from the preliminary up to the more advanced FEI Intermediate. The event takes place at one of the largest indoor arenas in the United Arab Emirates - Bou Theib in Abu Dhabi. The competition start at 10:00 am, followed by the Unaffiliated Classes and National Classes afterwards.
Created through the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, the Dubai World Cup provides a truly global stage upon which the best horses on the world come to compete every year. On March 30th the Dubai World Cup is set to enhance its status as the worlds richest day of horse racing with a total prize across the races of 35 million dollars. With entertainment to finish the star studded event for that of International star Gwen Stefani
British Polo Day began in Dubai in 2009 with the aim of creating an invitation only global platform to build relationships with some of the world’s most dynamic and most interesting individuals, through distinct experiences hosted in iconic destinations. British Polo Day 2019 is bein hosted by Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club, Dubai.
A super day out for all the family!
VENUE: World Trade Center, Dubai
Click for more details
The 15th edition of the three-day event will showcase the latest equine products, horse therapies, riding apparel, art & decor, state of the art stables, feeds, grooming products & more.
NEW this year is a dedicated area for Falconry with the Emirates Falconers' Club.
The exhibition will once again be held alongside the prestigious Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship, a world-class competition for purebred Arabian horses.
Click for more information
Dubai World Cup the richest race in the world
HH Sheikh Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nayhan Dressage Competition
British Polo Day
A wonderful event to attend, under the patronage of H.H Sheikha Hissa Bint Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nahyan. The show promotoes purebred and part-bred Arabians as Sport Horses (for dressage and jumping) in the UAE. Competitors will compete in a series of events across the day and the champion will be crowned. Will it go to ex-endurance, ex-racehorse or a pure bred arabian?
Bring the family to one of the above dates to enjoy some of the last remaining polo matches of the 2019 season. With the weather starting to heat up it could be one of the last picnic days for a while. Join the fun-packed event and enjoy the speed and precision of the game of kings, hosted by Al Habtoor Polo Club and Resort.
The Grand Finale of the showjumping in the UAE. The Longines Final, is one event competitors hold close to their hearts.
Head along to catch some of our top talent, as well as some of the younger riders coming up through the rankings.
Come and enjoy the great coffee and support the the showjumping community .
Longines Showjumping Finals
VENUE: Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club
VENUE: Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, Dubai
VENUE: Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club
Arabian Sports Horse Championships
VENUE: Bou Theib Equestrian Club, Abu Dhabi
Dubai Polo Cup
Infinity Challenge is back
The super new initiative is back at Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club. Catering to all levels in showjumping the event supports the next generation of riders, encouraging them to compete in the big arena. A super evening and a well organised team.
She’s an internationally acclaimed equestrian artist, known for her bold vivid commissions, but just how did ‘the horse,’ become Terri Crowley’s ultimate muse? “My fascination with them began pretty young,” she says. “I’ve been involved with them pretty much since I could walk. They were in my neighbor’s backyard as a child and I would go for rides and in the carriage. I’ve always felt the excitement of being with them and witnessing their beauty,” she says.
Her bold style and use of vivid colours, is not what one immediately associates with conventional equestrian art, yet it brings a sense of the mystic to her impressive work. “How could you not fall in love with these animals?” She says. “Everything about them is so magical, and I wanted to bring that out in my paintings. I want to show how majestic and powerful these animals are, and also how kind and forgiving they can be. You can really see this in their eyes. I truly believe their eye is their soul, and if I can’t get the eye perfectly, I will start over.”
Terri’s style and the mediums she uses have evolved over time. “I first started working in pencil, which I loved. There was no color and I wanted the viewer to imagine what the color would be. Then I went into watercolor and acrylics. Watercolor gave me the opportunity to create that dreamy look, but the acrylics led me more in the direction I am working in now. Bright and bold colour.”
“I stumbled across the next medium, painting digitally. It basically means I use a pen and tablet as my brush and canvas. Many people think the computer is doing all the work but that is far from the truth. The computer is just a tool and the paintings are still produced the same way I do my traditional pieces. I created a unique style using this tool, allowing me to combine different mediums all at once. When the digital work is done it is then printed on museum-quality canvas using inks which last over 100 years, but I take it one step further. I then paint on top with acrylic paint to create a truly one-of-a-kind original art piece.”
Terri has painted everything from adored children’s ponies through to staggering ‘one-off,’ remembrance pieces for jumpers, dressage and reining horses. She says, “I honestly love painting all horses because each one has its own story to tell.” “Recently I have been involved in doing a series with Friesians and Andalusians, anything with the long flowing mane, forelock and tail. I am loving the windswept, dreamy look and applying my style of bold colors. I love the light, power, and majesty of a horse in motion,” she says.
To find out more about Terri’s work and commission pieces please visit: website terricrowleyart.com or follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
Mare Weihegold OLD
In the past, mares have had a bad reputation, often considered tricky and unreliable. Yet, in today’s modern sports world, mares seem at last to have throw-off the stigma and are coming out on top. We speak to top dressage rider Ben Franklin to find out his views…
Charlotte Dujardin riding her new mare Mount St. John
Mares have certainly become more evident in top level sport over the past few years with much more focus recently being placed on the positive attributes that they have to offer. We know you are a fan of mares - how many are you riding at the moment?
Currently we have eight mares at our facility, three of which I am producing for competition work which I really enjoy as they are all such different characters!
What in your view are the positives in competing mares?
Personally, I find that training a mare can be one of the most rewarding aspects of riding; forming the bond and understanding between you and a mare can be such a special element. Mares can be easily misunderstood, and approach is everything; as much as riding and training can be frustrating at times, this must be put to one side and a resolution found. Mares are clever and like a system to be in place. With a consistent and methodical approach, anything is possible. Without this, chaos may ensue!
You mentioned that mares are often clever and like a system, do you find that this can work against you when they start to anticipate what you want in for example a dressage test?
As long as the training is kept varied and the exercises used to train a mare are interesting and not too repetitive then there are normally minimal issues. As with any horse a good variety in the work is key to prevent them getting stale and to prevent anticipation.”
When varying your routine, do you ever find they are inclined to question you – turning right at the end of the drive instead of the normal route which is left for example?
“Indeed, this can be a problem! However, this may pose an issue for any horse that is overly comfortable with a routine or has a more fixed approach to his/her work. It is advisable to keep this element at the front of your mind on a daily basis and to work around it by always gently altering the routine without causing undue stress/tension.”
Do you find that mares can be fussier about accepting ‘the leg?’
This is an ongoing problem for a lot of riders with mares and can be a particular issue when they are coming into season. Personally, I find that you can reduce the impact of this by using a lot of lateral work day to day within the training so that they become used to moulding around the rider’s leg aid which reduces the inclination to evade and ‘push back’ which is a common problem.
Lateral work including exercises such as shoulder in and leg yield is very useful for horses of all stages of training, these help the horse to accept the aid and reduce the tendency for the rider to lose control of the horses shoulders. Once the horses become more established in their training travers and renvers are particularly useful to encourage the horse to bend through the whole body and improve suppleness.”
What have you learnt about the attitude to mares from your time spent abroad?
Having spent a lot of time in Germany over the past couple of years it is clear to see that the German system positively promotes mares; after all they are an essential part of their breeding industry. However, this goes much deeper than you would expect on first glance. The Germans invest a lot of time, effort and money in their breeding programmes. Research and learning about the dam lines is essential for progression with the breeding goals. A top-quality broodmare can go for unlimited sums of money – their genetics are invaluable!
I understand that mares are performance tested in Germany. What does that actually entail?
This is a very straightforward and simple process to follow and understand and gives a clear comparison between horses to assess their strengths, whilst also helping to assess areas for improvement when choosing suitable stallion partners for future breeding.
Just as an example, the Oldenburg Breed Society test is open to mares that have registration papers and has three distinct phases:
Free Jumping and At Liberty: The mares are presented to the judges in a snaffle bridle and may wear boots and bandages. Firstly, the mares are run in trot and canter loose. They are then required to jump 3 jumps, the first being a small cross-rail, then a small oxer or vertical 7 metres away, followed by another oxer 7-7.20m away, the height is raised incrementally to test the mares’ scope and ability.
Under Saddle: The three gaits are assessed under saddle and are assessed in working and medium tempo, in groups of three horses following the commands of the judges. The idea is to assess the horses’ paces and accuracy is not judged like in a normal dressage test.
Test rider: After the judging of the gaits the test rider will judge the mares for ride-ability and this will last for around five-minutes per mare.
After the ridden elements, the mares are then shown in hand in their bridles without their saddle for conformation judging. If the mare successfully passes with an overall score of 6.5 and the conformation is judged to be good, then the mare will be awarded the title “Verbands Premium Mare”. The owner will receive an award plaque and the designations will be stamped on the registration papers.
Tell us about the ‘Special Premium Mare?’
Mares that score with a 7.0 or higher and with conformation judged to be very good by the judges, then she is considered a Special Premium Mare.
Isabel Werth riding champion Bella Rose
ith the Dubai World Cup just around the corner, we take a look at the incredible origins of the iconic and thoroughly global Thoroughbred horse and how the breed’s origins all began back in the deserts of the Middle East.
The Thoroughbred, the world’s most valuable horse. The best are known for their speed, their power and the ability to captivate an entire nation. Through the ages we’ve seen Secretariat, Red Rum, Man O War and Phar Lap to name a few of the best, yet each and every one links back to three-foundation sires who all originated in our region.
The Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerley Turk, were all Arabian horses, and each arrived nearly 300 years ago directly from the Middle East.
THE ORIGIN OF THE RACEHORSE
The Darley Arabian becomes the leading sire of Great Britain and Ireland.
Captain Robert Byerley captures a magnificent stallion while in Hungary. He admires the horse’s courage in battle, rides it through the remainder of his Crusade and then brings it home to England. The stallion is named the Byerley Turk and begins breeding with native mares and sires many foals. He is described as a horse of elegance, courage and speed.
Things get murkier when Thomas Darley, a diplomat in Aleppo Syria ‘steals’ the Darley Arabian from a Bedouin Sheikh after the initial deal goes sour. The horse is then smuggled back to England via Turkey. The Sheikh wrote to queen Anne of England lamenting that his horse had been stolen, however the Queen did not interject and the Sheikh request for the return of the horse fell on deaf ears.
The era of modern racing begins with the age of racehorses reducing to three-years-old and the inauguration of the St Leger, The Oaks and The Derby races.
The Godolphin Arabian is small and initially only used as a teaser until a mare called Lady Roxana arrives to be covered by another stallion. She rejects her mate and they cover her with The Godolphin Arabian instead. The resulting foal, Lath, then goes on to win the Queen’s Plate nine times out of nine. The Godolphin Arabian’s legacy is born.
English racing becomes dominated by the offspring of the three stallions. Entry requirements dictate horses must be six-years-old to compete.
The Godolphin Arabian arrives from Yemen. Originally a gift to the king of France the horse is discarded by the royal and found pulling a cart in Paris. He then changed hands several times before being bought by the second Earl of Godolphin in 1733.
Eclipse is born under a solar eclipse. His great, great grandsire is the Darley Arabian and although he never actually runs a race, he becomes the sire that almost 90 percent of all Thoroughbreds today are descended from.
The Melbourne Cup the most significant race in the southern hemisphere is inaugurated.
Eleven of the world’s top racehorses compete in Dubai’s inaugural Dubai World Cup. America’s Cigar wins the impressive purse, and Dubai is placed firmly on the map as a centre for top racing action.
Racehorses return to their Arabian roots when Sheikh Mohammed, Sheikh Hamdan and Sheikh Ahmed make the revolutionary decision to leave the bitter English winter behind and bring some of their horses home to Dubai and Godolphin Stud is born.
Man-o-War is born, he is directly descended from The Godolphin Arabian and goes on to lose only one race in his immensely impressive career. His stride length is measured at an incredible 8.5 metres.
Until now, breeding records are incomplete. James
Weatherby sets about collecting the breeding data and accesses private stud books. His resulting research and consolidation efforts create the first edition of the General Stud Book.
The first running of the Kentucky Derby is held at Churchill Downs.
Secretariat is born. Initially considered, ‘too pretty to race,’ he went on to become the first ever two-year-old to be crowned ‘Horse of the Year,’ then in 1973 won the Triple Crown. He went on to set the top speed record for the Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby which still stand today.
The Dubai Gold Cup is held at Meydan for the first time. With 10 million dollars up for grabs, it is the world’s richest horse racing meet.
Research finds that 95% of modern racehorses can be traced back to a single stallion – the Darley Arabian, born in 1700.
Dubai Millenium wins the Dubai World Cup, he repeats the victory in 2000 and is crowned Best Racehorse in the World.
Godolphin Lifetime Care is founded to ensure all Godolphin horses are cared for after their racing career finishes.
The Dubai World Cup event sees a prize pot of US$30 million (Dhs110,190,000) across nine top-class races. Godolphin’s own Thunder Snow wins the main event and takes home the staggering US$10million (AED 36,730,000) prize.
Golden Jaguar (USA)
Ahmad bin Harmash - Connor Beasley wins the Meydan Classic Trial Sponsored by Mina Rsshid Marina Conditions at the fifth Dubai World Cup Carnival race meeting on January 31st, 2019
Image Credit - Erika Rasmussen
The women of the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate are putting the boys to shame with a superb winning record and a model which uses expertise and intuition in equal measure.
Walking Thunder (USA) Ahmad bin Harmish - Connor Beasley wins the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial Sponsored by Strata Conditions at the second Dubai World Cup Carnival race meeting on January 10th, 2019.
Image credit: Dubai Racing Club - Erika Rasmussen
t was only one day after announcing the launch of the Phoenix Ladies Syndicate (PLS), the group’s horse, Walking Thunder, a two-year old son of Violence, stormed the 1,400 metre Emirates Holidays maiden. However the all-women syndicate hasn’t stopped there, in the six short months since starting, the syndicate has racked-up an impressive near 50% winning rate, with five winners from 12 runs, quite remarkable for a syndicate still in its infancy.
Established to increase female participation in racing, the all-women syndicate is an off-shoot of the successful Dubai-based Phoenix Thoroughbreds model.
“It’s a spin-off from Phoenix Thoroughbreds,” says principal Pamela Cordina. “It was handed to us as a challenge, which we took on, and we’ve been successful in just six-months… honestly it’s been a dream!
“None of the women had out-right experience in the equine industry. Like all successful businesses we surrounded ourselves with people who know what they’re talking about, and where we lack, they fit in. It’s a chain - where I fall short, my partners pick up the slack, and vice versa.”
The PLS equine committee consists of their trainer, the Phoenix Thoroughbreds CEO, various bloodstock agents and of course, the five women. On the selection process, Pamela says: “We decide which sales we wish to participate in; we then go through the catalogues, shortlist the horses we are interested in; carefully consider their pedigrees; discuss our choices with our bloodstock agent for their feedback (an absolute must whenever we are shopping for horses) and, of course we never lose sight of the fact that we have budgets allocated which we have to stick to.”
When asked specifically how the Syndicate chose their horses for PLS Pamela says “the first thing we looked for was the pedigree, then the cost, and primarily young horses with a lot of potential. Then we tried to visualise how they will be – albeit, of course, we don’t have a crystal ball. With our relatively small budget for PLS we looked at two-year olds and we took our time to see if we could grab a bargain. As regards which trainers PLS uses Pamela said “At the moment we have two trainers in Dubai, however, moving forward, it is our intention to use different trainers in different parts of the world.
While the investors are not involved in the purchasing ‘decision making,’ Pamela points out, they are involved in the ‘process’ of that decision. She says, “they know and understand the decision-making process step by step.”
Currently, PLS has 11 horses in training, the best of these to date is Walking Thunder, trained by Ahmad bin Harmash and ridden by Connor Beasley he recently romped home in the UAE 2000 Guineas trial. Pamela says of the win: “It was a pinch-me moment- just seeing him go into the field… it’s a huge, HUGE deal!”
“The emotions that these animals can give us, and the love and the connection is unbelievable and something I have never experienced before… only horses can elicit these emotions!”
Walking Thunder’s next big race will be the Dubai World Cup on 30th March. “There’s a lot of excitement and build-up,” she says. “It’s like a big family wedding coming up - its that sort of anticipation.”
There’s already been talk of Walking Thunder heading to the US for the Kentucky Derby and eventually the Triple Crown.
“Justify did it, so why can’t we?” Pamela says. “The philosophy of our company is you can dream… and you’re allowed to dream big… work toward that!”
To date, PLS has won over 1 million Dirhams. Due to their early take up of subscriptions, PLS is now fully subscribed, however a second syndicate, PLS 2, is now underway and the team are currently building the platform.
“We’re playing with the big boys now, in this business you earn your respect,” says Pamela. “And yes, it is perceived as a male game, when they see these little ladies coming in, because we’re so excited…we’ve already upset them!”
The PLS team are passionate about creating a ‘female driven’ collaborative and supportive environment. They’ve utilised various investor skills to develop areas of the group such as the website and marketing materials.
“There’s a lot of respect for the whole team, we listen to each other and we laugh with each other and that’s the recipe for us - it has worked.”
Another area they are keen to develop is the CSR side of PLS. “We’re very keen to give back to our community,” says Pamela. “We’ve looked at how we can get kids into the stables to learn and explore and we’re also developing a programme for equine therapy for humans.”
“Fundamentally, we want to not only educate people in the equine industry but we want to share the benefits that spending time with horses has to offer.”
Svetlana Reymancheck, Theresa Starr, Pamela Cordina and Connor Beasley accept the trophy for the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial. Image Credit: Dubai Racing Club - Erika Rasmussen
Given the ease of transporting genetic material, the sire often gets the main plaudits when it comes to the lineage of the world’s greatest horses. But it takes two to tango – or even trot – so we’ve had a look through the archives to see how the distaff side has contributed.
In doing so, we have come to the conclusion that perhaps one of the most consistently brilliant broodmares in racing history – is the Kentucky-born thoroughbred Fall Aspen. Born in 1976, Fall Aspen had something of a stellar career in her own right, winning eight of 20 starts and finishing runner-up in a further three races. Her career earnings totalled $198,000, mostly in 1978 when she was a two-year-old.
But it was as a broodmare that Fall Aspen truly carved her name into racing history. Her potential was recognisable, borne out by her $600,000 selling price in 1980. Four years later she was auctioned again, this time for $900,000. By 1987, her price had risen to $1.1 million and at her final sale in 1994 she went for a princely $2.4 million. Given the quality of her foals, her rise in value is hardly surprising. With 13 of 14 of her foals starting races, 11 were winners.
Fall Aspen’s name appearing in a list of antecedents became a sure sign of quality, boosting her value and giving her the title of Kentucky’s ‘Broodmare of the Year’ in the same 1994 season that she fetched $2.4 million.
Two foals from Fall Aspen are particularly stand-out examples of breeding quality – Colorado Dancer and Timber Country. Colorado Dancer was born in 1986 and sired by Shareef Dancer. She had a solid, if unremarkable, racing career for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, but her progeny have more than compensated.
Colorado Dancer is the mother to Dubai Millennium, a horse of outstanding racing ability – winning nine races from 10 starts, including the Dubai World Cup. Sadly, Dubai Millennium succumbed to grass sickness at just five years of age. However, Dubai Millennium gave us Dubawi, who though now retired has wins in many top international races, including the Irish 2000 Guineas. Dubawi’s own progeny are now starting to climb the ranks as are other direct descendants of Dubai Millennium and Colorado Dancer.
Timber Country, Fall Aspen’s other outstanding foal, was born in 1992 and sired by Woodman, a champion two-year-old Irish stallion. Woodman did not have Fall Aspen’s racing pedigree, winning three races from five starts and earning a paltry $30,000. But he did have some success as a sire, most notably with Hansel who won the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in 1991. Timber Country also took top honours at the 1995 Preakness Stakes, and is grand-dam to Mukhadram – a multiple Group 1 winner. Timber Country is now retired to the stables of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, having made her own significant contribution to the enduring legacy of Fall Aspen and her near-legendary status as one of the all-time great mares.
t is fair to say I’m coming into this review a little biased. I have a soft spot for the pick-up truck, and over the years I’ve struggled to keep a lid on it (the soft spot, that is).
I hanker for the pick-up in a way that makes me need to lock up my chequebook. As a card-carrying Englishwoman, the pick-up was not really part of the vehicular landscape that I grew up with – too expensive to run, too large to park, too exposed to carry anything of value in the back. Its natural habitat was more likely the wide-open roads of the US than the narrow hedge-lined single-track lanes with which I was familiar. But moving to the Middle East really turned me on to what these behemoths are actually about – power, precision, and in many cases, luxury. Which brings me neatly to the all-new RAM 1500 – possibly one of the finest looking specimens you will ever have seen on the pick-up market, but still very much a truck.
Ram has often – unfairly in my opinion – played third fiddle to market-leaders Ford and GM, who are constantly battling it out for market supremacy in what has been called the “truck wars”. But while the main contenders have been duking it out, RAM has come up with its own idea of pick-up perfection, and let me first say it’s a damn fine offering – and one that signals that the truck wars are heating up nicely.
Looking at the front end, it is curvaceous without being cartoonish, towering without feeling overblown or overinflated – all in a way that is unlike other trucks on the market. So many large pick-ups in recent years look more like chest freezers on wheels, yet the 1500 does not fall into this trap.
The overall stance feels absolutely correct – as do the proportions. So much so that it is easy to forget just how big it is. Only when parking (or trying to wash it!) did I really appreciate its size. Thankfully, its running boards make getting on and off surprisingly easy – perhaps even elegant. And it’s flash too, with an abundance of bright work across the body but most notably up front. Metallic finishes dominate the front end with its gigantic grill/front bumper/logo combination. This could arguably be called a little conspicuous, but much like a cowboy’s rhinestone belt buckle, it draws the eye towards the main event – the engine bay.
ENGINE SPECS AND DRIVABILITY
Engines have long been one of the calling cards of vehicles that fall under the FCA banner. From Jeep to Chrysler, Dodge to Ram, the quality and durability of the engines has been extraordinarily good – and this one is no different. The legendary 5.7-litre HEMI V8 shines yet again and only gets better with each incarnation. Its application here strikes a pitch-perfect balance between out-and-out grunt and a subtlety, efficiency, and performance that never stopped surprising. With 395 hp at 5,600 rpm, and 410 lb-ft of torque, the engine is linked to a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission that makes the truck positively genteel when it needs to be, or an animal when unleashed – a bear in sheep’s clothing.
When turned out to the wide-open spaces, it is effortlessly powerful and perhaps most important, at least to me, it is loud. True, the engine noise has had the roughness taken off the edges, but Ram have done so without completely squashing its timbre. It still had an appreciably throaty quality that a vehicle of that size demands. But when you are sat inside, you hardly notice it. Acoustic glass and a highly advanced active noise cancellation system reduce ambient sounds to a mere 67.1 decibels, making it the quietest Ram 1500 ever.
The Ram pick-up truck has always been known for its on-road smoothness, but has battled to be regarded as a true rugged vehicle – but the maker has stuck to its guns and delivered here: capability off- road but with comfort and appointment as a priority. This is a duel-purpose car – something that you can use to hitch your horsebox to, and something that you wouldn’t be ashamed to drop off at valet parking once it’s been hosed down.
It is also light, with Ram engineers managing to cut just over 100 kg from its last ideation. And it’s extremely aerodynamic, thanks to extensive wind tunnel testing. The 1500 also uses active aerodynamics technology, including grille shutters, air dam, and air suspension. They all help make the new 1500 as streamlined as a sedan, which is really something special. I drove through a pretty hectic sandstorm and it cut through the wind as easily as a much smaller car. Although the truck was buffeted, I wasn’t fighting to keep it on the road.
HITCHING THE TOW
Now to the business end of the review: the usability of the truck for genuine towing and utility work. As we all know, towing trailers can be an utter headache – get them hitched up, manoeuvre into perfect position etc. If you were to attempt this without technology, the general visibility and lack of blind spots makes manoeuvring the truck relatively simple, but some clever cookie at Ram has made it so much easier.
Available for the first time on the all-new 2019 Ram 1500, a 360-degree surround view camera gives a bird’s-eye perspective from four cameras positioned around the vehicle. The fully-stitched image helps the driver to perfectly align the hitch to the trailer. I engaged the cameras and set about lining it up. I suspected it could take a couple of bites at the cherry to get it spot on – but nope. All good at the first go. It really could not be simpler to do – and I can confidently say, it is possible for even the most novice driver to position and set up the hitch single-handed. This is further simplified by the smart suspension settings (available in Laramie and Limited variants) meaning the truck can be lowered or raised as needed, lifting the tow hitch to the appropriate height to be connected.
And once it was, the torque and power available meant that the truck wafted about completely unperturbed. You’d forget it was even there if you didn’t look in the rear-view mirror.
The styling throughout the interior is something to behold. You genuinely do get reservations about using the truck for the purposes it was built to perform. Even though the car did not belong to me, I hated the idea of getting sand near the beautifully-appointed luxury of ventilated leather seats (front and rear), or sticky fingers coming anywhere near the 12-inch reconfigurable touchscreen – which initially seems excessively large, until you come to understand how intuitive and well-proportioned it actually is: a product of the award winning fourth-generation U-connect system which is paired to a superb Harman Kardon speaker system. The abundance of high-end interior fitment was really very classy with strips of satin and gloss, chrome and open-pore real-wood accents throughout.
It’s also got business-class levels of legroom in the rear. RAM have somehow found an additional 10 cm and given it to the cabin so that rear passengers have best-in-class legroom of 114.6 cm and seats that recline by up to eight degrees for added comfort. This doesn’t even include the more than 151 litres of additional storage volume that has been crammed into the cabin, including a reimagined centre console with 12 storage configurations that offer never-before-seen customisation.
This means there is enough room inside for kids, schoolbags, dogs, small goats, saddles, tack, and anything else you can think of. And the flatbed with automatic tailgate can accommodate whatever else you may need that you don’t have room or inclination to put in the cab. Additionally there is an enormous sunroof which lets light flood the cabin making it seem even larger.
Once I got over my dirt reservations and had twisted, pressed and lifted the relevant knobs dials and switches we were ready to get this bad boy dirty and put it to genuine work. And boy does it perform. Full disclosure, I had driven this car at its launch previously in its Rebel, Laramie and Limited incarnations, and I was aware of the potential of the vehicle for rocky terrain and softer sand, but to take it out and put it through its paces in a more specific fashion while out shadowing a team of aspiring young jockeys, it simply sailed alongside – its quiet engine purring quietly keeping the horses calm as it wafted past thanks to its unique link-coil rear suspension system Frequency Response Damping (FRD) shocks. It performs beautifully without the need to bellow and holler which was pretty extraordinary, but flatten your foot and you will find rewards in rooster tails and power slides. Once out in the desert it took all of five minutes for a fellow RAM driver to sidle alongside and give me the thumbs up. “Can you make it donut – just a little?” I will not comment as to whether I relented to his request or not.
The Show Hub reviews AUE's Equine Behaviour and Performance Programme
Dubai has a reputation for putting on some of the biggest and best shows, concerts and displays, and when it comes to equine learning opportunities it would seem, the city does not disappoint.
Last month, we were lucky enough to attend the latest equine education offering in the UAE as the American University of the Emirates launched its Equine Behaviour and Performance Programme – a week-long exploration of some of the newest technologies and research into performance. The course was facilitated by Dr Angelo Telatin, assistant professor at Delaware Valley College Equine Science and Management Department and one of only 64 British Horse Society Fellows in the world, alongside Dr Jane Dr Williams, Head of Animals and Agriculture at Hartpury University.
It began with Dr Telatin demonstrating his effective technique to modify equine behaviour.
Classes were held both in the university itself and at various top local equestrian yards and the visits allowed students to experience first-hand how quickly and effectively Dr Telatin’s techniques can change equine behaviour patterns. Students witnessed and huge variety of techniques suited to all aspects of equine husbandry.
Dr Telatin bases all his work on learning theory, or put more simply, the science behind ‘how’ horses learn, and for many course attendees – it was clearly a breath of fresh air. There are no copyrighted theories, merchandise, branded courses or training programmes: it’s science and the principles and practices are all backed by research and practice.
During the course, students visited several UAE based stables to see Telatin’s work in action. Telatin openly welcomed horses with issues, from an endurance horse afraid to take a bottle, to another terrified of needles.
Out in the arena, Telatin demonstrated time and again, why he considers a long-low outline to be essential to any equine discipline. He showed how, within 20 to 30 minutes of riding any horse brought to him, he can remove the bridle, and working to disassociate the horse from historical issues it may have inherited from previous riders’ hands, start working it into an outline with only the use of a simple neck rein.
Back in the classroom, Dr Jane Williams highlighted the importance of training, the use of technology, especially the new-generation heart-monitors which allow trainers to understand exactly where and how the horse is working. She then ran through the current use of walkers, pools, treadmills and water-treadmills and discusses the scientific research and findings behind each.
The course, one of its kind in the UAE, brought together the newest research in both behaviour and performance science – in one place.
“It’s removing the mumbo-jumbo of training,” said one attendee. “This isn’t natural horsemanship, it doesn’t sell programmes, videos or training aids, it’s the simple practice of taking exactly what we know about how horses learn and applying it to change behaviour.”
“I’ve learned enough this week to know that over 90 percent of my horses’ issues were created by me or the people who handle them. However, now I have the foundations in place to not only stop the mis-handling, but also to help them change.”
Dr Telatin, had a learning experience of his own in Dubai. In the US, most of his work is with Warmbloods, and he noted continually throughout the course how intelligent he found the Arabian horses, and how quickly they learn. “It usually can take a month with a large dressage horse, but these guys pick it up in a few minutes,” he said. However, for those working with Arabians this is clearly a double-edged sword, as Telatin pointed out, that while the breed offers incredibly fast trainability, it also means they will pick up behaviour issues and problems equally as rapidly.
It was clear to all the attendees that Dr Williams and Dr Telatin have presented similar programmes of this calibre due to the obvious comradery and respect they have for one another. Their lectures and demonstrations dovetailed perfectly and their respect and pleasure in each other’s work was infectious. And, for those lucky enough to participate in the programme, the whistle-stop tour of some of the newest training, riding and handling research and techniques from two of the world’s top professors in equine science was an illuminating and memorable experience.
To find out more about upcoming American University of the Emirates equine programmes please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“I’ve learned enough this week to know that over 90 percent of my horses’ issues were created by me or the people who handle them."
Equine leaders share their industry
updates with you!
Dubai international horse fair
at the show hub stand
on FRIDAY MARCH 22ND
Dr Leonardo Mataruna - AUE's Equine Education
Annie Haresign - Horseprogram
Harriet Fortune - Equine Science
Dr Judy Maxwell - Nutritionist/Vet
David Robson - Equitrans & Quarantine Measures
Pamela Cordina - Phoenix Ladies Syndicate
Shirley Sewell- Equine Osteopath
Join us for the discussions at the following times:
We all know the old saying, ‘tell a gelding, ask a stallion and discuss it with a mare,’ and although that might well have been true several decades ago, with the advances in medical science- it would seem most top riders are now simply ‘telling it’ to the mares too…
It’s well accepted that many mares who have issues around their oestrus cycle. Whether that’s the somewhat extreme colic-like back issues during the peri-ovulatory period, or just a case of the ‘grumps’ around actual ovulation. Either way, people believe there’s a whole world of trouble associated with competing a mare, but should they?
First: The Anatomy Lesson
Although all mares differ, the average oestrous cycle is 22 days. The oestrus phase of the cycle is when the mare is receptive to the stallion and last six to eight days. The dioestrus phase, is the remainder of the cycle, when she is not interested in the stallion and generally occurs 24 to 48 hours after ovulation.
Contributor and dressage rider, Ben Franklin says, “it’s true… in a few cases mares may prove very difficult to train reliably and compete at high levels… but this is changing thanks to improved veterinary resources like hormone regulation, marbling and more, today training mares has become a real joy for many more people.”
High plasma progesterone levels not only suppress oestrus behaviours in mares, but it also inhibits the secretion of luteinising hormone- an increase in which triggers ovulation. The most well-known brand of progestin treatment is Regumate.
Ben says, “hormone regulators such as ‘Regumate’ can be very useful in day to day management of mares, however it should be noted that some riders and trainers believe the drug creates a loss of ‘spark’ and can have an impact on sensitivity, movement and overall presence in some circumstances.”
It should be noted that these types of drugs require a great deal of care in their handling, especially if it is being administered by women. Those at particular risk are women who are pregnant, of child bearing age and those with some specific forms of tumours. Care should also be taken to avoid cross-contamination with other horses.
“Vets advise that mares are given a few months off of the drug per year to allow the hormone cycle to settle naturally,” says Ben. “Ideally this is best timed during the winter months when oestrus cycles naturally reduce in intensity/frequency.”
The GnRH hormone Injection
Although not fully licensed globally, several countries have approved the injection of the GnRH hormone to stop behavioural oestrus. The injection does carry several implications and those who intend on breeding from the mare later in her career may be advised not to use the drug. Reports indicate that a percentage of mares continue to display ‘seasonal behaviours,’ while older mares may require several doses of the medication for it to work effectively. Some owners noted their mares entered a very prolonged suppression of reproductive cyclicity, while others found their mares did not cycle again after treatment.
The insertion of a 30 to 35mm glass or plastic bead also known as a marble, can work in some circumstances. The procedure involves placing the ‘marble’ into the mare’s cervix immediately after ovulation.
While the procedure does not require drugs, it does have several associated issues, and in recent years the technique has begun to fall out of favour. Lost or damaged marbles can affect the mare’s reproductive organs, while failure to disclose the marble during sale has ethical issues attached. Removal of the marble can also cause issues.
Before embarking on any treatment, horse owners are urged to consult their vet. Verification of oestrus related problems can be done through a variety of methods including; ultrasonography and serum progesterone analysis.
A MARE OF A TIME
Founder and director of The Show Hub, Abby Blom has been an integral part of the UAE's equestrian scene for 5 years now. Beginning her local equestrian career in the HoofBeatz ground-breaking display team, she then moved onto show-jumping launching The Show Hub- a place to locate local events, schedules and results.
Since 2014 the site has grown and evolved into the region's biggest English language hub for equestrian news, views and events. “The UAE’s equestrian scene is filled with such incredible talent and I just wanted to create a platform to show the world what we have here,” she says.
Back in October 2018, Abby was invited to TED-X Oman to discuss how equestrianism has inspired and driven her career and life, and in the process- inspiring other women to start riding and consider careers within the equestrian industry.
Today, The Show Hub is not only the region's top online magazine, but the brand has reached out into innovative women's equestrian wear, branded equipment, events, and some even bigger regional projects set to launch later in 2019.
“I’m passionate about helping women in our industry. Whether that be about profiling local talent, encouraging others to discover the sport or creating my new Jodkas, range of jodhpurs which allow women in the region to ride in a modest yet entirely modern outfit.”
The Flag Bearer
How long have you been riding?
I’ve been around horses since I was born but joined regular lessons at the pony club when I was about four.
Tell us about how you approach training?
I think everyone has something to teach us so I like keeping an open mind to learn from everyone I come across and from every situation I’m faced with. I consider each experience and decide whether it is a good or bad a lesson.
What so far, is your greatest success?
It’s hard to say which is my greatest success. I’ve had many wonderful moments in the sport but I’d say my Bronze medal at the Youth Olympics, several Grand Prix placings (3,4*) and riding the WEG in 2018, are probably my best to date.
Tell us about your favourite horse?
Toscanini Malpic, he’s the best partner I could wish for, we just have such an affinity. I always believed in him from the second I saw him. He was jumping the lower level (140 classes) and after six-months together we did our first CSIO 5* GP in Rome and qualified for the WEG. Let’s just say words cannot express what he means to me!
What would your advice be to young women hoping to follow in your footsteps?
In terms of advice I think it’s crucial to always have a clear objective. Knowing what you want means you’re already half way there… the rest is simply strategy and perseverance.
And, what about plans for the future?
For this year, I’d like to jump a few 5* shows and focus on bringing-on a few of my “younger” horses, the ones I really believe in, up to a higher level… and the rest? It will be a surprise...
Former war-correspondent, riding instructor and founder of the new and intriguing ‘The Horse Program,’ Annie Haresign’s equestrian career has been anything but conventional.
Can you tell us when and how your love affair with horses began?
It all began at the age of three-years old when my neighbour asked to take me to the local stables - from that visit onwards, my love affair with horses began. My parents and siblings really didn’t like animals at all, so it was very strange for them to have a pony-mad person in their home. I do remember bringing one of the highland ponies home and my parents were in shock to find this hairy beast tied to the washing line in their back garden as I tried to make a show jump out of kitchen chairs and a branch of a tree.
Your equestrian career has been extensive- can you give us a whistle-stop tour?
I began teaching other children at a very early age as that was the way back in the 80’s. My passion for sharing my love of horses only developed from there, when I moved to Germany I took up polo and years later began teaching it to beginners. The HPA UK trained me and I was the first under-handicapped player to become a recognised coach. I also ran pony schools for young children and managed riding schools in my spare time teaching dressage and showjumping and latterly, Western riding.
I’ve also been involved with rehabilitation courses using horses and also ran a large horse sanctuary too. Here in Dubai I have been a centre manager, equestrian manager and also consult in the running and managing of equine facilities.
You are also a war correspondent; how do you think journalism has worked with equestrianism in your career?
Working with the Forces has taken me all over the world, on training exercises and operational theatres. I’ve reported from conflict zones such as Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq for television and radio.
I think the opportunity to travel to so many countries, meet so many professional equestrians and access to amazing trainers has been the equestrian gift my broadcasting job gave me. I think if I had stayed in Scotland, I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to follow my dreams, and the setting up of polo and riding schools would ever have been possible. As a journalist or broadcaster, you need to be able to communicate to anyone and everyone and that job really helped develop the confidence required when coaching and teaching riding.
Where to now?
I have been working on a number of projects over the past few months and I’m really very pleased to be in the process of launching ‘The Horse Program.’ The concept is not new, and has had impressive results in the US and Europe. Basically, we take teaching soft skills and emotional intelligence, out of the classroom and into the stable. Here, the horse becomes the teacher, and via guided interactions attendees develop ‘emotional intelligence’ and learn essential ‘life skills’ such as confidence, communication, empathy and emotional control.
It’s really a very exciting project, but right now I can’t say too much more… Clients learn basic horsemanship, achieve personal development goals and can gain Internationally recognized awards at an additional cost.It’s a communication and leadership program where I use horses to help humans work on their personal and professional development.
What would your advice be to other women hoping to work in the industry?
I think that they really need to gain as much experience as possible from as many equestrian professionals as possible. I remember an old German riding instructor I had, who said to me “It takes more than 3 lifetimes to ride and know horses” and of course, like anything, the more you learn, the more you realise that you know very little at all. Knowledge and keeping an open mind to new practices is, in my mind, essential. Every day is a ‘school day’ when you work with horses as they have a lot to teach us.
Annie has reported from Iraq and Kosovo
How and where did you begin your equestrian career?
I began sitting-on and doing pony-rides at around four years-old. Real riding began with ponies, at Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club and have been riding there ever since. They are a really big support to me, as is The Sharjah Women’s Sport Club and I'm very grateful for it!
Tell us about your trainers?
I learned all the basics from an English riding school instructor. There have been a few others over the years too, but for the last 10 years I’ve been training with my current trainer Andre Heller from Germany.
Tell us about your most significant wins?
I really have a lot of great riding memories… representing the UAE at the FEI Children’s Finals in South Africa. The Arab Games a few years ago as well as the latest Asian Games in 2018. A very special win for me personally, was the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2014. This year I was a member of the UAE team participating in the FEI Nations Cup in Abu Dhabi where we achieved the bronze… I was very proud to be on that team!
What can we learn from our horses?
I have ridden many horses over the years and they are all different and have their own special qualities. Each horse teaches you something unique and this enables you to adapt and develop your riding… ultimately it’s this, which improves how you will ride each horse in the future.
What would you say to other women hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Be a hard worker! Stick to your goals and believe that you can achieve them. Discipline is very important. A main priority is ensuring your horse is healthy and happy…everything else follows that. Showjumping is not an easy sport and has a lot of uncertainty and injuries can and do happen. My advice is – don’t dwell on the negatives or memories and always look forward.
What are your plans for this summer?
I've had a great season in the UAE this year and after a small break, I plan to be in Europe, working towards some good results and preparing myself and my horses for the big upcoming events in the future.
“Farriery has traditionally always been a man's world but Natural Horse Care barefoot trimming seems to be attracting the girls, in fact, over 80% of applicants are female!” Says Jan Brroksbank, Dubai’s natural hoof trimmer.
“Maybe, it’s the more holistic approach encompassing diet, welfare as well as the feet.... or maybe it’s just a sign of the times?”
Jan came to the game at 48, later than most, but that hasn’t slowed her down. “It's not for the faint hearted,” she laughs. “It requires pretty high levels of physical fitness and training the right muscles to avoid back ache.”
“I love my job… spending time with the horses one to one and watching their feet transform,” she says.
Back in the UK, Jan’s equestrian career was decidedly conventional. Trained as a BHSAI instructor, she taught lessons, ran her own livery yard and even opened her own horse-feed company.
All that changed here in Dubai when she met a troubled young Arabian horse. “12 years-ago I met Nostrada, an ex-racing Arabian, with bolting and intermittent lameness issues. He prompted me to rethink a lot of my traditional horse practices and eventually sent me on a completely different path.” Initially she began discovered bitless riding and says the change in the horse was instant. Her interest in the ‘natural,’ grew and before long she was exploring the barefoot philosophy.
“I enrolled with the Association for the Advancement of Natural Horse Care Practices (AANHCP) whose leader Jaime Jackson had started the barefoot movement in the 1980's. An ex-farrier, Jaime had studied the hooves of wild horses in The Great Basin, USA and who had set up a training programme for barefoot trimmers,” she says.
“On a training course in California in 2013, I watched a herd of healthy, curious, vital horses living on his track system and it convinced me that traditional methods of horse husbandry are outdated 'prisons' for our beloved horses.”
She returned from California determined to create change for her own horses in Dubai. Together with Sultan Al Qemsi, Jaime Lemmer, Holly Coetzee, she has created the perennially waiting-listed natural horse care livery yard-Al Ruwayyah Stable.
Her trimming services have expanded too. What began as two horses is now over 40 as people discover the benefits. She says, “although it’s still seen as unconventional and 'alternative' by the mainstream equestrian and veterinary communities, many people are beginning to realise the benefits of barefoot.”
The Natural Trimmer
The Endurance Rider
When and how did your equestrian career begin?
Equestrianism has always been an important aspect to my life, from both a family perspective and an important part of Irelands culture, therefore from an early age I was around horses regularly. Growing up on a stud farm, I became familiar with the thoroughbred aspect, my cousins were extremely avid show jumpers and my Father enjoyed hunting and eventing, so I really was exposed to a plethora of disciplines.
My Father taught me how to ride alongside my sister with our beautiful Connemara pony Poppy. My career was then kickstarted at the Pony Club in Ireland, where I competed in a few ‘mini, midi, maxis’, before moving to Dubai at the age of twelve. I continued with numerous small, club level and national jumping shows until I was introduced to an equestrian sport I wasn’t aware existed, Endurance. Once I began qualifying and competing in this sport, I completely fell in love and believed I found my ultimate passion in life. I began racing competitively around the age of seventeen and was extremely fortunate to be supported initially by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, for Seeh Al Salam Stables, this is where I earned my first podium finish, which will forever be an extremely memorable race for me. Subsequently, I had the opportunity to compete for His Highnness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in MRM Stables and most recently for His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum for F3 Stables.
To what extent has your family played a role in your career and success?
I feel extremely fortunate to say my family is the most predominant driving force in my career. Although sometimes it may have seemed a little ‘ying and yang’, I am extremely lucky to have parents that supported me from differing aspects. My Father, undoubtedly, was keen in encouraging me to push my limits where I could, he would constantly remind me how I can always improve as a rider and would often encourage me to break past psychological barriers I had implemented myself. My Mammy, from a different perspective, was a major backbone in the whole process, whilst she would prep me for any competition, she would also sense when it was time to slow down and repeatedly enforce that my education came first. Starting off, endurance was quite a demanding sport both physically and mentally for me, hence the importance of having a strong support system at home. Regarding my younger Sister Ellen, I can quite honestly say I don’t know if I could have reached this level without her by my side. From day one, through every up and down, Ellen has been the most supporting, genuine, constant voice, who has been both my shoulder to cry on and the first person I have celebrated with after crossing the finish line.
Which school did you go to and how did you work your endurance career around the demands of exams/course work etc? Now knowing that you attend University, what are you studying?.
I studied in Jumeirah College from grade 6 to grade 13. Luckily, my school supported my horse racing and celebrated it often. For the duration I was studying in high school, the level I was at in Endurance wasn’t necessarily too obstructive in terms of time constraints and when the few scenarios arose I would prioritize my studies. A bigger issue for me at the time was trying to walk up three flights of stairs to get to classes a day after a race - for a while I got an elevator pass.
Currently I am studying my Masters in Business Psychology at Heriot Watt University, which I am enjoying thoroughly.
What difficulties do you face being a woman in a male dominated sport?
Although Endurance in the UAE is a male dominated sport, it also explicitly offers opportunities for women, scheduling ‘Ladies races’ throughout the season, which I believe is a fantastic way to showcase the immense talent of the female riders in the region. These ladies race have a lower set minimum weight and usually range from 90km up to 119km. Although, similar to many sports there are stereotypical barriers that are present regarding ability and strength, I believe it is important to be confident in your personal aptitude, own it and enjoy witnessing the barriers you can break through. From my own personal experience, I believe focusing on your horse’s safety and well-being whilst being aware of others on the track is important when earning respect from your fellow competitors. Once experience and racing knowledge is developed I believe gender disparities swiftly diminish, as a powerful horse and rider combination will be noteworthy, regardless of the rider’s femininity.
What are your endurance career goals and plans?
I feel extremely lucky to have reached the position I am currently at in endurance and I am equally determined to reach as far as I can possibly go. My ultimate dream is to represent Ireland in the World Equestrian Games. I will continue to work for it and hope for the best!
What advice do you have for younger female riders who are also juggling school commitments and their riding careers?
I think routine is the most powerful attribute any young female rider can add to their daily life. Plan your week and allocate time accordingly; to your studies, training and competing, whilst also factoring in good down time to rest and recover.
Once the routine is established, it will soon become habit and everything will flow a lot easier. I also think it is very important to continue to love when you go riding, if there comes a point where it just becomes added pressure, there is no harm in taking a small break and then going back to it later when your schedule eases up. For me, going training in the morning before class was a great stress release.
Would you say to parents who tell their children equestrianism is not a 'real' career?
Equestrianism is most definitely a real career, which is equally demanding and rewarding. From personal experience, since I was young my parents encouraged me to focus on my education and pursue equestrianism as a hobby.
In hindsight I honestly believe this worked well for me because I knew if I wanted to compete, I equally had to succeed in my studies, which I believe bred great discipline. When working in sport and specifically, working with horses, every day can be unpredictable, therefore I believe it is wise for parents to advise their children ‘not to put all their eggs in one basket’, so to speak. I think for parents it is definitely worth having a realistic conversation with their children on the sport they want to pursue and the possible future they may have in it. If their children are extremely passionate and eager, I believe this should be supported and celebrated as much as possible.
What traits would you say make a top female endurance rider?
Something I have discovered during my endurance career, is that there is not one ‘correct way’ to ride, it’s all about being confident in your ability and being driven by your passion. It is important to acknowledge both your strong and weak points and work to better yourself constantly. Personally, I believe the most important attribute for an endurance rider is moving with your horse in harmony, after that style, strength and stamina are all bonuses. For females, I feel it is important to ride with confidence and not be intimidated by fellow male participants and the perceived greater power that may be attributed. Endurance isn’t all about strength, with races ranging up to 160km in a day, strength can diminish but respecting your horse, ambition and determination will not.
What is your fondest memory and triumph in your career so far?
My favourite race would have to be the ‘Seeh al Salam Endurance Cup, 100km’ at the start of this season. I had the opportunity to ride my favourite mare Utoufa De Lap from F3 stable and we led the race from start to finish. I feel an extremely special connection to this mare and whenever I am competing with her I feel she takes care of me as much as I take care of her, I don’t want the race to end! I also feel extremely proud to have won the Sheikh Mohammed Cup for Ladies in 2018 and the Crown Prince Cup for Ladies in 2018, which are two very prestigious races held during the UAE season.
Emirates Equestrian Centre (EEC) is located only 25km outside Dubai in heart of horse country. Designed as the sumptuous centre-piece in Dubai’s endurance heartland, EEC offers incredible facilities, mile upon mile of gorgeous desert hacking and regularly plays host to some of the biggest equestrian competitions in the region.
The facility boasts a cross-country course, (one of only a handful in the country), with over 20 challenging fences and water combinations. The course is available to hire as well as part of regular one-day-event and hunter trial competitions. EEC boasts an International sized show jumping arena with premium Martin Collins Poly Track footing, and 5 additional arenas.
The main arena is the star of the show each year when the Dubai Championships are held and over 150 riders arrive from both home and abroad to compete for the Dubai Grand Prix Title. The centre is also one of the main hub’s for regional dressage and many of the country’s top dressage riders are based and compete regularly at EEC.
In total, EEC holds over 30 events annually, these include cross-country, dressage and show-jumping, plus various supporting training shows, and for those spectating there’s the ‘Al Faris’ café serving good coffees and a selection of food.
As one of the only fully approved BHS Stables in the UAE, education is very much, ‘front and centre’ at EEC with one of the only BHS approved Pony Club branches in the region and BHS instructor training programmes both held regularly at the centre.
Livery at EEC
EEC accommodates up to 100 privately owned horses and ponies. The livery package includes bedding, forage and feed, 24 hour security, a groom between four/five horses, full use of facilities and discounted lessons on client’s own horse/pony. Prices are AED 3,200 for horses and AED 2,700 for ponies under 14.2hh.
Additional services include:
Veterinary and dentistry services from the Dubai Equine Hospital
Schooling and/or lunging by qualified instructors
On-site veterinary nursing
State of the art air-conditioned horse transport
Activities: Desert Hacking
Available at 8am and 4:30pm.
Prices start from AED 250 per person per hour and AED 550 including transport.
Show-jumping lessons are available for novice through to Olympic level. Prices start from AED 150 for a children's lesson to AED 275 for a private lesson for adults.
A regular training show dressage league. This event series allows riding school, livery clients, and riders from other clubs to gain valuable experience in the art of dressage.
The Dubai Pony Club branch is one of only a few in the region fully affiliated with the UK’s British Horse Society. The club hosts many sessions/rallies/events throughout the season (October – June) and is available for both pony owners and those who hire club ponies for the day. Fees are AED 350 for new members which includes the tie, badge and shirt, and an additional AED 250 per rally after joining.
EEC plays host to numerous top rider-clinics, these include; Grand Prix dressage and showjumping competitor Marjolijn Stamnijder, dressage riders; Camilla James, Pippa Huttin, Vai and Sjak Laarakkers, Sam Wall showjumping and cross-country course builder and competitor Nick Gauntlet.
Emirates Equestrian Centre
+971 (0) 50 558 7656
+971 (0) 50 553 7986 email@example.com
Defining your wins
MANAGING YOUR LOSSES
When is a win a win - and when is it just a fight?
This time of year I see a lot of clients feeling really downtrodden. Perhaps the season hasn’t gone to plan ( or ever got started). The one certainly for anyone involved in any way with horses is that there is NEVER any certainty!
So the only way to navigate through the crazy mindfield of Equestrianism and stay relatively sane is to learn how to pick our fights!
There are just something’s we can’t change, circumstances out with our control that inevitably alter our plans, results and ultimately pleasure from our beloved steeds. Whether is an abscess that means they hobble out the stable on a show morning or a last moment cancellation from the person who was babysitting, we can’t change it ! But we all too often do let it ALL effect our mindset.
The one thing I drill in to all my clients whether it’s before a Rolex Masters or a youngsters first outing is to remember to do what you CAN do in that moment. If there is nothing you can do and the horse is lame, you have a costly pole or you don’t make the show then there is NOTHING retrospectively that you can do about it. So harbouring all that negativity up there in your thought process only seeps out in to our next performance!
Be as prepared as you can be for the TASK required!
So if your jumping an 85cm you don’t need to train for a triathlon. Both horses and humans learn in cycles of 3. So it’s much more effecting to do things well for 3 days or 3 times than it is to punish ourselves over weeks! Over training and over preparing is as big a problem as being under prepared. It’s just a hard concept to get our heads around in this instant , fast society!
So here are my three top tips for keeping yourself sane..
Pick your fights!
If it’s not your day then walk away, tomorrow is coming soon enough!
Set clear objectives
What do you actually need to improve on to get better, for example a stronger core will give you a better seat and balance, rather than I need to get better at jumping.
Be self aware
Remember that everything that happened away from your time in the saddle generally contributes to your time in the saddle, so if you are exhausted, stressed and furious it’s not the time to ask your horse to listen! Groom them instead and see that for the WIN that it is!
Sandie Robertson is the platinum standard in equestrian performance coaching, No-1 bestselling author and columnist. Sandie supports riders across the globe achieve success in the saddle, in business and in life. firstname.lastname@example.org
by Sandie Robertson
Globe-Trotter's superlative approach to hand-crafted luxe luggage is both modern and deeply traditional in the same breath.
Instantly identifiable as created with a seldom seen reverence to detail, the sensational range of luggage curated by the leather gods of Globe-Trotter will leave the seasoned traveller in no doubt of their quality and durability.
Their traditional shape belies their modernity, as the brand continues to seek out partnerships that will allow them to create luxurious travelling companions suited to every taste. When asked what in their collection might suit the seasoned equestrian sportsman or enthusiast.
James Fisher, Director at Globe-Trotter says: "For any travelling equestrians I would recommend our 20" Trolley Case or our Centenary Holdall which you can take on-board with you, while our 30" Trolley Case can be used to pack any riding equipment or gear you may be travelling with - it's large enough to fit any riding boots or helmets you may need for matches and tournaments.Our latest collaboration with England Polo would be the perfect range for the keen equestrian, and both sizes are available in this collection!”
A bespoke collection
Hermes launches new equestrian inspired watch line
A sense of considered androgyny shines through the Galop d'Hermès watch, lately launched at Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie held in Geneva. Designed by furniture designer Ini Archibong, Its unique shape and finish has been inspired by objects found in the archives of the Hermès harness collection. The result is industriously low-key. Masculine and feminine all at once. Available in a steel, rose gold and gem-set finish it is the ultimate in quiet sophistication.
Your guide to the sensational sights and flavours of the
From the 22nd to 24th of March, Paris once again plays host to the Saut Hermès where, the world's greatest showjumpers will battle it out for supremacy at the CSI5* event held in the spectacular Grand Palais . The event, now in its tenth edition, is hosted by the Fédération Equestre Internationale and the French Equestrian Federation and sponsored by Hermès. This major competition has become one of the equestrian season's key events and has prize money on offer totaling nearly Euro 800,000.
This year the UAE will be represented by Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Clubs very own Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi. Abdullah, who is on top form at the moment and recently won the HH Sharjah Ruler Grand Prix with a showcasing round.
Other competitors at the event are amongst some of the most elite in the sport including: Egypt's Abdel Said who competed in the World Equestrian Games in 2018, and is a familiar face on the Arab League circuit, Abdel already taking the only double clear in Nations Cup qualifier in Abu Dhabi just last month. Also Steve Guerdat former Olympic Gold Medalist and Longines Global Champion Tours Champions Luciana Diniz and Scott Brash.
The best in the world battling it out in one of the most iconic settings in global equestrian events.
A GRAND OCCASION
Saut Hermès 2019
Image credit - Anthony Delanoix unsplash
Forty-five minutes by train outside busy Paris, you will find this bucolic slice of country-life. Le Barn, a 71 room hotel on the grounds of horse farm and riding academy La Cense. The entire property is built to make the most of the beautiful landscape but also the horses on and around the property. Activities include horse-whispering sessions and trail rides around the grounds, and you can even watch them grazing from your window. The property has two restaurants where guests can sample exquisite French delicacies as well as a supremely well appointed spa.
The Musee du Chaval located at the sublime Domaine de Chantilly charts the history of horsemanship of all kinds. The museum has 31 rooms with exhibits comprising over 1,200 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and ceramics, covering equine topics. The museum is referred to as "living" because it houses 31 horses of various breeds. Part of the intent of the museum is to promote the education of the public by encouraging interaction with the animals. Three to five dressage demonstrations each day illustrate the basis of horsemanship, and a large equestrian show is presented at least once a month. This is a wonderful day out for the history buff and horseman alike.
Paris and fashion are entirely synonymous, and it would be a terrible shame to miss out on its sartorial pleasures. Equestrian fashions are well represented in Paris, and Guibert walks the line between style, taste and substance so exquisitely that taking a look around its centrally located showroom should be on anyone's to-do list. Guibert also specialises in beautifully tack and horse apparel so you can bring a treat home for your faithful steed too!
Paris on horseback sound good? Sign up to a Horse In The City tour and you can ride through the parks of the French capital, taking in the sights and sounds and enjoying the tastes of French cuisine. Speak with the tour operators and they will arrange further excitements with stops at well respected French restaurants - even a tour through the grounds and the interior of the palace of Versailles
One of the great classic Parisian café-brasseries in bustling Montparnasse, this one gets bragging rights for its long list of past clients. Henry Miller, Hemingway, Picasso, and F. Scott Fitzgerald all took their coffee breaks here as the sun draped over them on the terrace. Mosaic tiles line the floor and prop up the wicker chairs found in most traditional Parisian cafés. Le Select offers the quintessential Paris Cafe experience. Sit outside and watch the world go by or take your coffee indoors - either way you won't be disappointed.
Authentic French bistro cuisine in the heart of Paris with a Michelin Star to back it up sounds all too perfect and Benoit delivers the kind of dining experience that only history, authenticity and skill can provide. Since 1912, the restaurant, now under the careful guidance of Alain Ducasse, has been a mainstay of the Parisian culinary scene and any night of the week you will find locals and visitors alike enjoying the ambiance and the beautifully curated menu. Sometimes a cliché is exactly what you want - and the scent of garlic from the kitchen alongside fresh baked bread and free-flowing chatter is exactly what you should want from a Parisian vacation.
Stars of the future
To the uninitiated, it may seem somewhat dangerous and more than a little wild, but the UAE’s pony racing circuit is growing in both popularity and prestige every year.
Held in January and March during the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and the Dubai Crown Prince’s Pony Racing Cup embedded in the annual endurance festivals, see riders between the ages of seven and eleven pit their ponies against the best in the Emirates.
With races for the tiniest (110cm and under), through to the mid-sized 110 to 120cm and then of course, the fast and furious 140cm and under, they all race over 2 kilometres of pristine track at Dubai’s impressive endurance city. In the West, pony racing is nothing new, with Shetland racing a regular favourite at both the Olympia Horse Show in London and the UK’s Doncaster racing festivals to name a few. In fact, many top UK jockeys started their careers in these events, and their own children now ‘cut their teeth’ at the very same events.
Here in the UAE however, there’s everything to play for. The prize money can be substantial and the recognition for those who do well can reach the very top. It’s also these events where many of the UAE’s best young up and coming endurance riders get their first taste of success. Competitors hail from all corners of the UAE and all types of stables, and for those participating, the preparation and build-up is as serious as any event held a few miles away at Meydan Racecourse.
Although they might be ‘pint-sized,’ the training and preparing of both pony and jockey is not unlike their race-horse counterparts with feeding, training and associated therapies all part of the daily routine. Owner and trainer at Al Dhabi Stables, Jamal bin Doobi Al Falassi, is now competing in the event for the second year. Back in January, the Al Dhabi ponies’ performances were impressive, taking home, 3rd and 5th in the 110 to 120cm, 2nd in the under 110cm and 3rd in the 140 and under.
“I entered the first year, (2018), more as an experiment, to see what was expected of me and I expected nothing of the event itself,” he says. “This year, we’ve worked really hard. I’ve been reading, studying books and watching You Tube, speaking to friends, trainers… anyone who has advice which can help me improve.”
Although the results are yet to be confirmed, the recent Dubai Crown Prince Pony Racing Cup held a few days ago, saw the Al Dhabi team take home two seconds and a slew of top ten places. All the more impressive is that all but one of his ponies are home-bred, (a mix of Welsh, Shetland and other small types). Originally destined for his riding school and animal hire business, the stables has many young ponies between 90cm and 140cm both in training and still maturing.
“I have been breeding horses and ponies for years, but obviously the racing has changed the direction of this somewhat,” he says. “Now, if I see they have the right build and character, they go into light training and I see if they have something I can develop further.” The ponies run barefoot, under the supervision of natural trimmer Jan Brooksbank, they receive performance feeding and various therapies and treatments, to ensure they remain at peak fitness for the racing season. Once the season is finished, they are roughed off and return to lesson work, training the next mini-generation of potential jockeys. The ‘jockeys’ are also trained extensively, riding out between three-nights on the build up and five to seven nights as the races draw nearer. The partnerships are also continually ‘tweaked’ to ensure each pony/rider combination is ideal.
“It’s really important not to push every day,” he says. “You need to work on the kids for safety and speed- but little by little to improve- you need to have Saber!”
Jamal has already had his son Saeed and several older children move onto professional endurance training at some of Dubai’s biggest yards. The pony racing, he says, really prepares them for the commitment required for endurance and the competition expectations demanded of them. With new ponies coming up all the time, Jamal is always looking for talented new jockeys to join the Al Dhabi team. If your child would like to try-out or develop their riding skills with an eye to becoming a part of the team, please contact: Naomi on: +971 55 167 0188, +971 56 9486486, +971 50 568 0080,