Posted on January 20, 2020

Qatar’s horseback riding stars of the future put themselves in the spotlight as Qatar Foundation played host to its inaugural Show jumping Competition.

The equestrian center’s Equine Education Department organized the two-day contest that took place in the Al Shaqab Indoor Arena at Education City, with about 300 riders from Al Shaqab, Qatar Equestrian Federation, and private stables, as well as individual horse-owners, taking part. Speaking about the goal of the new competition and what it brings to the Qatari sporting scene, Mohammed Al-Suwaidi, Head of Al Shaqab’s Equine Education Department, said: “It builds on our efforts to improve the standard of horse-riding in Qatar, and nurture future international equestrian champions.

“We organized this show jumping competition as an opportunity for our riders to practice what they have learned from the lessons we give them, and encourage them to improve their skills, while placing them in an international sporting atmosphere through a local competition. “This also allows our students to exchange knowledge with other riders, increase their understanding of show jumping, and prepare themselves to participate in international competitions”.

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As well as being an Olympic discipline, show jumping is one of the most popular horse-riding activities in Qatar. The Al Shaqab competition included five categories for various age groups, starting with the Future Riders Program for children aged six years and above, all the way to the senior category. Al-Suwaidi said the competition also plays an important role in preserving the Qatari equine heritage, as it supports local private horse owners and Qatari riders.  “Although there is a great appreciation for horse-riding in our community, it can create a financial burden for owners due to livery costs,” he said.

“By having this kind of national competition, these owners have a way of utilizing their investment, which will in turn support the horse market in Qatar, and help to maintain our equine legacy in Qatar’s community. “The competition has already proved to be a success, and our aim is to keep hosting it over the coming years, supporting riders and horse-owners, and helping to preserve the sport in Qatar.”

Among the riders participating was Jassim Mohammed Al-Kuwari, who has been a student at Al Shaqab since 2015. “Each competition that we participate in gives us more encouragement to improve ourselves, as we interact with more experienced riders and aspire to belike them,” he said. Al-Kuwari has qualified to participate in the upcoming Asian Equestrian Federation Under-21 Dressage Championship in April 2020, and said: “We have gained a lot of experiences through the lessons we take at Al Shaqab, and I am looking forward to representing my country internationally”.

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Ghanim Nasser Al-Qadi, who has been with Al Shaqab for four years, also rode in the show jumping contest, and said: “I have seen how my skill level has improved over the years, and I hope that doing well in this competition will qualify me to participate in larger competitions. “I am very thankful for Al Shaqab for all their support, and how they have offered us everything we need to pursue our passion.” The competition was free of charge and open to all equestrian enthusiasts, attracting members of the community to enjoy the occasion and offering an array of entertainment including a fun zone for children, bouncy castles, and cafes.

Al Shaqab will hold another show jumping competition this year, which is scheduled to be held on March 20 and 21, with total prize money of QAR270,000 for each competition.