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Arabian horse breeders ready for challenges

Hisham Al Gizouli
Filed on June 17, 2011
Arabian horse breeders ready for challenges

Leading UAE Arabian horse breeders said they don’t see any good reasons to shift their operations outside the UAE despite unfovourable and tough weather conditions.

“It’s a challenge, and we are determined to take it,” said Khalid Al Naboodah told during the opening session of the World Arabian Horse Racing Conference at the Hilton Hotel here on Thursday morning.

The conference is held as part of the Shaikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Flat Racing Festival. It was officially inaugurated by the UAE ambassador to Netherlands, Ali Thani Al Suwaidi.

“We have no plans to breed our horses away from home. There’s no doubt that the weather conditions and surroundings in some neighbouring countries like Syria and Lebanon are more promising, but the tight rules and regulations coupled with the non-availability of flat races there make our job very difficult.

“This in addition to the fact that the home-bred Arabians have made their mark and with the exception of the Dubai Kahayla Classic, the UAE-bred horses have won all the other major races beating French, American and British-bred horses,” Al Naboodah said.

Faisal Al Rahmani, a prominent UAE Arabian horse breeder and owner, echoed the same opinion adding that they understand that the hot and humid weather conditions as well as the water shortage represent a real obstacle, but they are working hard to conquer the impossible.

American Arabian horse breeders’ representative Deborah Mihaloff didn’t hide her intentions that she’s breeding the Arabian horses for their beauty, agility and stamina.

“I breed for show and endurance. But let us put it the right way. When I look for speed, I will definitely go for Thoroughbreds,” she said.

Mihaloff admitted that throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade, used to improve other breeds by adding speed, refinement, endurance, and strong bone.

“This does not mean that we have to make the Arabian horse lose its character to improve his speed. It must always look and move like an Arab otherwise our job would be something else apart from breeding Arabians,” she noted.

Meanwhile, most of the speakers agreed that artificial insemination and embryonic transfer represent a real revolution as a human-directed process of selective breeding of purebred horses of a given breed.

“You must always have a purpose for horse breeding,” said French Arabian horse breeder Dominique Akel.

“Horses are bred for racing and various futurities. Artificial insemination is used through different methods and techniques. This involves the deposit of raw fresh or frozen semen. But I’m holding the stick from the middle. I’m with and against,” he said.

“There’s increasing interest in the Arabian horses and the market is growing rapidly. The number of races for Purebred Arabian horses around the world is on the rise thanks to the strong support of the wise leadership of the UAE and Gulf countries in promoting this noble creature,” Faisal Al Rahmani said.

“We are lucky to have the advantage of using these modern techniques and improve the quality and quantity of Arabian-bred horses which the Thoroughbreds industry is lacking,” he added. But, the speakers were so divided about horse gelding for which they have blamed trainers in the first place. Some agreed to it as a principle in case the horse is not performing satisfactorily in doing the job which he’s supposed to do. Others said unless there’s a medical necessity, people must be patient with the horse.

“I’m against the elimination of hormonally-fuelled behaviour with this measure. Keep away the stallion from the mares and with training he will be calmer and better-behaved,” said Khalid Al Naboodah.


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