There is Life After Racing

LAR is the first of its kind in the UAE and is open to both thoroughbred and Arabian racehorses

By Jacquie Doyle, Special to Khaleej Times

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Life After Racing was launched on February 15, 2021, by Debbie Armaly and her co-founders Sophie Dyball and Karen Stewart. — Supplied photo
Life After Racing was launched on February 15, 2021, by Debbie Armaly and her co-founders Sophie Dyball and Karen Stewart. — Supplied photo

Published: Thu 10 Mar 2022, 12:11 AM

Last updated: Wed 16 Mar 2022, 1:32 PM

After the excitement of Super Saturday at the Meydan Racecourse, we turned it down a notch on the following Monday evening with a trip to the Emirates Equestrian Centre (EEC) for a rather interesting event, that I was really looking forward to attending.

This long established venue, which has grown in stature since my last visit, was a hub of activity, especially being right beside Endurance City which hosted the 120km HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum endurance rides for Ladies and private stables on Sunday and Monday.


This event was just winding up when we arrived and the long line of horse boxes leaving bore testament to the vast number of competitors at these events.

The purpose of my trip to the EEC was to judge the Life After Racing [LAR] retired race horse showing classes, a concept new to the UAE and introduced by Debbie Armaly, co-founder of the LAR.


Following a trip to the UK last summer, she witnessed the outstanding success of our ROR [Retraining of Racehorses] organisation, which holds various types of showing classes at major horse shows across the country, culminating in a Championship event at the end of the season.

LAR is essentially a League with points awarded for placings in its different categories of, Showing, X-Country or Arena eventing, Dressage and Show Jumping, for both thoroughbred and Arabian horses registered with the LAR.

The evening was well-attended and it is a real pleasure to see the love and care given to the horses who all looked in great shape and have adapted well to their new roles in life.

Unusually the same combination of horse and rider won both the in-hand and ridden classes — Alexandra Grant with Rayyat, a lovely American bred youngster who is a striking looking bay with a white blaze and four long white stockings.

Life After Racing was launched on February 15, 2021, by Debbie and her co-founders Sophie Dyball and Karen Stewart. The league aims to encourage ex-racehorses and their riders to compete in new disciplines.

Debbie has been rehoming ex-racehorses from the UAE for over a decade, among them being My Catch and Shamaal Nibras who have all enjoyed a fair share of success in Dubai.

LAR is the first of its kind in the UAE and is open to both thoroughbred and Arabian racehorses. Riders are allowed to compete at local shows and provide LAR with the scores that they have achieved.

Monday’s event proved that indeed, there is life after racing.

The Author is a Derby-winning trainer and the mother of world-renowned jockeys, James and Sophie Doyle.



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