Old soldiers return to their battle field

The parade aimed to announce the formation of the Dubai Racing Club’s Dar Al Khail initiative, to rehome and retrain ex-racehorses across the UAE



By Jacquie Doyle

Published: Fri 11 Mar 2022, 11:54 PM

Last updated: Fri 11 Mar 2022, 11:55 PM

As a prelude to the drama of the nine major horse races that took place on Super Saturday on March 5, those lucky enough to arrive a little early were treated to the unusual sight of 14 retired racehorses, decked out in beribboned splendour, enjoying a lively march around the parade ring. Their ages ranged from four years to a mighty 29 years old and they were mostly ridden by their owners, who are enjoying the amazing array of pursuits these wonderful companions can turn their hooves to.

We saw one rider, in a western saddle, complete with ‘cowboy’ style lasso, another wielding a polo mallet, which would suggest that the horse is now been embraced in that sport.

Several others were ridden by their riders in dressage saddles and bridles.

A few others, we are told, are competing in show jumping and one-day eventing classes.

This parade was organised by Heather Copland who has been the mainstay of Godolphin Lifetime Care program, a wonderful rehoming initiative where the horses are all assured of genuine care and attention from a well-chosen team.

The parade aimed to announce the formation of the Dubai Racing Club’s Dar Al Khail initiative, to rehome and retrain ex-racehorses across the UAE.

Dar Al Khail means ‘House of the Horse.’

There were several former Godolphin horses parading and are currently in different phases of the retraining process, Among them were recent Carnival winner Grand Argentier, My Catch and Shamaal Nibras.

The rehoming centre has been looking after retired racehorses in Dubai since the early 1990s and will form the nucleus of Dar Al Khail. The parade showed the racing public the variety of things horses can be engaged in after their racing careers are over.


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