UAE: You will spot horses on roads, beaches and around malls today; here's why

Riders who are part of the Pink Caravan reveal daily routine and how horses are cared for during breast cancer awareness journey


SM Ayaz Zakir


Sahim Salim

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Published: Thu 2 Feb 2023, 11:57 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Feb 2023, 3:23 PM

Australian national Nader Nassar has begun his pan-UAE horseback ride today, February 4 — joining over 100 others in the 11th edition of the Pink Caravan Ride — an annual breast cancer awareness initiative of UAE-based Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP).

The knights in pink will ride for six-seven hours daily, with multiple breaks in between, covering 15-20km a day. Residents will spot horses and their riders in pink on roads, beaches, near malls and around popular attractions in all seven emirates next week.

Nassar has been raising awareness about breast cancer for over a decade now and been an active member of the Pink Caravan since its inception.

He founded an app, Hlthera- redefined healing, since there was a gap in the market and due to the fact that on account of Covid, many people were falling prey to mental health issues and other diseases like cancer and diabetes.

“We have many active members, and they benefit from it. I am able to create a difference with it,” said Nassar, who was born in Spain and brought up in the UAE.

The Pink Caravan will begin its seven-day journey at Al Heera Beach in Sharjah, with the first day focusing on raising awareness about the most prominent and preventable types of cancer, including breast, skin, colon, prostate, testicular, childhood, and cervical.

Free breast cancer medical screenings will be available throughout the ride, including clinical, ultrasound, and mammograms for both women and men. The campaign aims to dispel myths and misconceptions about cancer and encourage early detection and prevention.

How the horses are cared for

Another rider, Carmel Salah, said the horses are given the utmost care and frequent rest breaks. “The horses are transported from the stables to the starting point and are fed during breaks. We also have staff to look after them,” she said.

The 20-year-old, who is a student of the Sharjah University, said her educators are very supportive. “When I told my lecturers about the cause I was participating in, they excused me from attending classes.”

What daily routine will be like

For the riders, a typical day during the ride begins between 8 and 10am. It goes on all the way till 4 or 6pm, depending on the route.

Nassar, who has been a rider for 12 years, said the day will start with a briefing to make the riders’ journey as smooth as possible.

“Our journey varies in each emirate. We start early morning by reaching various community areas and engaging with the general public.

“The objective of the Pink Caravan ride is to dispel myths as much as raising hope by offering free screenings,” he added.

The 100 riders have been divided into multiple teams, according to Salah. Most of the riders have been part of the caravan for years. “I have met most of them. It’s an initiative for a serious cause, but we do have fun during the majestic ride,” added Salah.

Awareness is key

Nader believes that it is crucial to educate people about breast cancer. “It is important to educate the community about early detection as the recovery can then be speedy.”

Pink Caravan’s idea of spreading the message of hope is very unique, he added. “People who notice us tend to learn more about the deadly disease and this motivates them to undergo screening.”

Salah said the cause is very dear to her heart. “I have personally been around people who have been affected by breast cancer.

“The ride raises hope of the patients. What Pink Caravan does is provide the screening earlier and raise awareness about the issue.”


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