When Sheikh Mohammed slept in a stable with horses
Dubai - "My mother always knew where I would be when she searched at night and couldn't find me on my bed."
In this chapter His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, recalls the story of his first horse, why he chose and loved it, and the lessons he learned.
"I have loved horses since my childhood, as I grew up in a house where my father used to ride across Dubai on his horse 'Al Saqallawi' without a bridle. How couldn't I love horses when I grew up in a household where my mother used to ride the horse without a bridle, too? I remember that my brother Hamdan had a very fast horse that people called 'the Curlew'."
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"I grew up in a horse-loving environment. We inherited a culture that cared about horses. Traditionally, Arab women believed that bad spirits cannot enter a tent with a true Arabian horse."
"People say that I am one of the biggest owners of horses, but only a few know that I have spent endless nights of my childhood sleeping in the stable with my horse. My mother always knew where I would be when she searched at night and couldn't find me on my bed."
"My relation with horses started at night of a beautiful day. My father and I were coming back from the desert and we stopped for sunset prayer. After the prayer, my father told me that he wanted to organise a horse race in Dubai."
"He wanted the race open for all tribes and he wanted me to participate."
"I was the third one to choose horses. My brother Maktoum was the first, then Hamdan, and I was the final one. I noticed an injured horse among my father's horses, one which no one had tried as a racing horse. I checked carefully and was certain it could participate. Its name was 'Souda' (Umm Halaj)."
"My mother Sheikha Latifa knew herbal treatment and looked into the injured area. She made a herbal mix and asked me to put it on the horse's injury for three months. It was one of the most important missions of my life - the race was four months ahead, and I needed three months to treat my horse and train it. I still remember the components of the herbal treatment - I made it myself."
"My house in Zaabeel was in a good distance from the sea. I rode my horse to the sea every morning and spent the whole day on the beach. I learned a lot from this beautiful horse, I learned how to make a true relationship with such an amazing animal - a relation of loyalty and friendship. It taught me that achievements do not come on a golden platter."
"I learned from my horse that when you love something, you have to continue until the end."
"When you want to achieve something, you have to be totally involved; never partially, unless you want half of the achievement!"
"What happened during the race is another story and you will find that in the chapter ahead."
In what he is calling his "incomplete biography", His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has broken his latest book, Qissati (My Story), into 50 chapters, narrating 50 stories in his 50 years of serving the nation. Khaleej Times got a signed copy of the book from the Dubai Ruler and everyday, we will be featuring excerpts from each of the 50 chapters.