Rabab international Arabian Horse Championship


By Francesca Sullivan

First impressions are everything. From the moment an Arabian horse enters the arena the judges are looking for that special magic that declares it to be a true ‘type’, from the toss of its mane, tail held high, dish face and proud bearing, to the flowing movement that has the crowd enthralled. On the 16th to the 18th of October Rabab Stud held its fourth annual International Arabian Horse Championship, and proved that the Egyptian ‘type’ is thriving. The event has also secured its growing reputation as one of the most respected and important B-class shows on the international circuit. (To qualify as a ‘B-class’ the event must meet stringent conditions set by the European Conference of Arabian Horse Organizations).

Presided over by Sheikh Khaled Mohamed Awad Bin Laden, owner of the Rabab Stud in Sakkara, the Championship has become an important date on the calendar for many breeders, and according to several of the international judges present, is exhibiting a better calibre of horses year by year.

An increase in the numbers of breeders both local and foreign operating from Egypt, plus the development of new technology allowing for a wider breeding pool, has allowed for the introduction of new bloodlines, whilst the general level of knowledge among serious breeders is growing all the time. The choice of competition judges itself is crucial. Says Maha Ibrahim from El Zaman Stud, who has been sitting on the committee for three years, “It’s a show, but it is also a business. The judges are usually breeders themselves, but there should be no conflict of interest, and they must be impartial. We are also in Egypt so our taste in judges leans towards those favouring the ‘straight Egyptian’ horse. Although we allow Polish and Arabian entries, which can be bigger and showier, for me a big part of this show’s success is in the fact that the Egyptian horses have beat them. They have more charm!”

Russian judge Mrs Irina Stigler was impressed by the sheer number of entries in this year’s competition, “Often in European championship shows it’s difficult to bring together more than fifty horses. In this competition there are around two hundred and forty, with a wide range of breeders involved, from large studs down to the modest; it is very inclusive.”

Of those breeders, several raked in numerous prizes last month, including El Mamlaka (Sheikh Saud el Saud), Khatab and Tahany (Tarek Khatab), El Farida, and El Bawady. Winner of the Seven Plus mares category Mohga has been a champion every year for the past ten years, says Tarek Khatab, travelling as far away as Germany and Belgium to collect prizes, while Sheikh Saud took both gold and silver with his senior mares Parma and Ajenda. Although Parma had won world championship gold in Paris before he bought her, El Saud insists he chooses horses with his heart and not his head, “If I don’t feel that connection, I won’t buy a horse no matter how beautiful they are,” he says.

The Rabab Championship brings together a mix of glamour, excitement and state of the art technology. This year for the first time the whole event was streamed live on-line, and those wanting to re-live the experience or see what they missed only need to key in www.arabianresults.com Here too you will find a comprehensive list of all the results covering the entire three days of competition.


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