The Concours Hippique International (CHI) AL SHAQAB came to an end yesterday Saturday 30 March 2013 at Al Shaqab. Over the course of four days, the global equestrian event included endurance, show jumping and dressage contests.
Having the chance to watch some of the best horses and riders in the world, spectators were delighted to attend CHI AL SHAQAB. Gabriela Prades, a Spanish fan at the event, explained her enthusiasm, stating,
‘I love horse riding, so I decided to come to the event. I just watched the dressage and it was a great show. We don’t often get to go to these types of tournaments because they are difficult to get tickets to, especially in Europe. I am from Spain and I never get to go to these.’
Top ranked riders from Qatar, the Gulf and around the world gathered to compete in the tournament’s final day, which included an early morning 120 kilometre endurance race at the Endurance Village in Messaieed. Testing the stamina of both the horse and rider, Saif Ahmed Al Mazroui from the United Arab Emirates earned first place in the Endurance CEI2*. Hosting an international equestrian competition for the first time in Qatar gave riders from all corners of the globe a chance to experience the nation’s rich culture and tradition in equine sport.
To kick off the Saturday afternoon, a dressage and show jumping competition were held in AL SHAQAB’s main arenas. Made open to the public and offering a family-friendly spectator’s zone, 14 riders battled for first place in the Dressage CDI4* Al SHAQAB Grand Prix Freestyle event. After an impressive win in yesterday’s dressage competition, Nathalie Zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (DEN) was thrilled to secure first place yet another time. Sayn-Wittgenstein said:
‘I am very pleased today with my win. The horse today was very nice to ride. He was great and the show was great, everything was just fantastic. My music was based on French songs and had been tailor-made for the Olympics. I can still feel that the routine is not perfect and I will have to run through it a series of times before I really know it. I have only ridden it four times and I still feel like there is room for improvement, but my horse and I did really well.’
In between the dressage and show jumping competitions, equestrian enthusiasts and onlookers alike had the rare opportunity to witness a purebred Arabian horse show. While fans had the chance to cheer on riders from all over the world throughout the four-day event, this presentation of rare horses helped to foster Qatar’s rich equine culture and tradition.
To wrap up the Saturday evening, 41 riders competed in the Show Jumping CSI5* – Grand Prix 5*. Gerco Schroder (NED) and his horse London won first prize, with Dennis Lynch (IRL) and horse All Star 5 securing a close second place. Schroder said:
‘My experience here at CHI AL SHAQAB was very special and I have been very lucky so far in my life to have ridden some very good horses, but this is definitely the best one I have ever had. I got him when he was five years old and I am very happy with him. It’s really been an incredible show here.’