Despite COVID-19’s impact on the industry, equine and equestrian enthusiasts snap up the finest pure-bred Arabian horses at a recent Doha event

As with most sectors, the equine industry sector has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many events such as horse racing competitions being cancelled during the lockdown.

But for equestrian lovers in Qatar, the coronavirus crisis has not stopped them from taking advantage of the opportunity to own some of the best pure-bred Arabian horses in the world – including those bred by Qatar Foundation’s centre of equine excellence, Al Shaqab.

This was reflected by the turnout for a major horse auction held this month in Doha, where local owners and horse lovers came together to demonstrate their commitment to promoting the legacy of Arabian horses and equestrian sports in Qatar, and their passion for acquiring the finest Arabian horses.

Organised by Al Rayyan Farm, the auction was the first local event of its kind for Al Shaqab-bred horses since the beginning of the pandemic, and was held under strict preventive measures in line with government guidelines to limit the spread of the virus. Bidders were asked to observe physical distancing and wear face masks to ensure safety of all attendees.

The event took place at Qatar Equestrian Federation Indoor Arena, and showcased a group of the most prestigious Arabian horses on the market, including the progenies sired by the legendary Marwan Al Shaqab. Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, the event proved a great success, and as soon as one the horses entered the arena, it caught the attention of horse lovers and local owners, as the competition to own Arabian horses of the highest calibre became more intense.

Image 9 - Horse AuctionAccording to Khalid Al Jehani, head of horse training and show events at Al Shaqab, the event at Al Rayyan Farm included horses that belong to the Al Shaqab breed. He said that they used to organise their own auctions on an annual basis at Al Shaqab, and such events have always been successful and highly attractive for local owners and audience.

The horses participating in the auction varied between categories of mares and foals. Lina Al Shaqab came to the top of the bidding with a value of QAR105,000, the highest price fetched at the event, followed by Ghoroub Al Shaqab, who was sold for QAR95,000.

Buyers are more often interested in female horses, because they can use them for competition purposes as well as for breeding.

Al Jehani said that the prices witnessed during the auction were considered good prices in light of the challenging period that the horse industry is experiencing, with less events and activities due to the current situation.