The 2012 London Olympics have had many controversial headlines in the news about horse sports and Saudi Arabia. With that in mind, many people know about the Arabian horse's influence in modern Thoroughbreds and equestrian athletics, what about a country these horses originate from? Interestingly, the country of Saudi Arabia is full of horse-related facts and key events that will surprise horse racing and equine lovers of all types.
1. All horses come from Saudi Arabia?
It is called the Arabian Horse and the country is called Saudi Arabia ... is there a connection? Yes. However, a piece of humble pie is necessary. Truth be told, even the Saudi Aramco Magazine says the origins of the ancient horse are debated. Alternatively, new evidence proves that Saudi Arabia has domesticated horses for over 9000 years.
2. Horses are found on the highway to Hail
Is there such a thing as "horse country" in Saudi Arabia? On tourism websites, the city of Hail is said to be, "associated with the historic Hajj routes, used by pilgrims and trade caravans." There are also claims that there is still a special style of horse riding that the people of Hail are well-known for. Websites commonly reference that there are about 15 horse farms in the area that regularly sell Arabian horses. Despite this, these are not necessarily the famous horse stables found at ArabHorse.com.
3. Annual Saudi horse festival
If you want to go to a convention that features top Arabian horses and anything else that goes along with Thoroughbred racing in Saudi Arabia, consider going to Riyadh. Now in its fifth year, the Al Khalediah Festival Cup Endurance Challenge was held in January 2012. The Al Khalediah Farm, in Tebrak, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is, "a joint adventure between the Al Khalediah Arabian Horse Festival and the Saudi Arabia Equestrian Federation." The main patron is His Royal Highness, Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin AbdulAziz Al Saud.
4. Publicized royal stable
The official stable of His Majesty King Abdullah Bin A'Aziz Al Saud has its own website. On the homepage, it states, "For centuries our people have considered our horses to be one of our greatest treasures." Definitely passionate his entire life, as a youth King Abdullah groomed and trained his own horses. The website also touts that Janadria Farm is the largest in Saudi Arabia and has, "over 1,000 horses spread throughout five divisions."
Janadria is often shown to visiting heads of state and has several Arabian horse breeding and training programs. One fun fact is that Janadria also has sheep, dairy, and horticultural divisions.
5. Saudi Equestrian full of winnersThere has been controversy surrounding the upcoming London 2012 Olympics and the problems with inclusion of Saudi women. Regardless, the one area that will represent by Saudi female athletes is the equestrian events. On the other hand, their male counterparts are frequently in the news. For example, in 2011 the Saudi Equestrian team won the gold in the Arab Games for Jumping.
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Maryam Louise is a longtime resident of the Bluegrass State and has lived in the shadows of Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky over the past two decades. In addition to being a fan of horse racing, she has also had a chance to get to know jockeys, horse groomers, and betting clerks as an ESL instructor. Currently, she writes for KentuckyDerby.org and relies on her friends in the multiple facets of the equine industry for writing inspiration.
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