Abu Dhabi: Al Forsan International Sports Resort will be hosting the first Al Shira’aa International Horse Show from January 11-14 next year.
The event, a brainchild of Shaikha Fatima Bint Hazza Al Nahyan, owner of the Al Shira’aa Stables, also gives the UAE-based and international riders the opportunity to directly qualify for the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Canada. Dh1 million is up for grabs for the four-star winner and Dh130,000 for the 1-star class winners. More than 300 horses and 150 riders are expected to take part in the event.
Mohammad Al Owais, the event director who will be taking part in the event, said at the launch: “This event will give a direct ticket to Canada if you impress at the Show Jumping Grand Prix. Each country is represented by four riders. If there are six riders then the country must choose the best four. In the end, one must pass this qualification to be capable of representing your country at the Games.”
Owais, who will be leading UAE’s challenge on nine-year-old stallion Tsunami, felt that the competition will be fierce and direct qualification will be tough ask.
“To qualify, you have to go a clear round or maximum one fence down within the allowed time. For a Grand Prix like this if we can have one or two riders from our country, we must be happy but there are other qualifiers throughout the year. Everyone has a chance but the course makes it very difficult,” revealed Owaisi.
The four-day event will have daily sporting highlights for national and international top senior show jumping riders. Categories include CSI 4 star for international and national riders, and CSI 1 star classes and tours for children, juniors, young riders and young horses. Registration is for free for all interested participants and can be made via the Emirates Equestrian Federation (EEF) and Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI).
The team leading the preparations for this unique show jumping extravaganza are Christine Stibi (Al Shira’aa Horse Show Event Director & creative brain and “Horsesport & Philanthropie” mission developer) from Germany, Mohammad Al Owais (Al Shira’aa International Show Jumping Grand Prix Rider and Event Sports Director), and Omran Al Owais (Al Shira’aa Horse Show Technical Director).