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Showjumping marks start of equestrian season

Event to provide a foundation for forthcoming national events

Gulf News

Dubai: Emirates Equestrian Centre (EEC), a part of Meydan Group, welcomes its first competitors of the 2012/13 season on Monday evening with the renewal of a nine-fixture Training Showjumping League.

The new-look Training Showjumping League, sponsored by Horseworld, is a developmental series of shows, offering an opportunity for the UAE’s top showjumpers to bring on young horses as well as providing a competitive arena for the country’s developing riders.

The shows provide a foundation for the EEC’s four National Showjumping Shows which will be held in November, December, February and March and each last two days.

The highlight of the EEC showjumping season is the CSI***-W Dubai Showjumping Championship, held over three days in January, which forms part of the region-wide Arab League and attracts top international riders from all over the world.

The best riders from the Middle East region, including Saudi Arabia’s World Equestrian Games silver medallist, Abdullah Al Sharbatly and recent Irish Olympic bronze medallist, Cian O’Connor, are regulars at the show.

“The Training Shows help get people prepared for national shows by offering them the chance to bring their horses up to the required level,” said the EEC’s Jennifer Murray.

“We often see our UAE international riders schooling new or young horses during these events. Due to the fact that the classes are organised according to height of fences, our younger or less exposed riders also get the chance to gain some valuable experience.”

The fences range in height from 60cm to 1.05m across four two-stage classes. The nine Training Showjumping League fixtures run throughout the EEC season, with competitors accumulating points to take into the league final on March 4, 2013.

Entry to the event is free to spectators. Food and beverages, provided by the nearby Bab al Shams Desert Resort and Spa, are available for purchase.

The UAE’s dressage fraternity will be focusing on the club’s eight Emirates Equestrian Federation affiliated dressage shows which run from November through to finals in April. Riders can earn qualification points from the first three shows for the EEC-hosted FEI World Dressage Challenge on December 15, while points from all eight shows will serve as qualification into the EEC Club Championships.

As the only British Horse Society-affiliated club in the region, the EEC also operates a branch of The Pony Club with a season-long schedule of rallies, clinics, gymkhanas and a season-ending Pony Club Camp