Dubai: Leading military endurance riders from over 20 countries will vie for top honours in the second annual CISM World Military Endurance Championship, which will be held in Dubai next month.

The international event, sponsored by Meydan pillar partner International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) and organised by Meydan Group’s Dubai Equestrian Club (DEC) alongside the military sport body CISM (Conseil International du Sport Militaire) and the UAE’s Ministry of Defence, will take place on March 6.

Riders will compete both as individuals and in teams of four over a 120-km course at the Dubai International Endurance City (DIEC). Endurance riding is one of 26 sporting disciplines recognised by CISM.

The UAE made a winning start to the event last year when Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, claimed the first gold medal during the inaugural event in Bahrain.

Competitors are due to arrive in the country for a week of events from March 1. The pre-ride inspection is scheduled for March 5.

“Started under the directive of the late President His Highness Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, endurance horse racing has seen the UAE become one of the top international competitors,” said Khadem Al Qubaisi, Managing Director of IPIC.

Mohammad Eisa Al Adhab, Deputy General Manager of DEC, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming the best endurance riders in the world’s military to Dubai. This event is a great way to bring many different nationalities together in the spirit of competition and unity and we are very pleased to extend our world-renowned hospitality to every competitor.”

Colonel Abdullah Humaid Al Falasi, Chief of the UAE delegation, said: “The horse has served as an integral part of the world’s military with the development of cavalry tactics that have been in practice for more than 5,000 years. While equine involvement in military matters is now largely symbolic, the participation of the horse throughout the years is honoured through the many equestrian disciplines recognised by CISM.”

While many GCC nations are expected to bring their own horses for the competition, the Dubai Equestrian Club will also provide horses to visiting teams.