Sultan Qaboos unveils the book on royal horses by English photographer Henry Dallal. Image Credit: Courtesy: Mohammad Mustafa

Muscat: Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed launched the book ‘Ubahat Al Sahra’a’ or Desert Splendour at Al A’diyat City in Seeb after presiding over the Annual Royal Horse Race Festival on Tuesday evening.

An award-winning English photographer, Henry Dallal, has compiled the book.

According to a government-owned Oman News Agency (ONA) report, the book depicts the opulence of the cavalry world at the Royal Cavalry and the beautiful horses it hosts. The book also portrays the vitality of the daily work within it and includes vibrant pictures on the Royal festival for cavalry and camels.

The 352-page book also showcases the international participation of the Royal Cavalry including performances in front of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the performance known as ‘Beating the Retreat’ on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee in 2012.

Dallal spent six years taking photographs of the Royal Cavalry horses and the Sultanate’s horses in general. He then selected the best and printed them in high quality version that matches reality.

“The support and encouragement I received from the Royal Cavalry encouraged me to take the best photographs in the different activities, events and festivals including the active horse regeneration programmes, which aim at preserving the noble Arabian horses, as well as rare breeds from different parts of the world,” Dallal said.

The book is one of a series of photography books, taken and developed by Henry Dallal including Horse Warrior and Pageantry & Performances.

Meanwhile the Omani leader presided over the Annual Royal Horse Race Festival, organised by the Royal Court Affairs (RCA), represented by the Royal Cavalry.

The race at the Madinat Al Adiyat race course in Seeb included canon dragging and equestrian skill shows and a horse beauty show of the new horses at the Royal Cavalry.

International teams specialised in equestrian shows like the Piaf Trio Team from Holland and the French team, which won the World Vaulting Cup, also staged their skills with vaulting and disabled equestrian shows.

At the end of the festival, the participating teams formed the concluding plateau and the Sultan handed over His Majesty’s Cup to Hosni Bin Mubarak Al Hajiri, the winner of the sixth round, and the prizes for winners of the top places in other rounds. The Royal anthem marked the conclusion of the festival.

Nasr Bin Hamoud Al Kindi, tSecretary-General of Royal Court Affairs, said that the Sultan was keen on preserving the authentic cultural heritage of horse races, riders and traditional races. “The domestic and international participations in the Annual Royal Horse Race Festival is part of this interest,” he said.

As many as 3,863 participants attended the festival including 1,285 students. There were 842 horses and 60 other animals. A number of traditional horse races like Hambal, Al Tahuwarib and Razha were performed at the festival.