Show jumping is one of the most beautiful sports in the world to watch – the rider and the horse working through the course in tandem and with amazing grace, athleticism and skill. Not only is show jumping an Olympic sport, it is also one of the most magnificent kinds of equestrianism. The sport was created to display the affinity between the horse and its rider, the levels of performance, speed, ambition, training as well as co-ordination.
Starting Thursday, January 6, the residents of the UAE will be able to watch some of the finest names in the sport in action when the three-day Dubai Show Jumping Championship 2011 is held at Dubai International Endurance City.
The annual tournament, one of the features of the Emirates Equestrian Centre’s calendar, once again brings together top international show jumpers from the Arab League and Europe to compete in this prestigious event.
Competitors will vie for prize money totalling Dhs600,000 over the three-day showpiece, which culminates with the Dubai Equestrian Club Grand Prix, a qualifier for the FEI World Cup. Dubai is the first of the 4 qualifiers for this season, which are all to be held in the United Arab Emirates.
Competition courses are designed by Bob Ellis (GBR), who has also been appointed to be the builder and designer of the Jumping course for the 2012 London Olympics.
There will be strong representation from the UAE team. Fresh from their success at the Saudi Arabia International Show Jumping Championship, the team will include Sheikha Latifa Al Maktoum, 2010 Asian Games individual silver winner, and Mohammed Al Owais, winner of the CSI4* Grand Prix and World Cup Qualifier in Doha at the Qatar International Show Jumping Championship 2010.
Al Owais is currently the highest placed UAE competitor on the FEI Arab League World Cup Ranking list. Other members include Sheikh Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qassimi, Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmed Al Maktoum and Ahmed Al Juneibi.
Reigning champions from the 2010 Asian Games and one of the top 10 teams at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, Saudi Arabia will be represented by Khaled Abdulaziz Al Eid, Abdullah W Al Sharbatli, individual silver winner at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 and former Olympian HRH Prince Abdullah Moteb Al Saud.
Irish rider Cian O’Connor, with his exceptional track record in the sport and recent win at the Christmas 2010 Olympia, will also be competing at the Championship. Marion Hughes, also from Ireland, has been entered by Zabeel Riding Barn.
Mohammad Essa Al Adhab, Deputy General Manager, Dubai Equestrian Club, promised unforgettable action, saying: “There will undoubtedly be fierce competition amongst some of the best riders, with participation from not only the region’s finest, but I would also say, the world’s finest in the sport.”
Paul McAuley, Manager, Emirates Equestrian Centre, added: “We are definitely excited about this year’s Championship as, beyond being one of the biggest show jumping events on the equestrian calendar in the Middle East, it is also a truly enjoyable day for families and children, with a range of entertainment and activities available for all.”
The Dubai Show Jumping Championship 2011 will also feature a wide variety of family entertainment and activities, including food and beverage stands, pony rides, activities for children, and chances to win an array of attractive prizes from various sponsors and supporters.
The championship 2011 is sponsored by Gold Sponsors Longines and Gulf News, and Silver Sponsors Al Mubdee Scaffold Solutions (AMS), The Meydan Hotel and Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa.
Patrick Aoun, Regional Brand Manager, Longines, said: “Longines has had a long-standing association with equestrian sports and show jumping. This discipline embodies power and precision, qualities we also find in timepieces bearing our name. Attracting the best riders in the region, the Dubai Show Jumping Championship 2011 will be exciting to watch, and Longines will be there to add its signature style as a dedicated ambassador of equestrian sports.”
Admission to the Dubai Show Jumping Championship 2011 is free. Gates open at 11.30 am on Thursday, 1.00 pm on Friday and 11.00 am on Saturday, January 8.
Photo Credit: Sheikha Latifa al Maktoum and her horse Kalaska de Semilly during the Dubai Grand Prix/FEI World Cup Qualifier 2010