Qatar celebrates the Arabian horse this month by hosting the third edition of the Katara International Arabian Horse Festival under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The Katara Cultural Village Foundation launched the third edition of the Katara International Arabian Horse Festival (KIAHF) 2023 yesterday in cooperation with the Qatar Equestrian Federation (QEF) and the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC) at the Katara Beach from February 1-11, 2023.
Bader Al Darwish, President of the Qatar Equestrian Federation, said, “This version of KIAHF will witness a remarkable development at all levels as the number of horses registered so far has reached 481”.
Horses from 18 different countries will be vying for the first-place prizes, amounting to 17,083,500 Qatari riyals this year. Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, USA and Uruguay will all be represented by their best horses.
Visitors can also attend live art shows and admire paintings of the purebred Arabian horse on the sidelines of the KIAHF 2023. A photography competition will also be taking place, where both professional and amateur photographers are invited to compete for the best pictures of horses taken during the festival’s various competitions.
The Arabian horse is a source of immense pride for the peninsula, known since time immemorial for its superiority in endurance, intelligence, and beauty. Famously effective in battle and able to withstand the heat, the Arabian horse was instrumental in historic battles against Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, and Napoleon.
The origin of the Arabian horse is said to date back to the 7th century, used by the Bedouins in the desert for centuries before becoming world famous in the 19th century when European royal families imported them to breed with their studs.
Its place in the hearts of the Arab people goes back to the Prophet Muhammad, who was said to have sounded his battle horn when they were drinking at an oasis, and in spite of the horses’ thirst, five out of six of his Arabian mares returned to him.
The most famous Arabian horse in the world according to Australian site Pro Horse is said to be “Marwan Al Shaqab, a treasure in the royal stables of Qatar” that enjoys the status of a rockstar in the Middle East. “Owned by the royal family of the state, this exquisite stallion was three-time winner in a world championship, two-time winner at the US National Championships and has the title of leading world sire seven years in a row for the World Championships”.
It should therefore come as no surprise that the Gulf country should host the KIAHF 2023, celebrating the Arabian horse, and welcoming the world to compete in Katara, Qatar.
“Katara was keen to launch the third edition of the festival (…) in order to embody the bright history, revive the ancient culture and enrich the authentic heritage of the Qatari equestrian sport” the chairman of the KIAHF, H.E. Professor Khalid bin Ibrahim Al-Sulaiti told the press this week.
H.E. also announced on this occasion that Qatar will host the World Championship for Purebred Arabian Horses in December 2023 marking the first time in 40 years that the championship will be held outside of its home country of France.