Berlin – The speakers of the first day of the ongoing World Arabian Horse Racing Conference Germany 2012 paid tribute to late Sheikh Zayed saying that his initiative to support Arabian races did not only preserve the Arabian horse, but it has mainly brought him to life once again.
“The history of the Arabian horse began to change as early as since the beginning of the 14th century. More than 50 percent of the then existing numbers of this noble creature was lost during that period after it became jobless and unable to earn its feeding,” said Dr. Azaddine Sedrati, a leading Moroccan breeder.
Sedarati whose relationship with the Arabian horse has started with a desire to know something about its history, highlighted the main features of the role which was played by the Arabian horse in the life of mankind.
“At one stage, people needed a reliable means of transportation to carry the soldier and his equipment across the desert and the harsh terrains of the jungles and mountains. Hence, the Arabian horse became the most important military tool and war machine. And when Napoleon invaded Egypt, he was fascinated with the way in which the Arabs used their horses in shooting and running.
“But, with the introduction of the new cannons and machine guns and later on the emergence of the new technology, the Arabian horse began to lose grounds.
“Shaikh Zayed, HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation, and HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan opened a new chapter in the history of the Arabian horse by finding a service for him through the support and funding of the races around the globe. This has eventually preserved the remaining numbers of the Arabian horse and encouraged small breeders and owners to produce more within Europe, the Middle East and the Americas,” he said.
Leading UAE breeder and owner Khaled Al Nabooda outlined the main problems they have been facing in the breeding industry as small breeders and owners.
“The hot and humid weather conditions coupled with the poor soil made our job very difficult, but it’s a challenge and we had to go for it.
“We have some local-bred Arabians that made history by beating the European-bred horses and setting new track records for the various distances of the races in which they took part within the country,” he said.
“But, the most urgent question which should be addressed by this forum would be the data base for the Arabian horses in training and the stallions as well. We need to know more about top stallions and winners,” he added.
Mats Genberg, secretary general of the International Federation of Arabian Horse Races (IFAHR) said: “To do this, we need realistic money and realistically sized organisation.”
According to the IFAHR secretary general, they are only five people in the executive council working on their own, without staff or budget.
“We have the will and determination to create the data base, but we need a push. In the Thoroughbreds sector, this mission was accomplished with private and commercial initiatives to serve an increasing numbers of racing fans. This advantage does not exist in our case.
“Here the numbers of people with passions to the Arabian races are very little. However, we can overcome this problem by creating information centres in the countries where there are Arabian horse races and exchange the forms of the horses involved at the global level,” he added.
Among the other issues under discussion was how much is the contribution of the stallion and how much is the contribution of the mare in breeding quality racing horses.
Generally speaking, the experts agreed that both elements are vital for the process and stallions with high genetic potentials can also produce good foals from unraced mares and vice versa. And this will eventually improve the dynasty over generations.
It has also been noted that, the artificial insemination has made the job of the Arabian horses’ breeders easier and cheaper, especially for small owners.
“When you speak about Godolphin, Prince Khaled Al Abdullah, Shadwell and Coolmore in the world of the Thoroughbreds, then you are talking about empires that can afford the high covering fees and long distance transportation charges for mares to be covered by outstanding stallions, while this is not the case with the Arabian horse breeders,” Genberg said.