Sail is changing equestrian sport in the United Arab Emirates

The Flanders Foal Auction team has arrived at the CSI4*-W competition in Abu Dhabi, where the first Flanders Foal Auction will take place today. Luc van Boembrueck and Gerald Lennart have auctioned in the UAE before, and now they have been invited by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima, the driving force behind equestrian sport in the UAE. Its influence on sports here is enormous. The granddaughter of the founder of the UAE has owned a stud farm in England for eleven years with broodmaids and young sport horses and hopes this group will produce the next Grand Prix races for Arabian riders.

International competition with high European standards with an Arab touch attracts more and more contestants. “72 horses have been flown in from Europe, and there are more every year. Ten years ago you had a maximum of 28 riders in the 1.40m class, nowadays there are already 80 to 100 riders who can jump in the 1.55m class. The sport here has become big and very professional thanks to Sheikha Fatima,” says event director Samantha Keitel, 30, who has been active since she was 18.H Even before making sail stables. Samantha spends most of the year in the UK, although she herself was born in Abu Dhabi at a time when her father was training racehorses to be a sheikh.

Flanders embryos are clear

You look at the track with a slanting eye. In the six-year-old division, the Sail Stables’ horses, bred and bought as foals, compete. The first Flanders embryos that we bought also jumped here in five-year-olds. This gives a lot of motivation. The Sheikha wanted to add something new and innovative to the competition, “something exciting”, which is the Flanders embryo auction. To offer the best strains from the breeders Europeans for Emiratis.

Admittedly, most Arabian jockeys are not looking for an unborn foal, but for a ready-made horse that they can use immediately. “But now we all know how expensive it is. We are convinced that buying a foal or foal well-bred across Flanders is a unique opportunity to have a very special jumping horse in the stable.”

sail growth

Samantha Keitel got her start as a contestant at Sail Stables. “We bought a horse from Marion Hughes in Ireland and two from here. The Sheikha now has 170 horses in the UK and about 50 to 60 in the UAE. She has her own stud, stable here, supports the UAE national team and the Nations Cup. We still have two horses in the Grand Prix to qualify.” Emirates Olympic Games, after that there will be a gap. You no longer buy Grand Prix horses, you no longer believe that they must come from their own training and a very large group of horses will arrive.”

In England, four knights are working on this under the leadership of Harvey Stewart. “It takes time, but we are patient. That is what gives us the greatest joy. Developing young horses for Grand Prix racing. The annual aim is to qualify young horses for the World Championships at Lannaken. Qualifying at Bolesworth International has now been achieved many times. Always a pleasure as a breeder And your money. You can start in Zangersheide without having to buy a table. Another advantage of buying a Flanders foetus is that you can register yourself as a breeder and thus take part in small horse championships in your country, and in England you can even win a breeder’s bonus.”

no shit level

Sheikha Fatima is trying to put herself on the map as an educator while at the same time pushing the AES genealogy book to a higher level. Once they are six years old and well trained, the horses come to the UAE. It’s special how show jumping has evolved here. Without it, the level would not be as high as it is now. It’s not a nonsense level anymore. If you want to win a test in this competition, you have to come from a good background.”

Sheikha Fatima herself did not participate in her own competition for the first few days. “She watches live, she’s very busy too. It’s incredible what she’s doing. It’s also no coincidence that Alicia MacDonald, the director and I, represent her. Women in a masculine culture. The sheikha is not a feminist, but she supports women in the UAE. And she Also the president of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Women’s Sports Academy, which supports Arab women in any sport towards the Olympics. She’s also a very strong woman, and we have a lot of respect for her, for what she does. When I myself go to a meeting with twenty men, she says upfront: “You have balls, They should listen to what you tell them!” laughs Samantha Keitel.

Meanwhile, the embryos shortlist was also drawn up. What sail stables will you buy? We’ll find out later today. The collection can be found here: The auction starts at 3pm Netherland time.

Luc van Boembrueck, Samuel Keitel, and Gerald Lennarts. Photo: Wendy Scholten

Source: press release

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