- Title: SAUDI ARABIA: Horse "beauty contest" in Saudi Arabia
- Date: 26th January 2012
- Summary: BOY WATCHING
- Embargoed: 10th February 2012 12:00
- Location: Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia
- Country: Saudi Arabia
- Topics: Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky
- Reuters ID: LVACU2UGQGQY7WWGJCUTJPE3CG1T
- Story Text: The cream of the crop of Arabian horses took centre stage on Wednesday (January 25) on day three of the Khalediah Horse Festival in Saudi Arabia. The prestigious five-day-long festival gives buyers the opportunity to snap up thoroughbred horses, which often sell for many thousands of pounds.
Galloping into the paddock, the Arabian horses took part in a show where they were judged in categories which included their body, legs and movement. Each horse is awarded a score out of twenty for each aspect of their physique.
Winning a prize at the world-renowned event is a great honour for competitors.
"I feel like a victorious knight, and thank God, the effort and hard work has all paid off," said Saud al-Subai, owner of a winning horse called 'Makisa Tilaria'.
The event itself attracts horse traders, trainers and tourists who come to enjoy the spectacle.
"I judged this show last year and it is always a big pleasure to be here, it is one of the best shows in the world, also the best horses from the whole world are here and it is very nice to see all of them. Very good organisation here is normal. I think Saudi Arabia is really growing with their interest and also the quality of horses and that is really nice to see, so it is a big pleasure for us to be here and to enjoy the show," said Jaroslav Lacina, President of the European Organization for Arabian Horses (ECAHO).
This is the fifth year of the Khalediah Arabian Horse Festival, the largest show of its kind in the Arab Peninsula. The event is already considered one of the most important for Arabian horse fans internationally.
"The festival is five days long. Most festivals in the world are no more than two or three days but Khalediah had made its mark internationally, and has also gained an international reputation by winning the equestrian World Cup 10 years in a row. Qatar is in second place having won eight world cups, and Poland won seven world cups. So everybody wants to participate in al-Khalediah because it is well known for thoroughbred Arabian horses," said Muteb al-Shammari, Director of the media department and member of the organising committee at al-Khalediah stables.
The Khalediah festival, named after the sprawling farmland that stages the event, is sponsored by Saudi Prince Khaled bin Sultan and takes place in the town of Tebrak, around 90 kilometres southwest of the Saudi capital Riyadh.
The festival includes horse racing, horse shows, horse auctions and festival stalls selling and displaying items related to the desert kingdom's equine history and culture.
The owner of the horse that won fourth place in the beauty contest dedicated his victory to lovers of horses everywhere.
"First, I dedicate this victory to every horse-lover, because horses are very loveable, everybody loves them," said Rida al-Hubaibi.
Saudi Arabia has been known to produce Arabian horses which are carefully bred and trained.
The Arabian horse is deeply ingrained in Arab history and culture and has a known history which spans 5,000 years. It is considered one of the purest equine breeds and is known for its beauty as well as endurance, courage, strength and loyalty.
Since the 16th century, European royal families and aristocracy have sent emissaries to the deserts of Arabia to bring back the thoroughbreds to breed in their stables.
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