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RIYADH: The International Championship for Purebred Arabian Horses (Kahila) concluded its second edition on Sunday after five days of various exhibitions in an arena set up at the Riyadh Front Exhibitions and Convention Center.
The event saw 10 winners in different categories including Fillies Championship, Mares Championship, Colts Championship, Saudi Arabian Thoroughbred Horses Championship and Stallions Championship.
Shaman Al-Areeb won Golden Champion KSA Desert Bred Fillies; Nabil Alsakab, owned by Alsakab Stables, won Golden Champion Senior Stallions; Khaznah II, owned by Almasan Stables, won Golden Champion KSA Desert Bred Mares; and Muhanad RH, owned by Baqeeq Stables, won Golden Champion KSA Desert Bred Stallions.
Horse stable owners told Arab News that equestrian beauty contests are attracting more and more public attention and interest in the Kingdom, although they still need to be further developed.
The event, which was attended by 511 horses from various countries, drew an audience of more than 8,000 people, according to Wafi Al-Qahtani, head of the organizing committee.
“The daily activities of the championship lasted 10 days, and everything went according to plan without a hitch. The concept of this competition was inspired by the noseband of Kahila, a horse of the founder of the Third Saudi State, King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman,” he said.
The championship was held under the patronage of Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, chairman of the Equestrian Authority and the Horse Racing Club. The event brought together global specialists and ambassadors from countries around the world.
The competition took place in a closed multi-purpose arena, Al-Qahtani said. The main exhibition hall had three seating areas for fans, a reception area, a horse show area, an event area, and a dining area.
Al-Qahtani said the event is one of the most important Arabian horse championships in the region. It is held as part of the honor of King Abdulaziz’s horses and in memory of the gifts the king gave to world leaders.
One of the most famous horses gifted by King Abdulaziz was Turfa, an Arabian mare given to King George VI upon his coronation as monarch of the United Kingdom. King Abdulaziz also gave the Queen of the Netherlands two horses: Kahila Jalabi and Kahila Sabiliya.
The registration period for the five-day championship lasted 11 days to allow horse owners to prepare. Some participants have been nominated by the European Conference of Arab Horse Organisations.
The competition, Al-Qahtani said, reflects “pride in the history and heritage of the purebred Arabian horse, and highlights this ancient sport and the Kingdom’s efforts to promote it at local events and international”.
Hail Al-Enezi, owner of Al-Hawail Stables, which competed in the championship, said the popularity of equestrian beauty pageants has increased across the Kingdom.
Bandar bin Ghadeer, partner of MBO Stables, said that although equestrian beauty pageants in Saudi Arabia have grown in importance, “they need more development”.
He described the competition as “extremely difficult”.
His partner, Osama Al-Rashid, said the horses’ composure in the trials is not as relevant as their beauty, which can be seen in the neck and head when displayed to the public and judges .