The 2017 Kuwait International Arabian Horse Festival, in its entirety, lasted from February 3-21. It began on February 3-4 with the 6th International Championship, followed by two days of Open House Stud Visits which included an exhibition of artwork of the famous artist Mr. Ali Al Mimar at Bait Al Arab.
Then on February 17-18, it continued with the All Nations Cup – Straight Egyptians and three more days of Open House Stud Visits with the exhibition and launch of the book Ansata Hejazi – Born to Rule. Both shows were excellently organized by and hosted at The Arabian Horse Center Bait Al Arab, the State Stud of Kuwait.
|Al Safinat Stud|
Since 2010, Kuwait has hosted National, International and Straight Egyptian events and shows with great success. Due to the diligent level of organization, generous hospitality and thoughtful breeding programs which are producing high quality horses, Kuwait’s growing presence as an International destination for Arabian horses has received great support from all over the world. The 2017 Kuwait International Arabian Horse Festival was attended by huge numbers of people who represented every major continent with involvement in Arabian horses.
Open House Stud Visits
The Open House Stud Visits were priceless opportunities enjoyed by visitors and guests of the Kuwait International Arabian Horse Festival. The second set of Open House Stud Visits took place directly after the All Nations Cup – Straight Egyptians. Thanks to excellent planning and friendly cooperation, presentations at eleven farms were enjoyed by large groups of guests who successfully caravanned from venue to venue, over a three-day span. Although these visits did follow the show, I have chosen to cover them first as I feel they give deeper insight into the Kuwaiti breeding environment and community. This will also be beneficial in understanding the success of the show and how it was embraced. The Studs that participated in this tour included: El Adiyat Arabians, Ajmal Arabian Stud, Al Danat Stud, Aljazira Stud, Al Safinat Stud, Al Maale Stud, Mubarak Arabians, Bait Al Arab, Al Rayah & Al Sharq Stud, Al Rehab Stud and Al Salam Stud.
First and foremost, the Stud Visits provided tremendous insight into the high level of hospitality for which Kuwaitis have become known. At each Stud, it was impressive that the owners were present to greet and engage guests. Then, from the moment of arrival, elegantly dressed servers offered chocolates, small pastries and coffee as well as other beverages to be enjoyed throughout the presentations. At the appropriate times, certain farms served incredibly elaborate meals consisting of the country’s finest foods and desserts. On Sunday (2-19) we were hosted to lunch at Ajmal Arabian Stud; on Monday (2-20), lunch was at Al Maale Stud while dinner was provided by Bait Al Arab; and on Tuesday (2-21), lunch was enjoyed at Al Rayah & Al Sharq Stud.
|Al Maale Stud|
One of the valuable opportunities offered by the Open House Stud Visits was an intimate way to view and evaluate many of the horses who had competed. Most importantly though, due to the outstanding management of the presentations and reference materials provided, it was the chance to learn about individual breeding programs, as well as provide a larger understanding of Kuwait’s contemporary contribution to the advancement of the Straight Egyptian Arabian horse. As many of the Studs visited were several generations deep in their programs, they were also a visual lesson in the evolution of breeding programs.
|Al Safinat Stud|
From one venue to another, it was delightful to see the variations in architectural design and layout, as each farm had its own unique appearance and ambiance. However, laced throughout the presentations and the different settings, were strong consistencies that prevailed. One of the very first things I noticed was the genuine friendship the Kuwaiti breeders shared with one another. The breeders hosting presentations were noticeably visible at most, if not all the presentations. As it can be less common in other parts of the world, the level of sincere support the Kuwaitis enjoyed in one another was refreshing. Certainly, the entire Arabian horse industry could benefit from their valuable example in the many advantages of regional camaraderie. James Keller, a Roman Catholic priest wrote, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” To me, this statement perfectly illustrates my observations of the relationships breeders of this country seemed to share.
|Al Rayah & Al Sharq Stud|
|El Adiyat Arabians|
It was also impressive to observe the studious nature of the Kuwaitis who also attended the Stud Visits. They would group together with the presentation reference materials and engage in serious discussions; many were digitally recording horses while also taking notes; and finally, photographers were working hard to create unique perspectives. Bait Al Arab has been a leader in education regarding the various aspects and opportunities involved with Arabian horses. Every year, free of charge, the State Stud offers seminars and courses related to horse health, stud management, grooming & training, horsemanship, as well as a National Judges Course, which is done in cooperation with European Conference of Arabian Horse Organizations (ECAHO). Furthermore, Bait Al Arab encourages photographers with contests offering large prizes. It seems certain that this outstanding leadership and support have provided multiple paths for the people of Kuwait to successfully enjoy relationships with Arabian horses.
We will continue our coverage from Kuwait later this week, with the special launch of Ansata Hejazi – Born to Rule.
|Mubarak Arabians||Al Danat Stud|
Lisa Abraham is an International Journalist and Photographer from the United States. Although she does freelance for various media, her primary dedication is to Arabhorse.com as a Premier Contributor and Representative. She is also a breeder of Straight Egyptian Arabians www.lisaabrahamphotography.com