Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, the Minister of Climate Change and Environment, emphasized the significance of horse racing as an integral part of the UAE and Arab region’s heritage, not just a sport that is encouraged and celebrated. She spoke at the inaugural session of the Dubai International Equestrian Conference, which was held alongside the 20th Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship at the Dubai World Trade Center from 17th to 19th March.
She stated that His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, inspires them to cherish horses, which have an enduring charm. This year’s conference was conducted under the theme “A Touch of Loyalty and Gratitude: Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid: 50 Years of Giving to Equestrianism.”
The opening ceremony was attended by Sheikha Hessa bin Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Suhail bin Butti Al Maktoum, Executive Director for the Sports Development Sector at the General Sports Authority, Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad bin Saif Al Sharqi, President of the Emirates Federation of Body Building and Fitness, and numerous senior equestrian officials.
The conference aimed to bring together horse owners, breeders, stables and clubs, businessmen, professional investors, experts, scientists, veterinarians, stylists, feed specialists, and others to discuss the latest trends in equine sports and the industry.
Mariam Almheiri acknowledged that the UAE has a long history of equestrianism, dating back to Bedouin life in the desert, where horses were a means of transportation, a source of pride, and a representation of power. She highlighted the need to preserve this heritage and develop it to enhance the country’s equine industry.
The Minister also noted that the UAE has been a leader in the equine industry, with Dubai hosting numerous world-class horse racing events, such as the Dubai World Cup, the Dubai Kahayla Classic, and the Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship. These events draw significant numbers of tourists and contribute to the country’s economy.
Sheikha Hessa bin Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, during her speech at the conference, commended Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his tireless efforts and contributions to the development of the equine sector in the UAE. She described him as a leading figure in equestrianism and praised his contributions to the industry, including his creation of the Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship.
The Dubai International Equestrian Conference included a range of activities, such as a panel discussion on the topic of “Horses in the UAE: Past, Present, and Future,” which explored the evolution of the equestrian sector in the UAE, and a presentation on “The Economic and Social Benefits of Equine Activities.” Other sessions focused on equine nutrition, horse breeding, equine health and welfare, and the latest developments in horse racing.
The conference highlighted the importance of preserving and developing the UAE’s equestrian heritage and the equine industry, which contributes to the country’s economy and attracts tourists from around the world. It also emphasized the need to promote research and development in the sector to enhance the competitiveness of the country’s equine industry globally.