Sports & Entertainment

Horseracing in Dubai: A glimpse into the world's richest horse race and all that goes into the royal sport of kings!

The United Arab Emirates is well placed on the world map of international sport by hosting some of the most prestigious sporting events in the world. The infrastructure and facilities are world-class and has marked the UAE as the sporting capital of the Middle East.

The late His Highness Sheikh Zayed was registered as owning the largest stock of Arabian horses in the world. He had established the first Emiri stable in 1969 with 12 horses. Today, his sons have taken it to full membership of the World Arabian Horses Organization. The Maktoum family of Dubai with their 1000 horses in training around the world have stormed the international racing scene.

Now under the direction of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai, the Dubai Equestrian Club has been granted the responsibility of overseeing all affiliated equestrian events in Dubai in the future.

Having qualified for the Olympic games both in 2004 in Athens and in 2000 Sydney Olympics, Princess Haya's latest equestrian ambition is to qualify for the 2008 Olympic games in China.

Some racing tidbits!

1. The Modern technique

Jockeys sat upright until the end of the last century, when Top Sloan developed the exaggerated forward-seat position. Placing the rider's weight over the horse's centre of gravity greatly reduces wind resistance, and more importantly, keeps a rider in greater balance on a horse traveling at high speeds.

2. Weighing

To insure that each horse will carry the precise assigned weight, jockeys and their equipment weigh "out" before, and weigh "in" after a race. Weight is an ever-present factor in a jockey's life. Few weigh more than 105 pounds, and those who have difficulty with excess poundage must diet constantly.

3. Racing gear

Weighing no more than four pounds, a racing saddle is little more than a "postage stamp" leather pad. The whip is also called a "bat." Goggles protect against mud and dirt. The difference between assigned weight and the rider's actual poundage is made up by lead bars carried in saddle cloth pockets (some types of races require better horses to carry more weight as a handicap).

4. Jockey's whip

In racing much controversy over the use of the jockey's whip has meant that the Jockey Club has put in place rules and regulations encouraging prudent use of the whip. Despite these guidelines animal rights groups, a handful of owners, trainers and jockeys still dispute its use. In Norway the whip is banned, except for in emergencies. It is also heavily restricted in India, where jockeys are not allowed to use whip until they have proven they are capable of winning without it. However, for the rest of the racing world it's rather a grey area.

5. Naming racehorses

The registration process for naming a racehorse is very strict. A maximum of 18 letters is allowed and eight alternatives must be submitted. The industry takes it all very seriously. Ingham Brothers stable in NSW, which is the biggest thoroughbred stable in Australia, employs a horse namer to dub each of their 200 foals a season.

Riding schools in and around Dubai

Emirates Riding School (04 3361394)
Location: Nad Al Sheba. Racecourse.
Open Sat-Thu 7am-1pm and 4pm-7pm.
Cost for one hour lesson Dhs 125 or Dhs 600 for a black of five. 45 minute lessons cost Dhs200 or Dhs950 for a block of five.

Jebel Ali Equestrian Club (04 8844585)
Location: Jebel Ali Village.
The club requires an annual membership fee of Dhs120. Open Sat-Thu 8am-11am and 4am-7pm. Cost for 10 lessons packages Dhs500 for children, Dhs800 for adults.

Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa (04 8048058)
Location: Jebel Ali Resort.
Open Tue-Sun 7am-12noon, Cost for 30minute private lesson Dhs65, Dhs130 for one hour. Desert rides for competent riders are available.

Dubai Polo Club and Equestrian Centre (04 3618111)
Location: Arabian Ranches.
Open Tue-Sun 7am-9am and 4pm-9pm. Cost for 5 lesson package Dhs450 for adults and Dhs250 for children. Individual lessons start from Dhs100 for 50minutes. Polo lessons, Dhs2000 for 5 lesson package, private one hour lesson Dhs550.

Al Ahli Horse Riding Club (04 2988408)
Location: Right at the Al Mulla Plaza shopping mall and behind Al Ahli football club.
Open Sat-Thu 8.30am-9.30pm, during the summer months 5.30am-9.30am and again at 17.30pm to 22.30pm. Cost 45 minute lessons start from Dhs65.

Al Fursan International LLC (04 2662231 - H.O)
Al Fursan International LLC is an established supplier of world-class equestrian tack products in the Middle East and currently owns two tack shops at the Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club-Arabian Ranches and at Dubai Equestrian Club-Nad Al Sheba, housing the finest brands such as GPA, Pikeur & Eskadron, Kingsland, Las Helmets, Pessoa, Faustina, Prestige, Stubben etc. In addition, there is a dedicated division dealing in the selling of horses along with Equestrian and Stable consultancy. For more information please contact:

Al Fursan International LLC
P.O.Box 1, Dubai, UAE
Tel: 04-2662231 (H.O) / 04-3609341 (Arabian Ranches) / 04-3361500 (Nad Al Sheba)

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More Information
Al Fursan International LLC
Dubai Racing Club
Emirates Racing Association
Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club
Al Awani General Enterprises Est
Dubai World Cup
Godolphin Seven Stars
UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation
VIP Thoroughbreds
Come Racing UAE

Note : This information is to the best of our knowledge. We are not responsible for changes in Pricing/contact information. If you wish to contribute in any form do email us at

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