By Duane Fonseca
Emirati rider Saeed Salem Atiq Khamis Al Muhairi made endurance riding history at Ermelo in The Netherlands Thursday with a third straight success in the FEI CSI 4-star World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors.
Al Muhairi might be just 19, but he has a wealth of experience and maturity when it comes to distance riding and his performance aboard the M7 Endurance Stables owned 10yo Arabian mare Haleh, trained by Mohammed Ahmad Ali Al Subose, was absolute class. Al Muhairi had won two previous editions of the championship that were held at Valeggio Sul Mincico and San Rossore in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
And both he and Haleh showed extraordinary composure to master an international field of 74 riders; the pair clocking a time of 5 hours 9 minutes and 10 seconds.
Abdulla Ali Mohamed Ali Alamri, who trailed compatriot Al Muhairi for most of the ride, finished second a further nine seconds adrift, while third place was scalped by Spanish teen Rut Badia Marfa, who led the field entering the fourth and final loop, but dropped back two places to round off the podium with a time of 5:09.25. Only 40 rider horse pairs completed the ride from a starting field of 74.
Three other UAE riders, Khalfan Juma Mohammed Khamis Beljafla, Hamdan Ahmad Mohammed Al Marri, and Fares Ahmad Saeed Daafoos Amer Al Mansoori were vetted out, denying the UAE Team Gold, which depending on a minimum of three riders completing the course.
Runner-up Ali Alamri was aboard the F3 Endurance Stables-owned 12-year-old Tonki Dee Boo Nasil, a Part-bred Arabian, trained by Khalifa Ghanim Al Marri.