QUALIFYING SPOTS for this year’s FEI World Equestrian Games in North Carolina, United States, will be on offer at the four-day CSI4* Al Shira’aa International Horse Show in Abu Dhabi this weekend. A number of leading international and regional showjumpers are set to battle each other at the second edition of the event which will be held at the state-of-the-art Al Forsan International Sports Resort in the nation’s capital from 10-13 January. The UAE will be well represented in the competition with the four riders from the nation’s in-form showjumping team, which won the Challenge Cup at the Longines FEI Nations Cup of Jumping in September, being the flag bearers for the Emirates.
Also among the 100 CSI4* riders are multiple Olympian Jos Lansink, world No. 13 Henrik von Eckermann and 2017 Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby winner Nigel Coupe. Over the course of the four days, spectators will see 220 horses jump, partnered by 153 riders from 26 countries. The event is sponsored by Emirates Equestrian Federation showjumping partner, Longines and supported by the Mother of the Nation organisation, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy. The Al Shira’aa International Horse Show offers a platform for local talent to compete against international stars in FEIaffiliated classes.
Competition will be held in various classes – young riders, juniors and young horses – as well as five ranking classes for CSI4* competitors seeking World Equestrian Games qualification. In addition to the top quality showjumping in the arena, visitors to the Al Shira’aa International Horse Show can spend time in the Al Shira’aa Village, a large family entertainment area, packed with equine equipment stalls, arts, crafts, food trucks and much more. “The inaugural Al Shira’aa International Horse Show in 2017 was a very well received event, both internationally and in the region,” said Mohamed Ahmed Al Owais, Sports and Technical Director, Al Shira’aa International Horse Show.
“Now in its second year the show is already seen as a significant date on the UAE showjumping calendar as well as on a global scale. Al Shira’aa is a proud supporter of many equine disciplines and promotes best practice through investment in grassroots programmes, such as the highly-regarded Al Shira’aa young rider scheme, all the way through to the promotion and development of the sport and its participants at the highest level through events such as this one. “As a CSI4* showjumping event this show offers local riders the chance to compete at home on a truly international stage.
“The Al Shira’aa International Horse Show complements the other events on the UAE and regional showjumping calendar and serves to attract more international competitors to the area, which will continue to raise the bar for the sport in the UAE.”