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Albidayer Stud

by Denise P. Hearst

On the evening we spoke with Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al Qasimi, he was holding the trophy won by a filly he bred, and his voice was full of joy. “This is my goal. I want to breed quality horses that are ‘Made in Sharjah, UAE.’ His tone made clear that the Arabian breed had won another devotee, and as our discussion continued, we realized his newfound passion was one that would last.

While Sheikh Mohammed began breeding his own Arabians in 2003, he spent years admiring the Arabians owned by his uncle, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah.

"I remember attending the 1996 WAHO conference hosted by the UAE," says Sheikh Mohammed. “Here in Sharjah there was a special presentation of Arabians on the beach. It was so beautiful. I was not with the horses then, but we attended out of respect for His Highness. Over the years, I came to all of the events and shows — one of the first Arabian shows in the emirates was in Sharjah. My brother, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Thani, became involved with Arabian horses, and today is the owner of Alzobair Stud. I became affected by the sight of those horses all around me — the love of Arabians is contagious, you know. Little by little the attachment grew and I began to think I would like to  do something with these horses also.                                         photo: ErwinEscher.com

"In 2002, I began to think seriously about starting with horses. I asked my brother where one should begin to look, and he asked me, ‘What are you trying to do?’ ‘I’m just curious,’ I said. He said, ‘No, there is something there.’ You see, I didn’t want to tell anyone what I was thinking. I just wanted to keep a low profile and try to see first and then decide. But my brother knew I was serious.

In March 2003 I was in London, and my brother was in Germany for an exhibition. He invited me to join him on a couple of farm visits he had planned before the exhibition. So I met him in Germany and we drove to Frank Spönle’s, to the Eschers’ Rothenberg Stud, and finally we ended up at Sax Arabians. We walked through the pastures and in about a half an hour I bought three horses. My brother was surprised because he had left Reinhard Sax and me for a couple of minutes and he came back and I said, ‘I bought three horses — two mares and a filly!’

I was so happy. I flew back to London and within five days I called Frank and bought one of the horses I saw there and I called Erwin Escher and bought a colt from him.

“So that is what happened to me — five horses in one week! It was a big shock to my brother. Today I have 25 horses. Some are living at my brother’s farm, some are with my trainer Scott Allman and some are in the U.S. Plans for my own farm are in the design stage."

Sheikh Mohammed’s horses have already become a presence in European and Middle East showrings. “The first show I attended was Aachen 2003," he says. “At that show, my mare Om El Gamala Estopa (Estopasan x Om El Amira) was first in her class. It was a nice beginning."

In 2006, Sheikh Mohammed’s horses represented him well. The current star of the show string is 2005 Scottsdale Junior Champion Colt Marajj (*Marwan Al Shaqab x RGA Kouress by Kouvay Bey) who won 2006 Qatar International Junior Champion Colt, 2006 Dubai International Reserve Champion Junior Colt, Ajman Junior Champion Colt, and 2006 All- Nations Cup Top Five Junior Colt.

"I was probably the most proud of Marajj’s win in Aachen," Sheikh Mohammed says. "He didn’t win the Championships, but he won his class, and went top five and it was a good win for me. You’re not going to win them all. It’s the judges’ taste, and everyone has their own taste. If you win you’re happy. If I lose I feel a little upset in the moment, but 15 minutes later everything is gone. It’s a sport. This is how I am."

Says trainer Scott Allman, “I feel about Marajj the way I did for U.S. National Champion Fame VF 15 or 20 years ago when I cared for that stallion in California. Like him, Marajj has an aura about him that says he’s a champion. He’s the epitome of an Arabian stallion."

Another colt, Psyrasic (Psytadel x Karoba by Kubinec), was 2006 Reserve Junior Champion Colt at Strohen, in Germany, and 2006 Reserve Junior Champion Colt in Abu Dhabi. “Psyrasic has a lovely face," says Sheikh Mohammed. “Every year he improves."

The European Junior Champion Colt has grown into a fine young stallion — SC Dagash (Davidoff x Verbala by Balaton), who was 2006 Reserve Champion Senior Stallion at Menton, in France. “I’m in love with him," Sheikh Mohammed says. “I bred the Polish mare Pustynna Droga (Laheeb x Pustynna Tarcza) to him this year."

The mare Eskalopka (Monogramm x Egzotyka by Probat), purchased by Sheikh Mohammed in Poland in 2004, was 2006 Senior Champion Mare in Strohen, Germany, and 2006 Ajman Reserve Champion Mare.

Sheikh Mohammed also owns the straight Egyptian stallion Gatsby CC (*Shahir x Miss Maggie Mae by The Minstril) who this year was named 2006 European Egyptian Event Reserve Champion Senior Stallion, and 2006 Egyptian Classic Cup Senior Champion Stallion. “My plan is to create a small straight Egyptian program around him," Sheikh

Mohammed says. Prior to exportation, Gatsby was a U.S. Egyptian Event Junior Champion Colt and has sired several Egyptian Event winners here in the States.

"The best thing about Sheikh Mohammed is that he is in Arabians for enjoyment," says Scott Allman. “He takes pleasure from having some of the most elite Arabian horses, and from watching them compete among the very best whether that’s in the Middle East, Europe, or the U.S. Acquiring those beautiful horses and knowing that everyone is enjoying seeing those horses, has meant a lot to him. And in turn, he’s put a lot into the breed, supporting countless shows with his entries.

"My desire is to help him build a wonderful breeding program," Scott continues. “When I am in the UAE, I organize private presentations for him so he can kick back and enjoy looking at his stock. We’re very excited about the future. With the horses we’ve acquired over the last two years, Albidayer will have the strength to breed some absolutely phenomenal individuals."

Young Albidayer-bred stock are already winning. There’s the homebred filly Bidayer (Emigrant x Eskalopka) who brought home the trophy mentioned earlier. And the colt Ghandoor was the Local-Bred Champion in Sharjah. He’s by Khidar and out of Malina II (by Tahbal), one of Sheikh Mohammed’s original purchases from Sax Arabians.

In 2006, two Albidayer colts look especially promising. One is at Sax Arabians, a Khidar colt out of a Kubinec daughter. The other colt is at Scott’s. He’s by AB Magnum and out of San Jose Alphonsina, who is now bred to Marajj.

Three Albidayer horses will compete in the U.S. in 2007. Marajj is headed to the U.S. National Futurities. Mattaharii (Magnum Chall HVP x Belindaa), 2005 U.S. National Reserve Champion Yearling Filly, will return to the U.S. showring in futurity fillies, and the filly Princess Marieta BVA (*Marwan Al Shaqab x Mardie Gras), bred by Brookville Arabians, will be shown in yearling fillies beginning at Scottsdale.

"I am showing in Europe and the U.S. because I want the name of my city and country to be present in these shows," says Sheikh Mohammed, who hopes to attend the Scottsdale show next year. “I have a fondness for the Southwest because I attended the University of Arizona in Tucson. Those five years were among the best times in my life."

Sheikh Mohammed is pleased to think that his homeland might become less of an enigma, at least in Arabian horse circles. “Sharjah is known as a family city rather than a commercial city," says Sheikh Mohammed.

"Most of the people who work in the UAE live in Sharjah. It is a peaceful city, quiet, and it’s very nice to live here."

Since oil and natural gas were discovered in the 1970s, Sharjah has not only become a modern city but it has become known as the cultural center of the Arabian Gulf — a distinction that reflects the many and varied interests of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, a noted art collector, writer, scholar … and Arabian breeder.

"Arabians have enhanced my life in so many ways. I have NO IDEA what I did before I had Arabians! And I have no idea what I got myself into," says Sheikh Mohammed.

“Before, a horse was just a horse to me. But as you gain knowledge of any subject, your appreciation deepens. Now I see subtle differences between horses. I am drawn to beautiful heads and I love good movement. I have seen so many beautiful horses. I love my own horses and I wouldn’t trade any of them, but there are always horses I do not own that I admire from afar. The mare Loubna (Imperial Imdal x Imperial Kalatifa) is one. I think she is the most beautiful; an incredible mare. And the stallion Imperial Baarez (PVA Kariim x BB Ora Kalilah).

"Because of Arabian horses, I’ve gotten to know people from different parts of the world. I attend two shows in Europe each year, Aachen and Paris, and at every show I meet at least 10 new people. It’s nice to know these people. At each show I like to have dinner with a big group. And we sit, talk, and socialize and I like that very much. “It’s nice to let them know my culture, especially in these days, with what’s going on now in the world. A lot of people don’t know about our culture and our habits. I try to

reflect my culture, and show them what it can be. A lot of times religion comes into the discussion and they get to know a lot about that, too. I try to give them an impression of who we really are as opposed to what they hear and see. This is important.

"So you can see the many things horses can do for people. There is no U-turn. I cannot go back to the life before horses. It’s a different world now."


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