United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
Professional racing began in the UAE in 1992, coinciding with the formation of the Emirates Racing Authority. In the relatively short period of time that professional racing has existed in the UAE, the country has developed an industry and infrastructure that takes many other racing centers decades to achieve.
The men and women who ride these racehorses are called jockeys. Despite their light weight, jockeys must be able to control a horse that is moving at forty miles an hour, weighing 1,200 pounds.
Jockeys are normally self-employed, nominated by horse trainers to ride their horses in races in exchange for a fee and a percentage of the winnings. Jockeys usually start out when they are young by riding in the morning for trainers, as they begin their career as apprentice jockeys. The colors or silks worn by jockeys in races are the registered colors of the owner or trainer who employ them. Jockeys own and are responsible for their riding equipment, including saddles, pants, crops, helmets and boots.
One of the preferred mounts for horse racing in the UAE is the Arabian horse. In ancient days, the Arabian was bred for war. With the endurance to survive the harsh desert conditions of the Arabian Peninsula and the speed to carry a warrior swiftly against his foe, the Arabian horse became a much sought-after breed. Arabian horses have been celebrated in poetry, immortalized in myth and referenced in religious texts; battles have been fought on them, and over them. The Arabian horse, famed for its endurance, strength and loyalty, is a sought-after animal and source of prestige to its owners.
The demands of desert life and the eye of the Bedouin for the horses that best met their needs, shaped the breed we know today. The Bedouin horse breeders were passionate about keeping the blood of their horses pure, and through line-breeding, celebrated strains evolved which were prized for distinguishing characteristics and qualities.
Over time, the Arabian horse became more popular and attainable for a broader section of society. Modern Arabian horses compete in many different disciplines, such as showing and racing, and represent one of the ten most popular horse breeds in the world.
History shows that Arabian horses were spread around the world through war and commerce and have been used to improve other breeds by adding speed, refinement, endurance and strong bones. Today, Arabian bloodlines are found in almost every modern breed of riding horse.