Dilmun, believed to be Bahrain in ancient times and legend has it the site of the Garden of Eden. Clay seals found from this period depict many scenes from life in that age, one in particular is of what looks to be a mounted equid. That was over 2000 years ago. During the same period the island became very famous for its pearling industry.
In the much more recent times, 1783, the ruling Al Khalifa family rode their Arabian horses to battle and to conquer Bahrain. With the advent of the motor car and peaceful life in general, the Bahrain war horse could have gradually disappeared, but the family tradition of horses was very strong and great pride in them ensured that they survived. As cars replaced horses as a mode of transport, the discovery of oil gained precedence over the already waning pearl trade, but the true ‘pearls’ of Bahrain, her magnificent Arabian horses still survive to delight us
to this day.
For your additional enjoyment we have arranged two unique days of visits to private stud farms which are not normally open to visitors. Those WAHO Conference participants who can stay with us after the General Assembly are warmly invited to these exclusive presentations of the Arabian horses of Bahrain. These very special days, included in your Conference Fee, are not to be missed.
If you have any queries or need any clarification, please contact
the Waho Conference Bahrain 2017 office.
The schedule may be subject to change. The final daily itinerary will be provided on your arrival.
A unique collection of pure-bred Arabian horses has been preserved on the island for over 200 years by the rulers of Bahrain, the Al Khalifa family, and most recently by His Majesty, King Hamad Bin Isa al Khalifa. In 1983, His Majesty as then Crown Prince relocated the stud to its present site at Rowtha't Alghar to ensure the protection and careful supervision of the breeding programme. The stud presently consists of 320 registered horses. The principle aim of the Royal Stud is to preserve the ancient strains that have been passed down the generations of the ruling family. The nobility and suitability of the breed has always been done on a selective basis, earlier for their bravery and stealth in battle and now for their courage and speed in flat racing and endurance.
The Royal Stud has representatives from 20 different strains and sub-strains of the Arabian horse, such as the most famously known Dahmeh, Jellabieh, Hamdanieh and Ma'anaghieh. Some of these strains are unique to Bahrain - such as the Kuheila't Umm Zorayr - which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Great care is employed to ensure the preservation of some of the rarer strains, so that they may survive and delight Arabian enthusiasts for generations to come.
With the rise in popularity of Endurance riding in the region, Bahrain with its rich heritage of equine sport could not possibly be left behind. The Royal Endurance Team was established in the year 2000 and Bahrain successfully hosted its first International Endurance Ride during the very first season.
HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa has been the driving force behind the sport from the very beginning and his personal achievements as a rider and the continuing successes of his team are a constant source of delight to His Majesty The King and the horse lovers of Bahrain.
From its luxurious base at Al Jazayer the Royal Team has launched numerous winning campaigns abroad as far away as distant Chile where Bahrain were the gold medallists in the 2015 FEI World Endurance Championships for Young Riders and Juniors. HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa has over 150 horses housed at his magnificent stables, with bloodlines from many WAHO Member countries.
Based in a delightful desert setting at Um Jedder is another collection of rare purebred Bahraini Arabian horses. Established by His Majesty The King's late Uncle, HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa the stud's foundation stock is from the same source as the Royal Stud. When Prince Mohammed was a young man he asked his father the Amir, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, if he could choose some mares, his delighted father was so pleased by this request he gave his youngest son the mares of his choice to establish his own stud and preservation breeding programme. The stud is now in the hands of Prince Mohammed's sons and within this stud are some of the most beautiful mares and stallions on the island. As in the Royal Stud desert families are carefully preserved. In recent years under the management of the new generation the stud has grown significantly. It is not unusual for horses to be gifted to the Royal Stud and vice versa so that the gene pool is enlarged and the protection of the rare strains strengthened by this mutual co-operation between the studs.
At this stud there is an atmosphere of timelessness and many of the old traditions have been carried forward into the 21st century. The horses here will truly transport your imaginations back to a time of battles on horseback.
Throughout history, Arabian horses have been a treasure among treasures, considered by the Arabs to be the most desirable of possessions and the most splendid of gifts. Al Rashediah Stud is dedicated to breeding the finest of these noble animals.
With great vision and foresight, Mr. Rashid Abdul Rahman Al Jasmi has chosen to breed straight Egyptian Arabian horses of the highest possible quality. His experience has cultivated an ability to make judicious decisions combined with the steadfast commitment required to develop a serious breeding programme. The result is a collection of horses of astonishing quality and a breeding programme filled with exciting possibilities.
At Al Rashediah, every thought has been given to the care, breeding, and management of the farm's prized horses – from the design of the magnificent stables and paddocks, the care and comfort of its equine residents, to the expertise of a highly dedicated professional staff.
As an admirer and collector of art with a special sensitivity to the dignity of the Arabian breed, Mr. Al Jasmi has carefully chosen his premier breeding stock. He has nurtured his own unique style in breeding and training thus attracting the attention of many fellow Arabian horse enthusiasts. He has created one of the most impressive studs in a region known around the globe for its world-class horses.
As Bahrain becomes a modern cosmopolitan state it always strives to preserve its history and culture in no better a way than with the participation of its youth in traditional desert pursuits that their forefathers took for granted. An annual festival of falconry, saluqi races, traditional bareback horse racing and shooting is hugely popular and keeps the youngsters close to their roots.
Horseracing in Bahrain first took place at the racing grounds north of Muharraq island during the rule of Sheikh Isa Bin Ali Al Khalifa (ruler from 1869 to 1925). Later Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa (ruler from 1942 to 1961) established the racing track at Safra in Riffa. Races were held every Friday from November till May. This became a popular meeting place during HH Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa's (ruler from 1961 to 1999) time. The races were informal and unique in style with no betting or prizes and were over sand and bareback.
In 1981 HH Sheikh Isa Bin Salman Al Khalifa inaugurated the magnificent track and premises of what is now known as the Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club at Sakhir. Races take place weekly throughout the season for both Thoroughbreds and purebred Arabians. Horseracing is now one of the most popular spectator sports in the Kingdom, second only to football.
After the WAHO General Assembly session in the morning, we cordially invite you to join us for one of Bahrain's important Race Meetings of the season. Our guests will be treated to a full card of thrilling races, including the featured WAHO Cup. The races will be interspersed with displays of traditional desert sports such as falconry and saluqi racing as well as a traditional horse race.
We will be delighted to welcome you all to the 8th edition of our Bahrain National Arabian Show, which is held in memory of the late HH Sheikh Faisal Bin Hamad Al Khalifa. With classes starting in the afternoon, this well attended and popular show is held over two days at the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) showground at the premises of the Rashid Equestrian & Horseracing Club.
The horses competing for the class wins and championship titles will include not only our home-bred Arabians, but also some of the imported horses which our enthusiastic private owners and breeders, who are increasing in numbers year by year, have sourced from many bloodlines around the world. We hope this international aspect will add to the interest and enjoyment of our WAHO guests, as there may well be horses presented at the show which are related in some way to your own.