A Visit to the Souq Al Wakra Stables
Jo: Can I just say that I know very little about horses so I apologise if my questions seem simple. Before I start, can I just say how incredibly clean these stables are.
Ghazwan: Of course these horses are very well looked after. We pride ourselves on caring for them very well.
J: What kinds of horses do you have here?
G: These are all Arabian horses. Different colours, but the white ones are the ones we use for ceremonies.
J: What differentiates an Arabian horse from any other horse?
G: They have larger nostrils, larger eyes, smaller ears and their head is more pointed. And of course they have a wonderful temperament. They have been working alongside people for thousands of years. There are different horses for different activities – stamina, show jumping or beauty.
J: You have a few foals here. So beautiful. I can see how protective the mares are of them. How can you predict what colour a foal will be when it grows up?
G: The tell tale sign are the eyelashes. Those never change so you can more or less see what colour they will turn out.
J: Is there any difference in riding a male or female?
G: Actually no, but the horse should be domesticated properly prior to riding
J: Do these horses cope well in the heat? In Qatar in the summer the temperature can reach up to 50 degrees
G: The Arab horses were meant to cope with these kinds of conditions. And of course we provide the right environment for them and keep them in shape.
J: Why do you have these horses in the Souq? There are some here in Al Wakrah and others in the Souq in Doha. What is the point? Do they serve a purpose?
G: Originally they were what the mounted police looked like so it is sort of like keeping traditions alive. We use the horses now so that we can keep Qatari and Arab culture alive. We also want people to get used to having horses around and so that people are not afraid of them.
J: How much can an Arabian horse be worth, and what dictates the price?
G: It is determined by proof of identity and achievements of the horse’s family tree. Also by how many Championships it or its bloodline have won. Primarily the descendants of a line of pure Arabic blood fetch more money.
J: Do any of these horses race?
G: No they are only for show. They participate in National Day and in other events taking place in Qatar.
J: I see one of your mares is expecting?
G: Yes her mother is a world champion in a beauty contest, and so she is carrying “champion’s blood”.
J: Will you be in the National Day celebrations?
G: Of course. And at the Darb Al Saai festivities. Darb Al Saai is a great attraction and key part to the National Day celebrations depicting a blend of modern and traditions. There are lots of events there for families and an area for the horses and camels.
J: Where could I buy a horse if I wanted one and can I buy one as a foreigner?
G: Yes indeed. An auction was held last year in Qatar, where 80 out of 95 horses were sold. This particular event was considered one of the most successful held auctions worldwide. All horses are chipped.