Sunday, July 13, 2008

NZL: Horses for Sheik


Herbert-based endurance horse
trainer Kevin James, with
daughters Jorja and Bridgett.
Kevin James and Sarah Hamer train endurance horses for Sheik Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Endurance riding horses involves riding long distances (50-150km) over several days with vets constantly checking the animals.

Kevin and Sarah used to have 20ha at Mayfield on which they trained the horses but were able to sell their farmlet at a high price and buy a 40ha block at Herbert nearly four years ago. Not only is the land cheaper in Herbert but there is no crime, facilities are good including the school. The couple have four children under the age of eight, the youngest about six months old.

Kevin who is in his early 50s has been doing speed endurance riding for 30 years. He was part of the New Zealand team which won the world championship in 1998 in Dubai. It gave him great exposure and people from around the world wanted him to train horses including the Sheik. In 1999 a Sheik's representative asked him to buy and train horses for the UAE's vice-President, Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai.

Kevin says the Sheik has thousands of horses based around the world and until the equine flu horses were sent from Australia to Herbert. A batch came in just before the restrictions came on.

They are training about 16 horses which they prepare to a certain stage. Only six are from the Australian programme the rest are New Zealand sourced.

While people living in or outside cities spend 30-40 minutes or even longer travelling to work each day, he walks out the door.

[Original Article]

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