Friday, April 23, 2010

Jordan and the Arabian horse - the vibrancy of heritage

Photo by Ruth Sherlock - Full Article

By Ruth Sherlock

AMMAN - At the bottom of a sweeping tree-lined drive lies the archetypal equine fairy tale.

With its freshly painted blue and white archways, horseshoe windows and clean swept yard, the Royal Stables for the Preservation of the Arabian Horse gleams.

Over every stable door hang the majestic, beautifully refined heads of purebred Arabian horses, while in the paddock brood mares attend to their foals.

At only two months old, the seven newborns frolic, spindly legged, around their mothers, pressing for milk and attention. Each holds the promise of classic equine Arabian beauty; the high tail, the delicately sculpted, powerful legs, the intelligent high-strung gaze and the flared nostrils. The best mares are selected in the breeding process and, the sire to many of these newborns is a Belgian Arabian, a prized show horses.

The stables, of which HRH Princess Alia Bint Al Hussein is the director, is home to over 225 Arabian show horses, many of whom are globally renowned. Hlayyil Ramadan, an Arabian stallion who brings together Egyptian and ancient Jordanian lines, won the 2006 World Arabian Horse Organisation trophy and represented Jordan at the 2002 and 2004 World Championships.

The beauty and uniqueness of these horses is exemplified in their value. Some of the Arabians are worth millions of dollars, according to Jihad Shhaltough, who is the stable manager of Prince Ali Ben Hussein's stables and works closely with the Royal Stables.

Beyond the paddocks lies another means of promoting Arabian horses within current society - the Olympic equestrian discipline of endurance horse racing. This section of the stables belongs to Princess Alia’s son Abdul Hamid Mohammad Al Saleh, according to Shhaltough.

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