by Leonard Liesens, Endurance-belgium.com
The protocol, but also the traditional Bedouin culture defines its own rules. The leader leads the tribe, his oldest son at his right side. The sons must show respect to their father. They have to follow him, the same principle is true for the youngest sons vs. the oldest.
The trainers of Sheikh Mohammed are in competition against each other for presenting the best horse to the leader and have him choose the one they have trained. The advisors of the Sheikh must probably realize in putting the most accurate comments and have the leader listen to their advise. Nothing else than what's happening in any organization. One must imagine the dilemma for Sheikh Mohammed in order to filter all the information he receives and take the right decision. Choosing the right horse for the right race must not be easy and can be a bit like playing poker. The biggest difference is that the one bluffing a bit too much can quickly be fired. C'est la vie...
Sheikh Mohammed had the choice between Ciel oriental, the chestnut and Acadienne, the grey mare. The photos are showing the two horses when ridden by Maria (Acadienne) and another trainer (Ciel Oriental). Would I be offered to ride any of them, be sure I would write flattering articles for years...
He opted for Ciel Oriental. This horse seems to be especially
difficult at the trotting. Is seems that he is afraid of the person
trotting him. Ears set to the back, head raised, hind legs shifted
to the outside... This doesn't please the veterinarians as it is
difficult to detect any gait abnormalities. At the last trotting,
the horse was trotted twice by his trainer and showed the
particularities described above. It seems that the vet committee
asked another trotting with another person. Sheikh Hamdam took the
rope and trotted Ciel Oriental, on a more 'normal' way. Seen from
3/4, the horse was looking OK, not perfect, but difficult to
eliminate it, taking into account he is the horse from the biggest
patron of endurance.