Friday, February 11, 2011

UAE: Presidents Cup

Pamela Burton reports on the 2011 UAE President's Cup

"I’m off to Abu Dhabi! When the winter chill hits the riding trails, we are all thinking of warm breezes, a perfect time to visit the Arabian Gulf ~ well, if it is Abu Dhabi. The winter weather in Abu Dhabi is like Palm Springs ~ lovely for all snowbirds to warm up, enjoy the turquoise sea near the water and inland, desert jeep safaris complete with camels to ride and a “almost” genuine Arabic feast ~ and don’t forget the dancing girls!

February is also the annual Abu Dhabi Endurance Invitational, the President of the UAE Cup, known as “The President’s Cup”. The 2011 ride has invited 20 horses and riders from Europe and North America. Valerie Kanavy, Deborah Reich and Ceci Butler-Stasiuk will be the US representatives. While Valerie has many times been to the UAE, it will be the first trip for Deborah and Ceci. Jason Stasiuk, Ceci’s husband, called yesterday and said Ceci was scheduled to leave that evening with all three horses from Miami. ”She is so excited she is about to burst,” he said.

The ride started in 2000 with about 14 National riders, but now is a popular ride to show off horses from the many stables in the Gulf States. The ride is high profile, with many of the world’s top ranked riders invited, but it is assuredly tipped in favor of the home teams. The horses that have been trained in the hot desert climate on the sandy terrain by professional trainers have the upper hand, as much as the Alaska bred Iditarod dogs have in that race over a one owner team of dogs bred and trained in Milwaukee. That said, the Invited Riders know to ride to their horses’ ability and not try to race to the lead.

In any case, it’s a great adventure. The Arabs (the people not the horses) are known for their hospitality to guests and will have some fun treats in store for the riders including tours of local horse farms. There is big prize money and a car goes to the winner…and in the past there was payout for every rider that completed the ride. I’ll have more details after the Friday, February 11th Press Conference.

More news as it comes. By the way, the temperature in Abu Dhabi at present is 70 degrees F (20 C) and it is night time. They are 12 hours ahead in time (GMT+4)."

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