Horses of Oman
Historically, Oman has been famous for its purebred Arab horses. Some
historians date the origin of Arab horses in Oman to the time of Prophet
Suleiman who presented an Azd delegation with the famous stallion Zad-Arr-akib,
from whom all the Arab horses in Oman have descended. Oman has been renowned
for possessing the best pedigree of Arab horse with the reputation of
being very reliable and healthy. Horse breeders knew how to preserve and
maintain bloodlines by specifically breeding only top class animals, believing
that the horse is the image of his master and a reflection of his courage,
stamina and ability.
Omanis studied the pedigrees of their horses as closely as they studied
the ancestry of their tribes. Horse breeding was a main source of income
for centuries and large numbers were exported to India and Mauritius,
particularly during the reign of Said bin Sultan in the 19th
century who presented a grey mare to William IV and a black stallion to
Queen Victoria of Great Britain.
However, during hard
drought spells which became more common over the last few centuries, the
number of horses decreased dramatically. In 1970, with His Majesty
Sultan Qaboos bin Said's accession to the Omani throne, new directives
were implemented pertaining to the breeding and care of Arab horses. The
Royal Stud Farm was built in the mid-70's in Salalah as a department of
the Royal Stables designed to breed the best quality horses with the
emphasis on Arabs and thoroughbreds. The Royal Stud continues to play an
important role in horse breeding each year.
perfect Arabian horse has a small head, proportionate to the rest of its
body; large eyes; small, pointed, erect ears; and a short, wide back.
Due to their pure bloodlines, Arab horses maintain good health and rarely
succumb to illness. They eat less than other breeds and have great endurance
for long journeys. Arab horses come in a variety of colours, but the most
prized is the white. Each horse is given an Equine Passport by the Omani
Horse Register (OHR) which is the equivalent of its identity card. Every
horse has an unique name and Omanis go to great pains to ensure that each
name is different.
The Oman Equestrian Federation was formed in 1983 to
promote equestrian events such as dressage and show jumping. The Federation
organises a national show jumping competition each winter, which attracts
entries from the Royal Stables, the Royal Oman Police, who operate a mounted
division within the force, the Royal Guard of Oman, and private stables.
The show jumping events take place at Enam Equestrian show ground in Seeb,
which has been described as one of the top riding
arenas in the world. In December 1991, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince
Phillip participated in a horse carriage event at Enam.
Oman is keen to contribute and cooperate with regional
and international horse organisations such as the World Arab Horse Organisation
(WAHO) to which end, the Royal Stables ensure separate records of pedigrees
are maintained for each horse. There are 52 member countries in WAHO and
Oman was one of the founder members, joining in 1978. The Royal Equestrian
Show is held every five years and there is an Annual Royal Meeting during
which the Royal Stables competes with other horse owners in the Sultanate.
Oman Culture in focus
The Traditional Dhow
Folk songs & Dances
Horses of Oman