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RIYADH: The International Championship for Purebred Arabian Horses (Kahila) wrapped up its second edition on Sunday after five days of diverse exhibits in an arena created at Riyadh Front Exhibitions and Convention Center.

The event saw 10 winners across different categories, including the fillies championship, mares championship, foal championship, championship for purebred Arabian horses of Saudi origin and the stallion championship.

Shaman Al-Areeb won Golden Champion KSA Desert Bred Fillies; Nabil Alsakab, owned by Alsakab Stables, won Golden Champion Senior Stallions; Khaznah II, owned by Almasan Stables, won Golden Champion KSA Desert Bred Mares; and Muhanad RH, owned by Baqeeq Stables, won the Golden Champion KSA Desert Bred Stallions.

Stable owners told Arab News that horse beauty contests are gaining more public attention and interest in the Kingdom, although they still need to be developed further.

The event, in which 511 horses from various countries competed, drew an audience of more than 8,000 people, according to Wafi Al-Qahtani, head of the organizing committee.

“The daily activities of the championship lasted 10 days, and everything went as planned without a glitch. The concept of this contest was inspired by the noseband of Kahila, a horse of the founder of the Third Saudi State, King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman,” he said.

The championship was held under the patronage of Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, chairman of the Equestrian Authority and the Horse Racing Club. The event was attended by world specialists and ambassadors from countries around the world.

Competition were held in a closed multi-service arena, Al-Qahtani said. The main showroom had three seating areas for fans, a hospitality area, a horse show area, an events area and a dining area.

Al-Qahtani said that the event is one of the region’s most important thoroughbred Arabian horse championships. It is held as part of honoring the horses of King Abdulaziz, and in memory of the gifts that the king gave to world leaders.

One of the most famous horses gifted by King Abdulaziz was Turfa, an Arabian mare gifted to King George VI on his coronation as monarch of the United Kingdom. King Abdulaziz also gave the Queen of the Netherlands two horses: Kahila Jalabi and Kahila Sabiliya.

The registration period for the five-day championship lasted 11 days to allow horse owners time to prepare. Some participants were nominated by the European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations.

The competition, Al-Qahtani said, reflects “pride in the history and heritage of the purebred Arabian horse, and highlights this ancient sport and the Kingdom’s efforts in promoting it in local and international events.”

Hail Al-Enezi, owner of Al-Hawail Stables, who took part in the championship, said that the popularity of horse beauty contests has increased across the Kingdom.

Bandar bin Ghadeer, a partner in MBO Stables, said that though horse beauty competitions in Saudi Arabia have gained prominence, “they require more development.”

He described the competition as “extremely difficult.”

His partner, Osama Al-Rashid, said that the composure of horses in events is not as relevant as their beauty, which can be seen in the neck and head while on display to the audience and judges.

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