World Arabian Horse Championship
World Arabian Horse Championship
Parc Des Expositions Paris Nord Villepinte
23th to 25th November 2018
Text by: William Richardot de Choisey
Translation by: Sonja Smaldone
Pictures by: PSV / Lisa Abraham / Comexposium /
As France is going through an extremely worrying and chaotic period, especially in the French capital, it was quite fortunate that the Salon du Cheval could be held at the Parc des Expositions Paris-Nord Villepinte. Geographically located off from the centre of Paris, the site was therefore a bit out of reach of protesters who could have attacked the many exhibiting horses owned by the well-to-do. These last were there to represent an extremely financially privileged social layer. Great international riders were on the site of the Salon du Cheval 2018 to compete in the prestigious show jumping events mainly sponsored by Longines. Many professional members were raising questions about the arrival of aggressive characters, having to afford their distress in the face of an elite that is simply too far from the daily life of the French middle class, especially in this turbulent period in which many things are beyond the control. In the program of animations of the Salon du Cheval 2018 which were quite multiple and rich in their compositions, sporting events were very extensive and open to all levels of competitors. The International Vaulting Competition created in 1980, unlike Arabian horses competitions, filled in all the seats of the main arena. The ponies sector was also very much present with the support of the clubs and the attention given by the families. Not to forget, the indoor Cross which was a real success and turned out to be sold out. Although such an event may still remain a passion for many people, an objective sincerity is needed in support of social networks that however have indulged in comments. The one thing that is to be remembered about those three days is that they have been no more than a show, certainly not a competition. More than ever before, the Arabian World Horse Championship has become an issue for many international professionals in the sector who have been questioning its annual and actual usefulness. For several years now, this event has no longer been representing the basic breeders who have removed from their calendar an appointment that they once loved. We no longer see them at the Salon. The latter is now only considered “a rich collector“ due to differences in wealth that have become provocative at a social level. A number of very important questions are to be raised over this Championship which, over the last fifteen years, has become problematic mostly under Counsellors from an obsolete generation.In the past, all the breeders involved used to direct their breeding activity and the program of their qualifying season to step up to higher levels of competition where this Championship represented a ‘Graal’ to reach. In the fuzzy area where omnipresent sponsors expect a return on investments in their favor, the competition has become very challenging for professional handlers who are offered some chance to surpass themselves, yet, by downgrading themselves to make a living. Today, everything happens to the detriment of the health of the horses. The wealthiest countries are reigning over the discipline and the European Organization, for its part, is proving to be just unable to enforce its own rules; all that is sparking a dysfunction into the environment of the purebred Arabian horse in all parts of the world. The industry is atomized, by whom we know. Interveners have really one only concern, to know how much the ‘wealthiest’ are going to give them. Faced with such a scenario, what will the future of the purebred Arabian horse be like in breeding competition? Fortunately, in 2019, a new operator of the Salon du Cheval will take the reins of the event in its entire entirety. A Salon which currently represents a global turnover of 7,500,000 Euros and 12 employees placing itself 21st away from its rival the ‘Salon of EquitaLyon’ that shows a turnover of 17,549,000 Euros with 13 employees. The ratio is eloquent. The resumption of the Salon also includes the Arabian Horses Championship. Things could be resolved by changing values. Whether current characters, who have been in control of it for too long are still in the business in 2019, they will have to act to the benefit of the general interest in a spirit of fairness, solidarity, and self-transcendence, by applying the rules and forgetting about a de facto companionship that only causes conflicts of interest, and be personally in tune with their membership. We should no longer believe that only petrodollars must reign over the discipline; rather we should look at it as a tool to attract European breeders who can revive the sector according to a new strategy of the basic principles in favor of an evaluation of a breed that has been let down.WORLD ARABIAN HORSE CHAMPIONSHIP 23TH TO 25TH NOVEMBER 2018 129 Horses in catalogue 2018 by countries Horses from Europe : 48 Austria 4 - Belgium 4 - Czech Republic 1 Denmark 2 - Egypt 6 - France 5 Germany 1 - Italy 4 - Netherlands 1 Poland 17 - Spain 3 - Slovenia 1 Switzerland 3 - United Kingdom 2 Horses from Middle East & others : 81 Israel 6 - Kingdom of Bahrain 2 – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 12 - Kuwait 19 – Lebanon 1 Qatar 10 - Sultanate of Oman 2 - United Arab Emirates 20 – United States of America 3 2018 real show participation : 98 Judging Committee 4 judges Ecaho from Europe 4 Guest judges 1-Brazil, 1- Egypt, 2 U.s.a CONCLUSION Despite the above debate that can provide everyone with a multitude of questions including recurring questions about the integrity of judges, the general atmosphere was certainly not very enthusiastic, and not all horses were Medalists. However, that did not prevent beautiful specimens from causing an emotional vibe. Duke Santonio’s failure to appear at the final qualifications was somewhat regretted due to the overly excited behavior his handler had previously displayed in the arena. It was a pity for a subject which was worth it all to have been dispossessed by a precious medal. The stallion Equator, who placed well last year, did it again in 2018 in the same place, and he is now under a new ownership in 2018. His type perfectly represented the breed in the eyes of the public audience that generously applauded him on his victory, ahead of another beautiful horse who alas did not show up at the awards ceremony; a not very correct attitude vis-à-vis both of the public and the organizers. Positive remarks on the 2018 Arabian Horse Show Championships, where competitions are often fictitious, there more than elsewhere, do refer to anti-doping controls that were quickly carried out by Dr. Vet Malak Benamar (Morocco), assisted by Dr. Vet Abdel Wahab Ben Al Amira (Tunisia) for all winners and for other horses drawn by lot. However, in order to abide by current International Regulations, the official results should be disclosed to all on the E.c.a.h.o. website whatever their content. No doubt the announcement of the presence of Agents- Inspectors, in order to report any abuse against the Arabian horse standing in the paddock, by an excessive use of whips or even plastic bags to exercise stimulation, certainly did encourage some members of the Disciplinary Commission not to turn their backs on these derivatives. And yet, far too little relative to the enforcement of the rules with no qualms. Given the extremely special situation that the whole sector is going through, the chain cancellation of high- end competitions in Europe, also following many conversations in the VIP area with well-known and wealthy characters, year 2019 is going to unfold with a serious and real reflection raised by owners wishing now to have their horses competitions in their own facilities at home, with resident trainers as well as employees that will have to also deal with the preparation of young products. To put it in another way, ‘back-to-basics’ approach with a rational management of a breeding programme. ‘Faber is suae quisque fortunae’.