JEDDAH: A father and his two sons rode their way to victory in several rounds at the Saudi National Guard Ministry’s showjumping competition.
In the two-day event held at Jeddah’s Trio Ranch with more than 130 horses, Mohammed Al-Hadi and his two sons showed off their skills and secured first, second and third places across several rounds.
Al-Hadi, a national and international Saudi champion who grew up in Asir, has been riding horses both professionally and for leisure for more than 30 years. He began when he was a cadet at the King Faisal Military City near Khamis Mushayt, often participating in obstacle competitions and later advancing to compete in international competitions in the UAE, France and Belgium.
Speaking to Arab News, he said his love of equestrianism was something of a family legacy passed down from one generation to the next. “Away from pursuing achieving high scores in national and international championships, this sport is a continuous family legacy, and I have received huge support from my late father to reach where I am today, and I will do the same with my kids.
“I can see very promising careers in my two sons Khalid and Hasan, too.” he said.
Alongside their father, both sons competed in the showjumping competition, and in the small round on the first day of the competition, Khalid, the eldest, bested his father, placing first with 20 points on his French horse Doberlina Van de Kapel, while his younger brother Hasan came in second with 18 points. The fences were set at 1.15 meters for the small grade, where about 80 riders competed.
Expressing his joy after seeing his two boys excel in the sport, Al-Hadi said he was proud to see the dedication and heart of his sons, despite being challenged by Khalid in competitions.
“I was thrilled to have my son competing with me in the same round. Sometimes he wins over me, and sometimes I do. My son is very careful, precise and keen on bridging the time gap between us as the competition requires us to battle on the same level at times,” he said. “Family support is everything.”
Equestrianism is one of the most sophisticated and complex sports in the world, requiring patience, commitment and the support of family.
Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, Khalid, 19, began his riding journey from the young age of 6, admiring the sport that gradually became a lifestyle and soon bloomed into a career.
He said that competing in the event alongside his brother and father was “unique” and that he felt a strong familial bond. In 2018, he got his first chance at winning big in a showjumping competition held in Sharjah, and this weekend, history repeated itself as he won first place in the open round on the final day of the competition.
He told Arab News how grateful he is for his sequence of achievements in the competition, and owed his win to his family and father’s constant support.
Khalid’s younger brother Hasan, 13, also came first in the beginner’s first round for equestrians aged under 15 years on his horse Juliano. He wants to become an international equestrian one day, and expressed his enthusiasm for the sport. “I won first place today, and just like my father, more is yet to come.”
Al-Hadi said that although the sport stimulates the passions of his two sons, he admits that he worries about them before big competitions. “Khalid and Hasan are always excited and sometimes impulsive, and that makes me a bit worried, but they have my support and I believe in their abilities. They’re skilled young men and I couldn’t be more proud.”