ABU DHABI: UAE and international riders have praised the just-completed FBMA International Show Jumping Cup and believe the staging of the tournament every year is helping grow the women’s game and develop local talent.
The annual FBMA International Show Jumping Cup is held under the patronage of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.
The 10th prestigious event concluded on Sunday evening with more than 330 horses and more than 300 of the world’s best riders — from more than 34 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, the UK, the US and India — across 20 classes competing in six different categories.
Among the riders to compete in the four-day event, which is one of the most respected competitions on the international equestrian circuit, was Chloe Vranken of Belgium, who triumphed in the flagship Longines Grand Prix.
Vranken said: “I have been show jumping for 21 years, and I never got the opportunity to compete in a female-only class. I really like the idea of having only female classes, as it feels empowering and will encourage more women to take part in this sport and allows them to be more competitive since we are all competing equally.
“The FBMA International Cup is great by all means, and they are doing a great job organizing their events in these excellent venues. I believe this tournament will serve a great deal for the success of this sport in the country, as well as encouraging more people to get involved on the local scale.”
Another rider to take part was Omar Abdulaziz Al-Marzooqi, representing the UAE. He said: “The FBMA International Show Jumping Cup was great for me as I won two separate categories on two different days. I really enjoyed participating, especially because my father himself also loved being around horses, and ever since I was a four-year-old I was attached to horses as well. This sport requires a lot of patience and persistence, hence my enjoyment participating in these tournaments.”
For Swedish rider, Antonia Pettersson Haggstrom: “Participating here was extremely enjoyable for me, especially since it was my first time participating in a female-only class. I participated in a warm-up round on the third day and I won it. In the Grand Prix, I witnessed some great performances from the other girls’ and it was great to experience a very competitive class with just women.
“The event is up to par with other bigger contests I have competed in in Europe and abroad, and I was surprised with the skill level of the athletes, especially those from the region, and the Arab riders definitely have a bright future ahead.”