On February 10 (5:20 p.m.) “The Arabian Magazine” published the “Breaking News” on its Facebook page that the contract had just been signed for the World Championships to be held in Qatar in 2023 and 2025. Five hours later ECAHO’s reaction was that ECAHO was neither asked nor informed and that they had to discuss this at the next meeting. Interestingly, Christianne Chazel, organizer of the World Championships in Paris, is the Vice-President of ECAHO. So far the facts.
But let’s speculate a bit about the future…:
Last year’s World Championships took place without the framework of the Salon du Cheval (Horse Fair) and as such was already a step backwards. Who then looked at the results of the last show in Paris, had tears in his eyes when it came to the stallions! A total of five stallions competed, as well as Equator, who picked up his platinum title (for which he only has to be “present”). In fact, this means the show had lost grounds. Of course, it was a Corona year, and due to the fewer shows that took place throughout the year, there were fewer horses in training. But still – after 40 years of “Paris World Championships” the glamour has faded.
So one point is the number of horses, the other point is where the participating horses come from. And for a number of years (an estimated) 80% of these have come from Arab countries – so what could be more obvious than moving the show to the Arab countries? And when it comes to this, they better move the All Nations Cup, too, so that the poor animals don’t have to be flown to and fro all the time. This saves the horses stress and stomach ulcers, so it is definitely a contribution to animal welfare and maybe even to environmental protection!
But then there is also a financial aspect: The Katara Show, which is now being considered the future organizer of the World Championships, offers prize money at its (current) show, and not too little: The senior gold championship is around 250,000 €, and even a 6th place in the yearling class brings in 2,500 €. It is logical that the prize money for the world championship will top this endowment. ECAHO receives 3% of the prize money as a levy, from which it finances the Breeders Fund and sports promotion, which also benefits European breeders, for example at the National Championships or the High Point Awards. So in this respect, too, moving the “high-end shows” to the Middle East would only be an advantage, because that would fill the ECAHO’s money pot!
And let’s be honest: How many Europeans still take part in these high-end shows? You can count them on two hands. Nevertheless, the shows and the winning horses shape the perception of the “normal lover” of Arabian horses in this country as well. But in order to fit into the ECAHO “show template” and to be victorious, the “Arabian show horse” was systematically crippled. If there are no high-end shows on European soil, I see a chance that the public image of the Arabian could improve again, and that European breeders will return to their old qualities, namely breeding functional, athletic AND beautiful horses. Against this background: They have my blessing for the “sale” of the world championship – even if it is only little by little – to Qatar! And I will keep on dreaming…