In honour of International Women’s Day 2022, we are proud to profile five inspiring and empowering women in Emirati equestrianism. Olympians and champions, globally recognised pioneers and rising local stars, they have each shown that Emirati women can, and really do, lead the way locally, regionally and around the globe…
The Showjumping Industry Pioneer: Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is founder and owner of Al Shiraa’a Farms, plus chairwoman of the HH Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy. As daughter of HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation, her role is to carry forward the vision of her mother and empower Emirati women.
Al Shira’aa Farms has evolved from a family farm to a multifaceted equestrian enterprise incorporating, breeding programmes, producing top class competitors and hosting global events and shows. The breeding programme includes; sports horses, Grand Prix horses, dressage horses and showing Arabians. In competition, the Al Shira’aa team is currently leading the UK’s Showjumping owner rankings, while the Al Shira’aa events (Al Shira’aa show in Abu Dhabi and Bolesworth in UK) are two of the world’s most anticipated annual equestrian events.
The International Polo Player/Patron and Sports Horse Breeder: Her Highness Sheikha Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is daughter of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and patron/player of Team UAE polo. The past year has witnessed her team go from strength to strength winning the Dubai Polo Challenge in 2021 and the coveted Cartier Cup in England earlier in the year.
When she’s not winning the world’s biggest polo tournaments, she’s overseeing Team Z7 based in Zabeel. Established in 2005, Z7 now has over 150 horses globally with 100-plus based in Dubai. The showjumpers compete in partnership with Ireland’s The Breen Team, headed by Shane Breen, while the breeding stock are stabled between Dubai and The Breen Teams HQ in Hickstead, UK.
The jumpers are consistently placed in some of the world’s biggest jumping events and include household names such as: Z7 Ipswich, Z7 Ascot, Z7 Regal Don and Z7 Caretina, while several of the stallions have achieved the impressive approved ‘Elite’ status.
The Olympic Showjumper: Showjumper Sheikha Latifah bint Ahmed bin Juma Al Maktoum is certainly one of the country’s most famous equestrians, and rightly so, being the first UAE woman to represent the UAE in equestrianism at the Olympics.
She has also competed at the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games plus the 2013 and 2015 Show Jumping World Cup. Daughter of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s sister, Sheikha Hessa bint Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikha Latifah is today profiled in the world’s glossiest magazines and continues to inspire women around the globe to start their horse riding journey.
The Top Endurance Rider: Maitha Obaid Saeed Al Kaabi is the highest ranked Emirati female rider and ranked 11th overall in the UAE. Maitha rides for Seeh Al Salam Stables 2 and has had an impressive season with 3rd place in the 100km Sheika Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Cup for Private owners, 11th in the DIEC 120km Commemoration Day Cup for Private owners and 13th in the National Day Cup 120km.
Maitha has played her part in ensuring See Al Salam 2 has had a successful 2021/22 season claiming 13th place in the Sheikh’s Stables ranking.
The Mounted Police Woman: Dubai’s first mounted police woman, Captain Halima Al Saadi joined the Mounted Police unit last year. Halima has been with the police for 23 years and holds a bachelor’s degree in Law from the Dubai Police Academy and a diploma in research and investigation from the General Department of Criminal Investigation.
She told the Khaleej Times, “I’m extremely proud and happy to be part of the Dubai Mounted Police. I’ve always been passionate about equines. Horse riding is an amazing experience, especially when it’s for the sake of enhancing the safety and security of our beloved Emirate.”