About CHI – Al Shaqab
Al Shaqab is Qatar Foundation’s (QF) equestrian center in the State of Qatar, where Arabian horses are trained. Founded in 1992 by Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Father Emir of Qatar, Al Shaqab joined QF in 2004. Al Shaqab is now the region’s leading equine education resource centre and features the breeding of Arabian horses. Centuries before natural gas and petroleum gave prominence to Qatar as one of the world’s fastest growing economies, the country was known for its prized Arabian horses. When the Al Thani ancestors, the ruling family of the State of Qatar, migrated out of the inhospitable Arabian Desert three centuries ago to settle in Qatar, the Arabian horse was a vital part of daily life.The Arabian horse played an important role in the founding of Qatar.
Al Shaqab takes its name from a historic battle against the Ottomans. Taking place in the town of Al Rayyan in 1893, the battle of Al Shaqab, or Al Wajba as it is also known, saw the Qataris, led by Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, defeat the Ottomans. This historic event led to Qatar’s independence. The Father Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani established Al Shaqab in 1992. In honor of his ancestor, Sheikh Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, he located the Arabian breeding farm at the landmark Al Shaqab battle site where more than a century ago the Bedouins had fought a pivotal battle that led to Qatar’s independence.
Spread out over 980,000 square metres and with a stable capacity for more than 400 horses, Al Shaqab also stands out for its dynamic architectural design, with a central horseshoe shape.
The Equestrian center features facilities such as:
- Administration & Maintenance Compound, Finance & Administration, Human Resources, Communications & Marketing, Facilities & Maintenance, Transportation Management area. Also Warehousing and Goods Receiving.
- Breeding & Show Centre, Stallion, Broodmare, Young stock, Foaling and Breeding Units. 142 A/c stables with ancillary service units and paddocks. Hydrotherapy and Exercise Machines.
- Competitors’ Accommodation, Competitors, attendant grooms and staff accommodation. En-suite rooms with also communal lounge and dining area, meeting room and parking.
- Dressage Stables, 20 A/c stables with access to Shaded arenas and Hacking Trails Plus paddock areas.
- Emiri Stables, His Highness the Emir’s Stables and Majlis. Marble and stainless steel bespoke stables housed in an elliptical A/c structure.
- Endurance Stables, 60 A/c stables with access to sand & fiber training track and washed sand canter track, Shaded arenas and Hacking Trails Plus paddock areas.
- Equestrian Club, Clubhouse with swimming pool, restaurant, gym and leisure facilities with a panoramic view of the equine complex.
- Equine Exercise Centre / Endurance Accommodation, State of the art air conditioned Equine Hydrotherapy and Exercise Unit. Incorporating: swimming pool, equine Jacuzzi and dry treadmill and horse-walker with integral lunging unit.
- Indoor Arena, 100 metres by 60 metres field of play. 6,000 seats all housed within the air conditioned arena.
- Outdoor Arena, 120 metres by 80 metres field of play semi roofed.
- Riding Academy, A full service Riding Academy equipped with the infrastructure to teach all levels from absolute beginner to National Team level.
- Show Jumping Stables, 20 A/c stables with access to Shaded arenas and Hacking Trails Plus paddock areas.
- Stable Administration: The nexus for the administration of the Dressage, Show jumping and Endurance Stables with a full service Farriery Unit.
- Staff Accommodation: Onsite staff accommodation to house Al Shaqab staff.
- Veterinary Centre: A complete service Equine Hospital, Clinic, Laboratory.
- Warm Up Arena: Part of the Arena that is used to prepare the horse immediately prior to competition
Al Shaqab’s breeding philosophy is to preserve the Arabian breed and to produce horses that are beautiful, athletic, and have great moral character and kindness. They must be physically strong to carry their riders to faraway places – just as they did in the past. The breeding program is divided into three categories: International Arabian horses, combining all Arabian bloodlines; Straight Egyptian Arabians, as defined by The Pyramid Society; and the traditional Qatari bloodlines of the past.
The three World Champion Stallions are key to the program and are among the finest Arabian horses: Gazal Al Shaqab and his son, Marwan al Shaqab head the International Arabian section and Al Adeed Al Shaqab leads the one for Straight Egyptians.
The Stallions bred by Al Shaqab include:
- Al Adeed Al Shaqab
- Amir Al Shaqab
- Fadi Al Shaqab
- Faraa Al Shaqab
- Farhoud Al Shaqab
- Gazal Al Shaqab
- Hadban Al Shaqab
- Jadaan Al Shaqab
- Kahil Al Shaqab
- Marwan Al Shaqab
- Nader Al Shaqab
- WN Star of Antigua
Al Shaqab’s Endurance Department was developed to promote and further build interest in Qatar’s equestrian heritage. Since its development in 1997, Al Shaqab has risen as one of the world’s top Endurance competitors. In 2008, the Al Shaqab team achieved its greatest international success. Representing the State of Qatar at the World Endurance Championship in Terengganu, Malaysia, the team finished second out of the 24 competing countries to earn the silver medal in the competition.
Al Shaqab’s Team competes annually throughout the Middle East and Europe, having its largest campaigns in Qatar and France. In recent years, the team has also travelled to competitions in South America, United States and East Asia. Home of the Qatari National Team, the Endurance Center at Al Shaqab prepares Qatari competitors for national, regional and international endurance events, including the European Championships, the Asian Games, and the FEI World Equestrian Games. The current team, headed by HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al Thani, is a group of Qatari officials and riders.