Each year, a series of endurance horse races are held in the desert surrounding the Wadi Rum Protected Area. Sponsored by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum of the UAE, the marathon attracts competitors from throughout the Kingdom and the region.
As the race is governed by a stringent set of international regulations, controls are made at regular intervals to ensure that the horses maintain a healthy temparature and heartbeat given the challenging desert conditions. Any horse not found to be in perfect health is disqualified immediately and so riders must carefully monitor the temperature and heart rate of their animals in order to ensure a safe and healthy race.
Last April, I had the pleasure of being part of Hamza Hasanat's racing team for one of the endurance races. He and his horse Andie competed and with a group of friends, we assisted him along the course in providing water and breaks for him and Andie. It was a great experience for all and a wonderful way to experience a day in the desert.
Hamza and Andie air-borne!
Team Hasanat at the start of the race.
Louis grabs an empty water bottle from Hamza en route to the finish!