Essay On King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz And His Majestic Horses
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was the King of Saudi Arabia from 2005 to 2015. He became King after the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. King Abdullah was a powerful ally of the United States. When he passed away in January of 2014, President Obama issued a personal statement praised the King’s “dedication to his people” and the “courage of his convictions” (Statement by the President). The King was known for his integrity, his opposition to al-Qaida and his modernization plans. He was also a force behind the Arab Peace Initiative, and was dedicated to increasing educational opportunities for his people. He also initiated sweeping economic, social, health, and infrastructure projects throughout Saudi Arabia ("King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz"). One of his favorite pursuits, which he believed symbolized the history and strength of his kingdom was horsemanship and horses.
King Abdullah’s love of horse is a natural part of his Saudi identity. The horse was instrumental in the creation of Islamic States in the east and in the west. Equestrianism is part of the cultural heritage and identity of Saudi Arabia.
The Arabian breed of horse is one of the oldest breeds of horses on Earth (Forbis 8). It is a specific and unique breed is over 4,000 years old and comes from the Arabian Peninsula. Arabian horses are highly prized and are easily distinguishable from other horses. Arabian horses are so valued that they are spread throughout the world, and used to improve and refine other breed. They come from the desert climate sand have been cultivated over time by the nomadic Bedouin tribes, who treat their prized horses with respect and care (Forbis).
King Abdullah had a philosophical respect for Arab heritage and a passionate love of horses. A modest yet highly educated man, he spent his early years with Bedouin tribes in desert communities. His time in the desert taught him the Bedouin “values of honor, simplicity, generosity and bravery, and instilled in him the desire to assist in the development of his people” (Martin and Hubbard). To continue the Saudi tradition of Equestrianism, King Abdullah believed it was important to preserve, maintain and rejuvenate the original stock of purebred Arabian horses.
King Abdullah learned to ride as a young child, and “prided himself in having groomed, trained and even shod his own horses during his youth” ("King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz."). His love and respect for horses is expressed through his beautiful and immaculate stables, the largest in the Kingdom, with over 1,000 horses who are kept in an air-conditioned environment. Throughout his life, King Abdullah collected and bred some of the finest purebred racing horses in the world. He was concerned that the original Arabian bloodlines would disappear, so he created the Riyadh Equestrian Club. He actively encouraged people to maintain the sport and appreciate the value of the cultural heritage that the horses represented. The King appealed to his peoples cultural identity, asserting that for “centuries our people have considered our horses to be one of our greatest treasures”("King Abdullah”).
Despite great responsibilities and a hectic schedule, King Abdullah went to the desert whenever he had free time. He visited his stables as often as he could, and used his hobby as a respite from the pressures and responsibilities of leadership. According to stable employees, he “visibly relaxes when assessing young thoroughbred yearlings and is frequently overheard telling guests that ‘their whinnying is music to his ears”” (King Abdullah). His stable is called Janadria Farm, and is often called King Abdullah’s ranch by international press. The stables are part of a large complex, including the King’s weekend home, where he frequently hosts visiting heads of state, including President Bush in 2008, and Obama in 2012. Obama visited the King during a tour of the Middle and enjoyed the ranch and a tour that included inspecting some of the King’s finest thoroughbreds. The King took his hobby seriously, and owned an English stakes winner. His stables was the home of a Kentucky Derby winner, and an international Horse of the Year. Furthermore, King Abdullah used horses as a way to build closer relationships with his allies and friends. Fore example, he sent the stallion Alysheba to Kentucky as a gift to the American people ("King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz").
Obama, Barack. "Statement by the President on the Death of King Abdullah Bin
Abdulaziz." The White House, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.
Forbis, Judith. The Classic Arabian Horse. New York: Liveright, 1976. Print.
Martin, Douglas, and Ben Hubbard. "King Abdullah, a Shrewd Force Who Reshaped Saudi Arabia, Dies at 90." The New York Times. The New York Times, 22 Jan. 2015. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.
"King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz." King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz. Saudi Embassy, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.
"King Abdullah Ibn Abdulaziz Al-Saud - Obituary." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.
"Obama Tour at Janadria Farm." Obama Tour at Janadria Farm. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2015.
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