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Tribune News Network
It is no secret that Arabian horses are defined by their gracefulness, elegant colours and striking beauty. They are also known around the world for their speed, power and endurance, as well as the contribution they make to improving other global horse breeds.
This is a breed that has produced stallions who have become legends. But even among such equine company, Marwan Al Shaqab stands above all others.
A rare gem
If you are looking to pinpoint why Marwan is an icon for the Arabian horse breed, there are countless reasons. Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani, manager of the Breeding and Show Department at Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Al Shaqab – the world-class equine and equestrian centre that Marwan calls home -- describes him as “a valuable addition to purebred Arabian horses”.
“Marwan is a rare gem, a leading example in the world of horses,” he says. “He is the most influential Arabian of his generation, due to his significant contribution to improving the production of Arabian horses.”
“He is also known for his beauty. He has a long neck, slim figure and strong structure. He is an elegant and athletic horse – and a priceless one.”
Marwan’s portfolio is crammed with achievements and victories accomplished in the most prestigious international competitions. “He has been a jewel in the crown of Al Shaqab since his first show in Doha, when he confidently entered the arena and emerged victorious,” says Sheikh Hamad.
“Soon after, he left his homeland to conquer the world and has won the most prestigious international prizes, including the title of Leading Sire at the World Arabian Horse Championship five years in succession.”
At the same championships, Marwan has been Champion Colt twice and Champion Senior Stallion once. As a junior stallion, he won the US National Arabian Championship on two occasions. And that is only a snapshot of his achievements.
Pure authenticity
According to Sheikh Hamad, the beauty, elegance and quality of Marwan Al Shaqab are no accident. Instead, they are the result of the calibre of Al Shaqab’s breeding programme, and a careful study of his pedigree reveals generation after generation of excellence.
“Al Shaqab Arabians have won top titles in major horse show competitions around the world, including that of world champion,” he said. “All of Al Shaqab’s participating horses have been bred and raised at Al Shaqab itself, with the established and proven breeding programme reflecting its ability to present some of the finest horses at international show competitions”.
Sired by World Champion Gazal Al Shaqab, and his dam, Little Liza Fame, who was a national champion in the US before her selection as a broodmare for the Al Shaqab programme, Marwan was born in 2000, and the decades since have seen him becoming a star.
“While dedicated to using the valuable gene pool provided by Marwan Al Shaqab and other stallions and select mares, Al Shaqab is always searching for additional bloodstock that will complement the current program and allow the farm to remain vital, productive and relevant for the near and far term,” said Sheikh Hamad Al Thani.
“Marwan’s worth as a sire has been proven time and again as his progeny, including Kahil Al Shaqab and Hariry Al Shaqab, continue to win the most important show championships throughout the world. Hariry Al Shaqab was crowned as World Platinum Champion at the World Arabian Championship – Salon Du Cheval De Paris 2019, following his brother Kahil’s title win the previous year.”
Extensive care
As a part of QF’s efforts to preserve the proud legacy of the Arabian horse breed, the centre from which he takes his name is now the home of Marwan Al Shaqab.
Horses at Al Shaqab are receiving royal treatment, and during times such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, extra care and attention is paid to protecting their health.
“Marwan receives the highest levels of care and medical attention, as has been the case since he was a foal,” said Sheikh Hamad.
“He enjoys a special extra-large enclosure at the Amiri stables and he has a groom appointed exclusively, just to take care of him. He also has his own paddocks to run in when it is time for him to be out of the stables.”
The care that Marwan receives has been heightened with the establishment of the Equine Veterinary Medical Center (EVMC), a QF member, which provides the highest standards of equine care to horses throughout Qatar. A team of qualified veterinarians oversee Marwan, and one of them is Dr Florent David, specialist in Equine Surgery, Sports Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging, and an assistant professor at QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University, who has been following Marwan’s health over the past three years.
“He is on a very strict exercise program, which is important in keeping him active and well-muscled by ensuring he burns a good amount of calories per day. He goes to the pool daily and perform several laps in both directions,” said Dr David.
Constantly improving
It’s a level of care fit for a legend. And it also reflects the extent of QF’s commitment to preserving and promoting the Arabian horse breed.
“Marwan’s success is a credit to unyielding efforts, careful planning, continuous assessment, hard work, and a constant desire to develop and improve the elite of the Arabian horse breed to Qatar and the world,” explained Sheikh Hamad.
“Our aim is to participate in major international championships and achieve the most prestigious titles, honouring our equine legacy; to ensure the continuity of the production of the finest purebred Arabian horses in the future; and to preserve Qatar’s leading role in the field of Arab horse production.”
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