His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ love for traditional sports of the Sultanate was visible from His Majesty’s regular presence at the Annual Royal Horse Race Festival. This continued even when His Majesty stopped going for other major sports events during the later stages.
The horse race festival, which is held in the beginning of every year, is one of the showpiece equestrian events in the country. It includes showcasing of equestrian skills and beauty of several new horses that have joined the Royal Cavalry. The riders always look forward and prepare for this festival, with the main aim of clinching the HM’s Cup.
Equestrian and camel races were the top traditional sports which received special attention of Sultan Qaboos. The Royal Cavalry and the Royal Camel Corps are the authorised entities which annually organise a dedicated season for camel and horse races. Special race events during the national occasions are organised in different wilayats, besides the annual festivals.
The domestic camel and horse races have contributed positively to the development of these sports among the Omani riders, trainers and owners. Oman’s first rider, Sultan Qaboos’ efforts to develop these sports resulted in Oman’s impressive performances in the international competitions.
The Royal Cavalry’s horses registered many top places in different regional, continental and international competitions including the recent race which was held at Wolver Hampton Racecourse, at the Hippodrome Equestrian and Racing Racecourse in France and Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Racecourse. The Royal Cavalry also made their presence at the other international events including the World Equestrian Games which was held in September 2018 in the United States in Tryon town, North Carolina. Besides the races, the Royal Cavalry has taken part in many top events including the Windsor Royal Horse Show on the occasion of 200th Victorian Anniversary in London in May 2019.
The Royal Cavalry had acquired top status in the regional and international associations. They joined as a member in the World Arabian Horse Organization (WAHO), International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing (IFAHR) and International Federation of Gentlemen and Lady Riders (FEGENTRI).
Indeed, the clear vision of Sultan Qaboos gave a big boost to the citizens’ interest in traditional sports, including the camel races. Under His Majesty’s guidance, associations for equestrian and camel races were formed.
As part of preserving the heritage and raise awareness among the new generations on camel and horse racing, a special fair for horse, camel and heritage were organised for many editions since 2012. The exhibition was an opportunity for the people to get close to Oman’s camel and horse tradition. It included technical pavilion, heritage pavilion, contest ring, camel show and horse and camel riding for the children.
Oman is the only GCC country which hosts the headquarters of the International Tent Pegging Federation (ITPF). The ITPF headquarters in Muscat is chaired by Issa Mohammed al Fairuz with many experienced members. The World Tent Pegging Championship was held Oman in 2013 and also Oman had hosted the first edition of the Women’s International Championship for tent pegging in the beginning of 2018.