WoSJ first met the 22 year old Egyptian rider Abdel Said during Oslo Horse Show in September. We were so impressed by this nice guy that we wanted to know more about his background, how he ended up in Europe, his business, goals and dreams for the future.
“I moved with my family to Europe when I was 11 so I could ride,” Abdel explains. “I rode in Egypt as well. My parents saw that I was in to the sport and decided to move. We first moved to Holland and I trained with Emile Hendrix. He did all the management while I went to school during the day and rode in the evening,” Abdel continues.
“Then in 2009 I started working for Jos Lansink in Belgium and I stayed there until I got a new sponsor in 2010 who gave me the chance to compete at bigger shows. I had a good horse called Avenir that I had great success with. We won some big classes together, like at Olympia,” Abdel says with a big smile when talking about his former partner which now is competed by Christine McCrea in the US. “Eventually Avenir was sold which often is the case with the best horses, and at that point I decided to start up on my own,” Abdel continues.
“I was really lucky and immediately got three horses sent to me to produce from the owner of Pro Horse International. He has been great and promised to send me better and better horses as long as I did a good job on the horses I got. Now my stable counts 18 horses - six of them from Pro Horse International. I’m also very lucky to have a cooperation with the breeder of Winningmood - Harrie Theeuwes - and I still have a very good relationship with Emile Hendrix so I have a couple of horses from him as well.”
A lot of things seem to have worked out for Abdel with some good partners in his back so we would like to know what the future looks like? What are the goals and hopes for the next couple of years? “I am very lucky to have several good sponsors, but I of course hope for the one to come along who really believes in me and has the opportunity to give me the one top horse I don’t have at this moment. I have a lot of opportunities to get in to bigger shows and Championships as an Egyptian rider because there is not that many of us, but unfortunately I have found that people in Europe tend to stick to their own - which makes it harder for me,” Abdel explains. “But don’t get me wrong - I feel very lucky to already have good people that supports me,” he adds.
As we are talking about the sponsor-subject we have to ask what Team Harmony is as Abdel always is wearing their logo on his jackets. “Team Harmony was started by Princess Haya's father King Hussein many years ago, and Princess Haya has continued to give support to riders from the middle east. Team Harmony has been given me financial support since I was 12 years old, and we recently extended the contract with two more years so I’m really happy,” Abdel says.
Even though Abdel is still looking for the one horse to come along he has some great prospects at his stable that we also wanted to hear a little about. “There is Duc du Mariposa. He is only nine years old, but has done some great shows. Then there’s Classica LS who has been with Pius Schwizer. She is ten years old, and it has taken some time to work things out, but she has been jumping really good lately,” Abdel says about the Mexican bred Chapultepec La Silla-mare.
Then Abdel tells us about his best news these days. His 14 year old top horse Sky-High which has been out of the sport since she damaged her tendon during Oslo Horse Show in 2009, is back competing. “I didn’t think she would ever get back so I’m really happy,” Abdel says enthusiastically about his favorite horse that he’s had since she was five. He explains that they were advised to put the mare down as the vet did not find there was any hope for her. After several months in the clinic where they made about eight embryos from her, Abdel took her home over the winter. At this point she moved so good that he tried to ride her a little. After a couple of clear rounds at some 2* shows recently Abdel now has his fingers crossed that her form stays good. If everything works out she might be able to do some bigger classes again eventually.
Abdel also has some younger promising horses. Among them an interesting seven year old BWP by Diamant de Semilly x Galoubet A called Fast Flo d’O. “I got her in February. She is a bit green, but I like her. She has a personality,” Abdel says. Then there is Fairplay vh Hellehof a seven year old Belgian bred gelding by Querlybet Hero x Clinton that Abdel describes as “scopy and careful”. He also has a six year old Darco-mare from Harrie Theeuwes that “is really special”.
We are looking forward to see what the future holds for this young talent. If being a great person counts on your way to success, we know that Abdel will be one of our future stars in the world of showjumping.
To learn more about Abdel and his stable in Belgium you can visit his website here.
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