World of Showjumping
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That Special Bond – with Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani

Tuesday, 29 November 2016
That Special Bond

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani with Vienna Olympic: "I bought her when she was only eight, and I grew up to the big level with her". Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

World of Showjumping has created a series of articles to highlight what our sport truly is about; that special bond between a horse and its rider. In these exclusive interviews we discuss the horses that have shaped the careers of some of the world’s best riders, fulfilled their dreams – and sometimes even broken hearts.

Next out is Qatar’s Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani, who finished as number six individually at the Olympic Games in Rio and that has made a tremendous climb on the Longines Rankings over the past few years. Here, Ali tells all about his fantastic equine partners – and about a certain one that he has admired for years.

The Special One

“The most special horse for me is for sure Vienna Olympic (Cassini I x Contender). I bought her when she was only eight, and I grew up to the big level with her. Vienna Olympic has been very successful with me, and she was with me in Caen at the World Championships. As to her personality, Vienna is a little bit of a mare. The best thing with Vienna is her head: She is so cool. Even if I sometimes get too near or push in the jump-off, she always stays calm – she really takes the stress away from me. When I ride her, I know that in 90 % of our classes she can go clear – she is so careful.

Also my Olympic horse First Devision (Andiamo x Perhaps vh Molenvondel) is just amazing. He is the cutest horse; so nice in the box and very friendly to people and kids. But when he goes into the ring, he changes completely – from a very cool, quiet horse to a really hot one. The difference in him is huge! He even gets bigger in his body; I don’t know how he does it! I know there is always some difference in every horse between how they are at home and how they are at the shows, but with First Devision it is like two totally different horses. In the ring I only need to think and he is already going where I thought about going.”

The One That Got Away

“The one that got away? One horse that I am really in love with is Caretina de Joter (Caretino x Contender). I have been following her since she was seven, when she was ridden by Cameron Hanley. I think she is really my type of horse, but I am also happy that Edwina has her now.”

The Money Maker

“The money maker was actually a horse I never jumped a Grand Prix with. I still remember her well; she was a speed horse called Vodka Orange de Muze (Darco x Jalisco B). I had her for two years, and from the first show I jumped her until the last show I did with her she never came out of the ring without a placing. We always called her ‘the money maker’ in the stable.” 


Text © World of Showjumping by Nanna Nieminen // Picture ©  (No reproduction without permission)

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