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Al Khalediah Arabian Horse Festival 2008 (AKAHF)
About the First International Arabian Horse Show ....

... and informing on visiting the KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA


The world of the Arabian horses community becomes smaller and smaller - we travel from and to everywhere, South and North America, Australia, all over Europe, and to the Near and Middle East. While to the Near East we have already travelled there for decades, in 1992, the Middle East started up their very first show in Qatar, and in those early years were only attracting a small group of international people together over there. Meanwhile we now see many regularly held annual shows in the Gulf countries - two in Qatar, two in Ajman, two in Sharjah, one in Dubai, one in Abu Dhabi, and many Arab horse enthusiasts from all over the world are travelling regularly to those shows in the Arab Gulf, if it concerns a national or an international show. And many of us now feel very much familiar or "at home" in those desert areas.

However, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was until now, still a bit different. They had shows, but not annually, and not accessible for everybody. Some Saudi studfarms and breeders had been more and more active in the past years, and created a most successful reputation for Saudi Arabia and it's horses - winning major shows and titles with horses in Europe and even the U.S.A. This success was mainly achieved by the famous Al Khalediah Stables and it's horses, while in Saudi Arabia, you will find many, many more breeders, stud farms and thousands of purebred Arab horses - which is a bit away from the nternational attention. But as already said, until now, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was bit different of his own, but now it starts to open up more and more the country and the borders. But still - just to book a flight and visit, is not possible. There is a specific visa demand and procedures needed, of which we will speak here later in some more detail and provide more information.

Several shows had been already held in Saudi Arabia. The First Saudi National Show under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture and organized by the capable team of the Dirab Arabian Horse Center, was held in November 1996. The Second National Show was in 1998, and the Third National Show, the first ECAHO affiliated in the Kingdom, was in 2005 see this coverage in our "Shows/ Events " section).

More shows were held in the western region, in Jeddah, in 1998 and 1999. And more recently in March 2007, the First Riyadh Arabian Horse Show, was organized by a private breeder in cooperation with the experienced team of the 'King Abdul Aziz Arabian Horse Center', formerly named and known as 'Dirab Arabian Horse Center'. The publication about this show, find also in our "Shows/Events" section.

His Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud (left),
proud owner of the famous Al Khalediah Farm and the Al Khalediah Stables,
and the patron and generous host of the AKAHF and the
very first International Arabian horse show ever in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia




The First International Show ever in Saudi Arabia

Now, in January 2008, we will experience another great and new moment: the first International Arabian Horse Show ever held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia!

By the great generosity, vision, idea and hospitality of His Royal Highness Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, proud owner of the Al Khalediah Farm and the Al Khalediah Stables and son of Crown Prince Sultan, it became possible to announce and realize the first Al Khalediah International Arabian Horse Festival (AKAHF) in Saudi Arabia. Horses from 15 diffferent countries and judges, breeders, experts and guests from all over the world are invited to come and attend this great event to be held in January 2008.

HRH Prince Khaled bin Sultan opens his private gates of Al Khalediah Farm to welcome all the horses, people, and guests. The Al Khalediah Farm is a huge property with many different projects, amongst them several agricultural projects of planting and growing palms, vegetables, fruits, of manufacturing different agricultural stuff, you will find the private racetrack, the show jumping area, the carriage driving department, a little museum, a vet clinic, a most lovely private wildlife park with many exotic and classical desert animals, and obviously the horse breeding section for purebred Arabs as well as for the Saudi desert bred hoses, then the racing and the show department of the Al Khalediah Stables.

The famous Al Khalediah Stables, known all over the world for it's top class show horses winning many major championships and titles in the Middle East, Europe, and the U.S. is one of the many departments - but known thoughout the whole worldwide Arab horse community for it's quality and it's much and great success.

The Al Khalediah Farm is located in Tebrak, approximately 80 kilometers west to the Saudi capital Riyadh, and this will also be the location of the show and festival while is being held on 15th to the 18th of January 2008 - when Al Khalediah Farm will open it's gates for the very first time to the public.

HRH Prince Khaled has brought together a team of high quality experts to organize and produce this show, providing the budget and giving a base to create something really outstanding. This together with all the efforts, support and costs to invite and fly in international horses with their owners, trainers and grooms. Prince Khaled wants always only the best, and the highest quality and level, and he invited a group of 18 international horses, chosen based on their formerly achieved success. An international judges panel has been invited, and the show runs affiliated to ECAHO and it's rules, and rated as a "B" level. To guarantee the quality of the contenders, the horses entered need to be qualified by gaining a 1st to 5th place in a previous show. This with the exception of the yearlings and two year-olds, because especially the local ones have not really had the opportunity to qualify, as there was only one shortly announced and organized show in Saudi Arabia in the last two years.
The so-named "Title winners" (champions at ECAHO Title show which are Aachen, European, World and Middle East Championships) cannot participate in this Al Khalediah "B" show and the specific category where they had won such a title before.

HRH Prince Khaled bin Sultan with two of his exquisite Al Khalediah show mares;
both are Title winners, and as of now, not competing at the AKAHF show 2008
Photo: Irina Filsinger
Sami Sulieman Al Nohait (left), Director of 'King Abdul Aziz Arabian Horse Center', presenting in 2007 a complimentary to HRH Prince Khaled (mid) for his great
support and his generosity toward the Arab horse from and in Saudi Arabia
Photo: Irina Filsinger

However, more than 200 horses are entered to the show, and the list of horses invited and participating are from Europe, from Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman, and together with most beautiful horses from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia they all guarantee a high class competition and the top level quality of show and horses. As always, HRH Prince Khaled only wants the best, and this is what he always goes for and also generously supports many many times! Judges had been invited from Europe, North America, and Brazil, and with their acceptance to come and to judge at this show, each had also to sign and to confirm that there was no conflict of interest to judge at this First Al Khalediah International Arabian Horse Show in order to ensure fair and correct judging.

A view to different stables at the Al Khalediah Farm
Photo: Irina Filsinger
Photo: Irina Filsinger

The AKAHF event is the Show, Racing, and Auction

The two days before the Arabian horse show, on 15th and 16th of January, starting with an auction, thenafter some races for Arab horses, which will be held at HRH Prince Khaled's private racetrack at the Al Khalediah Farm This time in the races, there will only be horses from Saudi Arabia. In the future, it may be that even the race meeting will turn into an international event.

The auction held on 15th of January will provide several opportunities to acquire an Arab horse for a variety of purposes. 66 horses will be offered, both from the Al Khalediah Farm, and also from the Al Buwibiya Farm belonging to HRH Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the father of HRH Prince Khaled. It is a collection in which everybody may find something for his own: some horses are intended for racing, others for breeding, others even have show potential. The auction lots include stallions, mares, fillies, and colts, from yearling age to proven stallions and sires.

By the end of December, and at the latest during the very first days in January, you may find the auction horses in the internet on the official website of the AKAHF. Visit there to preview the pictures and details of the horses offered - just click on the AKAHF banner at the top of this feature site, or on the logo at the top or bottom here.


Welcome to Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, you will experience many different apects, the old and traditional style, as well as most modern moments and lifesytle, and of the highest luxury. Saudi Arabia is indeed a country of both aspects being obvious andfast to realize. The ancient history, and the modern world, sometime it appears contradictary, but they are combined in a kind of Saudi harmony. The countryside is not only 'typical desert', you will find impressive landscape alongside the streets around Riyadh.

Photo: Irina Filsinger

In the city, you will experience a huge volume of traffic, sometimes the driving is a bit crazy as some drivers do not follow any of the rules on the roads and crossroads or even at traffic lights. But when you are there on your way, you will be in the hands of drivers who are used and experienced with this driving style. Women are still not allowed to drive cars themselves in Saudi Arabia, but there are efforts for the last two years to bring this up to date sooner or later. The families and most people over there have drivers, and ladies sit in the back of the car.

Five times a day, the muezzin calls, and during these times, the shops and malls close. The so-named "mutawa", the relegious police, take care that each shop owner closes and follows the demands of the religion. As a westerner, you just have to respect these times and leave the shop for a few minutes and wait. After the prayer time, everything will resume back to normal.

Photo: Irina Filsinger

When travelling to most of the Middle East countries, you may just book your flight and go. And if there is still requirement for a visa you can get it at the airport of arrival. Not so in Saudi Arabia! Here you will need to obtain your visa in advance by specific procedure.
You will require a Saudi sponsor and host who provides an official invitation letter sent also to the government and specific embassy. This sponsor will be responsible for you during your stay. Based on such an invitation letter, you may apply for a visa with the Saudi embassy in your country. Your application, interest and person ID will be checked, and if all is okay and is acceptable, and the visa charge paid from you in advance, and a separate passport picture attached, you will receive the visa. Normally such a visa is valid for a limited time (3 months) and only for one visit and entry to the kingdom.

Photo: Irina Filsinger

With reference to the AKAHF event, HRH Prince Khaled and his Al Khalediah Farm have kindly provided such a sponsorship to most of the international visitors, most of probably travel a very first time to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. You might be surprised that Saudi Arabia is not only desert but it has a lovely different countryside, dry desert area, sand dunes, but also huge impressive rocks and mountain stones, as well as flowering and colourful places, such as at the Al Khalediah Farm, and it has many very impressive first class and luxurious sections. Entering the gates of the huge Al Khalediah Farm, you might feel like you are entering a little paradise....

Several international airlines are offering almost daily flights from Europe to the Saudi capital Riyadh, often non stop (from Frankfurt, Geneva, Paris, London), others with a stopover. Arriving at Riyadh International airport, you will quickly realize that Saudi Arabia is still in it's own separate world.

Ladies, also from other and non moslem countries, need to be veiled in public, wearing the so-named "Abbaya" (the long, black cloak covering from the neck to the feet), and in the capital Riyadh they also should veil their head and their hair, whilst there is no requirement to veil the face even though many Saudi ladies still do.

The men should also dress respectfully, jeans and all kind of trousers are possible and allowed, but men should not wear shorts showing their legs. Long armed shirts in the public are also in convenience. All showing of body skin is seen as unacceptable, no just in people but in magazines, pictures, CDs, DVDs. So take care what you pack in your luggage.

The public life is sometimes separated between the men and women, and Saudi ladies have definetely a different life than that of western ladies. This is obvious by the dresses and the veiling. However, all western lady guests arriving at Riyadh airport will be provided from the welcome committee waiting there from the Al Khalediah show organization with an Abbayyah and a veil which should be used immediately and all times in public. And all time being in public or when going in groups for shopping, so never alone as single lady.

Smoking in public is also prohibited, in addition as alcohol being strictly prohibited. Any alcohol, drugs, magazines, CDs, DVDs, pictures, printed matters or films where nude skin is seen or matters relating to this, should be avoided and could cause problems for you if found on person when in Saudi Arabia. Also please do not approach Saudi ladies, as this might cause offence.

Photo: Irina Filsinger

However, just take a moment to consider these points and you will be on safe ground, meeting many, many very nice and open minded people. Many Saudis are well educated, many studied in Europe or America. English is a second language over there, and you will experience a great care and hospitality. Everything is very easy and nice as long as you respect the Saudi country, people and life.


The TV news we sometimes hear about Saudi Arabia and some different public customs may give us a wrong idea and impression about the country and people. This may also come from the fact, that many people from outside never paid more attention to the details, and had not experienced this country and people closer previously. But be assured, you will meet very nice and kind people, with great understanding of class and hospitality.

However, whatever you do, wherever you go, just make sure that you always take your passport with you. On the public roads, there are sometimes police check-points, mostly they give your driver the sign to pass without any stop, but it may also happen, that for some reason they stop your car and they can ask to see your passport. That's it - at least, normally!

Yes, the Saudis have great pride and respect for their religion, their colours, their country and to the Royal Family - this is what they stand for! But everybody is warmly welcome who is willing to respect all this.

Everybody who will visit the Al Khalediah show will be in the best hands and receive the best treatment and care, as the organizing committee want to ensure their guests and visitors are happy, relaxed and impressed from by the show and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

January is a month of lovely temperatures and sunshine during the day, while in the evening and night it might become very cold. So be prepared with your summer clothes, but also some warm clothes as the show will start in the afternoon and proceeds through until the evening and early night. And when sun sets, the "heater" is gone and it will turn cold fast.

The guests of the Al Khalediah festival will be accommodated at the most luxurious hotel in Riyadh, the Al Faisalia hotel - and busses will bring them daily to the Al Khalediah Farm, the private place of HRH Prince Khaled. The private presentation place of the prince will be setup as the showground, the quarantine stables for the international horses will be close by and only a short walk off the farm road. The show ring itself will be surrounded by VIP tables and public grandstands.

At Al Khalediah Farm, you are in a private place, so everything is a bit different and much more open than in public places. However, the public and daily life in Saudi Arabia requests still respect is paid to the major rules.

Having been many times to Saudi Arabia since 1998, as single travelling woman, I experienced no problems (except the very first time ten years ago, when making the trip Frankfurt/Jeddah /Frankfurt in 24 hours, as something failed with the visa and could not get fixed at arrival). So I can definetely say upon my several experiences, travels and photography work done in Saudi Arabia for different sponsors, studfarms and show organizers: whenever and for whoever I was in this country, I was always looked after in great care and received the best treatment. And am very sure, everybody who will travel in January 2008 to the AKAHF festival, will experience the same warm welcome, a great degree of care, and you will make a really special experience in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and at Al Khalediah Farm.

A big "Thank You" and "Congratulations" to the patron of the AKAHF event, HRH Prince Khaled and his people, making such an international event and new experience possible for so many people ......

And that the quality of the show and the horses will be of highest level - that's something that was defined from the first minute. Whatever HRH Prince Khaled does, he only wants to have the best! The horses invited from outside, but also those coming from Saudi Arabia itself, will guarantee a great and most interesting show. Unfortunately we can't give any names as this would be against the ECAHO rules. However, you will jump with excitement when you find out at the show the names and some of the contenders. And the special prizes to the champions are amazing!

The entrance and trophy room of the private racetrack pavillon at Al Khalediah Farm
Photo: Irina Filsinger


Enjoy the Al Khalediah show and festival, enjoy Saudi Arabia! The whole AKAHF team will take best care of you, and you will have some wonderful experiences in a great atmosphere and event, and you will see some most impressive places and horses.

ArabianFlashlights.com will report afterwards in a full coverage, by pictures and with full results - to bring it back through my individual eyes (shots) to all those who have had the pleasure to be there and to attend the the AKAHF days in Saudi Arabia. But also and especially to those who can't this time. Stay tuned, and watch out for our coverage end of January!

Article by Irina Filsinger


More information, contacts and details find in the official website of the AKAHF,

just click to the AKAHF banner top of this site,

or to the logo below


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This Feature was brought up to you on 23. December 2007
by ArabianFlashlights.com & FilCoARt Edition


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