Dubai Show Jumping Championship 2017

Top riders compete for a prize pot of Dhs243,712 at Emirates Equestrian Centre

Riders from 23 countries will be descending on Emirates Equestrian Centre from Thursday January 26 to Saturday 28 to battle it out at The Dubai Show Jumping Championship.

The competition is a popular event on the UAE horse sport calendar and a large crowd is expected to cheer on the riders. And the best news? It’s free to attend.

Seventy four riders and 129 horses will take part, including those from the US, France, Germany and Ireland, as well as a strong home contingent.

The show kicks off on Thursday 26, but the two main classes – the Longines Accumulator and the Emirates Airline Grand Prix – are the event’s showpieces on Saturday 28. The latter is a qualifier for the FEI World Cup and horses will clear jumps of 1.4 metres, battling for a €62,000 (Dhs243,712) prize.

Last year saw a crowd of around 2,000 attend the grand prix, which was won by Alez Opatrny and Acovaro, and organisers are expecting even more this year. It’s billed as a “family fun day out” with bouncy castles, a display from the Dubai Pony Club and food trucks to keep everyone happy.

Showjumping as a whole is growing in the region, too. “In the UAE, the number of horses registered to compete in jumping has risen from 336 in 2015 to 417 in 2017,” says John Roche, director of jumping at the International Equestrian Federation.

“Despite the number of events decreasing over the past two years from 11 to eight, the number of event categories has increased from 23 to 28, showing that jumping is very healthy in the region.”

Free entry and top-class sport? That sounds like a good weekend to us.

Free. Thu Jan 26, from 11.30am; Fri Jan 27, from 1pm; Sat Jan 28, from 11am. Emirates Equestrian Centre, Dubai-Al Ain Road, www.emiratesequestriancentre.com.

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