2023 World Arabian Horse Championships


World Arabian Horse Championships
Old Doha Port Qatar
December 7-9, 2023

Judges: Ferdinand Huemer, Austria; Elyas Ebrahim Faraj, Bahrain; Martine Van Hee, Belgium; Zico Guardia, Brazil; Scott Benjamin, Canada; Ali Mohamed Ali Sharawi, Egypt; Eric Gear, France; Manfred Hain, Germany; Joanne Lowe, Great Britian; Francesco Santoro, Italy; Gideon Reisel, Netherlands; Anna Stojanowska, Poland; Irina Stigler, Russia; Cristina Valdes Colon De Carvajal, Spain; Ali Ghanem Almazrouei, UAE

By Ally Nelson

Photos by Julie Adams
Qatar Skyline.

The year 2023 marked a change for the Arabian Horse World Championships; for decades, the magical city of Paris, France, hosted this event, and in 2023, it moved to Doha, Qatar. People from all around the globe can always be found at the World Championships, as this horse show is the pinnacle of our beloved Arabians. These horses have shown worldwide winning titles, and all come together for the judges to choose the World Champions.


As the show began on Thursday, December 7, the spectators filled the VIP stands in the Old Port of Doha. The landscape was breathtaking, with the arena right at the edge of the Persian Gulf overlooking Qatar’s incredible skyline. As the sun fell and the city’s lights brightened, it created a view that, without doubt, will stay with all who had the opportunity to attend the show.

Day one of the show featured the female contenders, starting with 16 beautiful yearling fillies. Section A was won by Shahbrys HVP, a beautiful chestnut filly sired by Royal Asad. She was born in Brazil and is owned by Ajmal Stud.

Shahbrys HVP (Royal Asad x Rebecca HVP).
Shahalel Al Shaqab (Na-Mous Al Shahania x Siwar Al Shaqab).

Section B was won by a Na-Mous Al Shahania filly, bred and owned by Al Shaqab by the name of Shahalel Al Shaqab. Coming off a Gold medal win at Aachen and Menton, this filly was sure to be tough competition.

Moving onto the junior fillies, section one was won by an elegant filly named TM Bella, sired by TM Itaipu.

TM Bella (TM Itaipu x TM Fahdeelah).
D Beisan (D Seraj x RAH Rosalia).

Following the first solid section of junior fillies, D Beisan came in with so much presence and Arabian type that she won section B with a score of 93.86, which would remain the highest score of the entire show.

To complete day one, the senior mares entered the extravagant arena while the crowd was in awe. Of the 18 Senior mares, Basmah Albidayer and D Shihanah walked away as the class winners.

D Shihanah (FA El Rasheem x D Shahla).
Basmah Albidayer (Fadi Al Shaqab x Bidayer).

While enjoying the stunning horses that graced the arena, the spectators were treated with the utmost Qatari hospitality. A three-course meal was served every day, fabulous Arabic coffee, tea, and freshly squeezed fruit juices were always available, and each day, there was exciting entertainment in the form of light shows, flag ceremonies, and fireworks.

Sari Ajmal (EKS Farajj x Bint Bessolea).

Day two began at 3:30 pm with the warm Qatar sunshine and the aqua blue gulf, another day of sheer beauty. This day belonged to the male contenders, beginning with 15 yearling colts. Section A was won by a grey EKS Farajj son named Sari Ajmal, bred and owned by Ajmal Stud. Section B belonged to LR Anselmo, a beautiful bay colt sired by RFI Unique and owned by Al Wajba Stud.

The junior colts followed the yearlings, invariably an exciting class to see as these are the future stallions of our breed. Section A went to Asayel Awtad, a son of PSE Al Rakhan.

Asayel Awtad (PSE Al Rakhan x Asayel Romaan).
D Shahhar (Excalibur EA x D Shihanah).

Section B belonged to D Shahhar, a son of Excalibur EA, who is bred and owned by Dubai Arabian Horse Stud.

Lastly, on Friday were the senior stallions; the two sections were stacked with highly qualified and accredited stallions. Winning section A was World Champion EKS Farajj, a beautiful dapple grey with great charisma and a vast Moroccan fan section. The chanting and flags of Morocco flew high as Farajj showed.

EKS Farajj (Ibn Farid x EKS Bint Helwah).
Excalibur EA (Shanghai EA x Essence of Marwan EA).

Section B was led by none other than Excalibur EA, who scored a strong 93.29 and remained the highest-scoring male of the show.

As the three-day event reached Championship Day, the energy in the stands was high. Every seat was filled, and many others stood in anticipation. Opening ceremonies were followed by the female championships, starting with the announcement of World Champion Yearling Filly, Shahalel Al Shaqab. This filly has such elegant charisma and stunning eyes that you could see from far up in the stands. Raphael Curti led her back into the ring for her crowning with a proud leap in the air. The Al Shaqab team crowded into the arena for the win photo as the Qatari National Anthem was played. Silver Champion went to the Brazilian-bred filly Shahbrys HVP and Bronze Champion was given to Amirah Alymeen, a daughter of Sultan Alenaya. 

Shahalel Al Shaqab (Na-Mous Al Shahania x Siwar Al Shaqab).

As the junior fillies prepared to enter the arena, all 15 judges took their place in the center ring. Winning with a near-unanimous decision was D Beisan, the highest-scoring horse of the show; 11 of the 15 judges agreed she was the Gold Champion. Nourah Al Khalediah proudly took the Silver title back to Saudi Arabia, followed by TM Bella as the Bronze Champion.

D Beisan (D Seraj x RAH Rosalia).
D Shihanah (FA El Rasheem x D Shahla).

To round out the female championships, we looked toward the senior mares; the Gold Championship went to D Shihanah, who was right on course with the rest of her 2023 as she was also named Gold Champion in Dubai, Aachen, and Menton.

To round out the female championships, we looked toward the senior mares; the Gold Championship went to D Shihanah, who was right on course with the rest of her 2023 as she was also named Gold Champion in Dubai, Aachen, and Menton. The Silver title belonged to Basmah Albidayer, and the Bronze went to Bshaier Al Nasser.

Between the male and female championships, the arena transformed into a magical carpet ride with an extraordinary light show. As the beautiful light designs floated across the arena, it was easy to get swept up in the magic of the evening.

Next were the yearling colts; one stood out more than the others: Sari Ajmal, the 2023 Gold Champion Arabian Horse World Champion. The excitement grew as the Saudi National Anthem played, knowing that his sire, EKS Farajj, would soon follow him into the ring to compete for the senior stallions. The Silver Champion yearling colt was awarded to LR Anselmo, followed by the Bronze Champion Sham Sarm.

Next up were the junior colts.The two top colts, D Shahhar and Lehon, battled for the coveted Gold Championship honor. D Shahhar rose to the top as the 2023 World Champion Junior Colt for Dubai Stud. Lehon, for Aljassimya Farms, was crowned Silver Champion, and D Sharar followed with the Bronze title.

Lehon (FA El Rasheem x Aragia Vanilla).
Excalibur EA (Shanghai EA x Essence of Marwan EA).

Last but certainly not least were the senior stallions. Excalibur EA came out on the top and was crowned the World Champion on behalf of Al Wajba Stud, adding to his already impressive list of wins.

The Silver title went to EKS Farajj, and the Bronze was given to Sultan Alenaya.

EKS Farajj (Ibn Farid x EKS Bint Helwah).
Sultan Alenaya (Emerald J x Ammona).

As is tradition at the World Championships, once a horse is named World Champion, they are no longer eligible to compete in that specific age group again, with one exception, the Platinum Championship. This class is always excellent, as all contenders are previous World Champions, many of whom have not been in the show ring for a while.

This year, Anood Al Nasser was crowned the Platinum Mare Champion, a stunning elegant silhouette along the Qatari skyline.

Anood Al Nasser (Ashhal Al Rayyan x Aleysha Al Nasser).

The senior stallion championship was between EKS Alihandro and Sundown K.A. As always, Alihandro commanded the attention of every human around him and was crowned the 2023 Platinum Champion Stallion. This is his third World Championship Gold medal as he remains undefeated.

As closing ceremonies began, the judges and show staff were graciously thanked, with only a few special awards left to be announced. This year, Dubai Stud took home a majority of these awards. They were announced Farm of the Year and Best Breeder/Owner of the Show. Dubai Stud’s prized stallion, FA El Rasheem, was crowned the Best Sire in the show, and the filly D Beisan, bred by Dubai Stud, now owned by Al Shaqab Stud, was awarded the highest score of the show.

With the 2023 Arabian Horse World Championships coming to an end in Doha, Qatar, the community looks forward to the 2024 edition being back in Paris, France, and waits with great anticipation for 2025 to be back in Doha.

Left to right: EKS Alihandro (Marwan Al Shaqab x OFW Psylhouette) and Sundown K.A (QR Marc x L Serenella).