Arabs are the kings and queens of the desert. Horse riding is one of the oldest sports ever. Not just that, it’s for the sophisticated and the prestigious. It has become the sport for Arab women; where women are becoming knights, practicing the luxurious and noble sport. Six Saudi Arabian women changed how horse riding is seen when they decided to participate in showjumping themselves. As they were attending an equestrian race in Riyadh, they agreed to establish a league for showjumping for Saudi women. They called it United Equestrianism.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a great interest in sports as it is essential for the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. When it comes to equestrian sports, the Ministry of Sports established the most expensive horse race in the world: the Saudi Cup. It hosted international showjumping championships in the 2020-2021 season. Following that championship, Saudi Arabia won the right to host the World Cup for equestrianism 2024.
The United Equestrianism is made of six members: Sarah Al-Ruwaita, Princess Lulwa Al Saud, Shuaa Al-Aqeel, Princess Ajwa Al Saud, Sarah Al-Juwaii, and Mashael bint Mansour bin Sultan. The main purpose of founding the United Equestrian tournament is to compete. That is because showjumping is one of the most practiced sports in the world. While it’s not usually practiced by women, this union was founded to advocate that.
The six knights started planning for the tournament of the United Equestrianism in winter 2015. The tournament was in Riyadh and focused on showjumping. It also included multiple activities like bike riding, archery, mountain climbing, and horse racing.
Mashael Mansour bin Sultan, one of the six knights, owns a horse stable in Riyadh and has been hosting equestrian events since the foundation of the tournament. She’s a graduate of medical sciences. Mashael encourages a positive outlook on the future. She’s learned sports planning, patience, perseverance, and responsibility. One of her strongest beliefs is that there’s a relationship between the knight and the horse; it’s that the rider needs to be considerate of the horse’s capabilities, mental and physical state before the races.
Princess Lulua on the other hand believes that the future of sports in the Saudi Arabia is bright. Especially with the prosperity in the sports field with women playing sports and leading.
Sarah Bent Abdulaziz’s passion for horse riding is much like Mashael’s and Lulua’s. She also loves a world filled with horses. While she’s a marketing major graduate, she has her own business: an equestrianism tools shop. Sarah had started learning horse riding in 2010 and so far has collected a stable of horses. Sarah is proud of being a member of Equestrianism United. She thinks horse riding is promising in Saudi Arabia. It makes her happy and competing makes her more confident and experienced way more than practicing makes her. She advises every Arab woman to follow her dreams and passion until she achieves what she wants.
Shuaa Al-Aqeel is beyond happy to be one of the first women that support women participating in showjumping in Saudi Arabia. She believes that sports and participating in competitions positively affect mental and physical health. Consequently, she encourages women to follow a healthy, active lifestyle.