The International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) World Equestrian Games are currently underway in Tyron, North Carolina. Running until September 23, the games occur every four years, bringing in the world’s most seasoned equestrians from over 50 countries to compete in a number of disciplines, including jumping, dressage and para-equestrian dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting, and reining. Among the athletes competing at the world’s largest equestrian event is His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. Known affectionately as Fazza (the name under which he publishes his poetry), the Crown Prince led riders from the United Arab Emirates (the UAE Knights) at the opening-day endurance competition held as part of the FEI World Equestrian Games.
“Best wishes to the UAE team and all the teams that are participating in tomorrow’s FEI World Equestrian Games,” wrote the young royal on his official Instagram account prior to the Tyron games. The young royal began the 120km race at 6.30am sharp to defend his title against expert riders from over 40 countries, after taking home the gold for the endurance race in the individual category in 2014’s Games, held in Normandy, France.
Unfortunately, the competition was canceled mid-race due to risky weather conditions, following an outpour of rain that resulted in excessive heat and humidity. “This was a difficult decision to make, but it was done with horse and athlete welfare in mind as the conditions this afternoon after the rain resulted in extremely high levels of humidity and, combined with rising heat, it was deemed unsafe to continue the ride,” said Thomas Timmons, president of the Veterinary Commission, in a statement.
It’s not yet clear whether the competition will be rescheduled, but according to the FEI, Emiratis make up the top seven riders in the endurance horse-racing category, globally. Sheikh Hamdan has also taken home gold in the team endurance competition (alongside his father and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum) held in Kentucky, and bronze in the individual endurance category.