It all started at the EGB National Awards in
November 2004, when Karen Carruthers & Di Latham talked about going out to see
the championships in Dubai. If you know Karen, once she say’s
she wants to go somewhere, the next thing you know she has organised
it and boy am I glad she did. I was fortunate enough to be able
to go with Karen, Di & John Latham who are from the Heart
of England group. We had a fantastic time and I have written
diary about our venture to the desert. I hope you enjoy it.
Day 1 & 2
Our trip started on Monday 24 January, when I travelled
over from the Isle of Wight, Di & John came down from Coventry. We
all met up at Karen’s house in Chetsey as we had to be
at the airport early on Tuesday morning. We set off to the airport
and once checked in we went through to the departure lounge.
How fast the time fly’s. There we were looking round
the shops like you do, we thought about popping to the loo
you here last call for the 09-25 flight to Abu Dhabi - the
bus is about to leave for the plane. Aghh! there was Di and
it down the corridor to the bus with minuets to spare, we got
onto the plane and we were off. At this point, I still could
not believe I was going to Dubai to see the championships.
On landing in Abu Dhabi, we went through Duty Free picking
up essential drinking materials (Gin &Whisky) then on to
customs who cleared that ok. Then the fun starts, we went to
the Hertz counter to collect
the 4X4 to start the journey to Dubai only to be told there was
no car! That it was at Dubai airport waiting for us! John at
this point I thought was very good, he stayed calm and said
so how do
you intend to get us there or what are our options. They offered
us another car not a 4X4, John said but we want a 4X4. So of
they went - they came back offering us a taxi, and the car
to be delivered
tomorrow morning. Bearing in mind Dubai was 100 miles away and
it was starting to get late.
After deliberation, we decided to go for the
taxi option, not sure how much it was going to cost, but as things
were not going
quite to plan, we thought it would be the safer option. We can
always send the bill to Hertz. However, when the guy at the counter
said it would be 170 Dirhams, we all looked at each other, got
the calculator out and said that’s £25-00 pounds
for 100 miles, go for it. We were assured the car would arrive
the next morning at our apartment so off we went. As we were
being driven to Dubai, we all decided it was a good move as it
long drive and we were all a bit jet lagged at this point.
Once we arrived safely at the apartment, we meet
John Hutton our host for the week (Karen & Duncan’s
friend from Glasgow who moved out to Dubai a couple of years
ago). John showed us to
our rooms and after unpacking we thought we would have a drink
or two to settle in. It is so nice when you first meet someone
that you know you are all going to get on well. We had a great
evening talking, telling jokes and having another drink or two.
We stayed up quite late that night, some later than others. If
you want to know what time everyone eventually went to bed then
you will need to ask them!!.
It only seemed a couple of hours later when the phone started
ringing, it was hertz calling about the car. It was only 07-30
and yes it
was only a couple of hours later. After a fruitful conversation,
the car option kept changing, they even had the nerve to offer
us a Mini Cooper to go out in the desert (don’t they know
what we endurance riders drive?). Anyway, at 9-00am as promised
our car arrived, and I can only say what a car, not only a 4X4,
but a brand new Volvo. It was superb the negotiating paid off,
well done to the two Johns.
After a quick dip in the pool to try to liven up, we girls went
round to see Des, Gilly and Sally Payton who were staying just
down the road from us, to see what the plans for the day were,
and to collect the directions on how to get to the venue. That
was a good move as you certainly needed them. All the time we were
there, I think we only saw one sign to the endurance village and
that was just as you arrived at the venue.
The Endurance village was about an hour’s
drive from Dubai and was way out into the desert. Once we arrived
at the village
(I have to say at this point, it is where the wow factor was
to set in) it was fab, huge and was out of this world; the Sheikh
had done a marvellous job. We met up with lots of Brits and
having a good look round and waying up the best viewing points
for race day, we all decided to go down the new oasis which
had been built especially for the horses during the race to have
picnic. After a long night and day we retreated back to Dubai
had dinner and then went to bed for a very early start, as we
we wanted to see the start of the race.
We got up at 4-00am and set off for the endurance
village. Can you remember the way john asks? Yep no problem
I said. So off
we set, having missed the turning - oops, we carried on down
the main Abu Dhabi road and then took a left turning hoping
we would get back onto the right road. We did, but a little
down the road, so a quick U turn was needed (sorry guys for
the cock up) and back up the road. We arrived just minuets
6-00am and missed the mass start, but I think to our advantage.
To see what we thought was a spectacular scene; all the horses
came down to the road crossing just in front of us, so we saw
them pass, what a fantastic sight! Then, well we could not
believe our eye’s. All the crew cars were turned away from following
the horses, they had to turn around, and go a different way.
So in no particular order whatsoever, they all turned around
and went hell for leather up the sand dunes. I’m not
sure if any used the road, it was like a scene out of wacky
We then went up to the venue to watch the race.
Having found Gilly & Sally
we went in doors where we were treated to a hot breakfast and tea & coffee
on tap. The race was live on TV, so we could watch the first stage
in doors, as it was quite cold in the morning. It didn’t
seem long before the first horses came back in, it all seemed
to be well organised. The speed that the horses were being presented
to the vets was amazing, it was really something when our first
horse came home, it made you feel really proud of the girls.
all did so well, sadly not all got round, but I am sure it will
be an experience they will never forget.
Well done to Sarah Tyson & Simbar who came a credible 39th
in the world, with an average of 10mph; what a result. For more
information about the ride and the rider’s experiences
you can visit the EGB web site.
The day seemed to go quite quickly. It was quite
exciting when the final vet gate came round, we were watching
the finish on TV
and it was just something else when the French horse came up
unexpectedly. You could see the Arabs suddenly kick up a gear,
we all went out
side to see them home. It was a great finish and then waiting
for the results the atmosphere was electric. It was a shame that
winning horse was then eliminated due to blood tests.** He
was beautiful. I’m sure the French were very excited though.
When we got home we all sat down had a drink and recalled the
day; it was defiantly one to remember.
This was another day to remember, as John H our host
was going to Ali Ain to visit the International Air Show. He
invited us to go with him; well this was another fabulous day
of us. We had a bit of fun finding our way there, as we
thought John knew where he was going, and half way said ‘no not
been their before so hey ho just follow the signs’. Our
John had a little relapse now and again and forgot which was
left and right, (it went something like so that’ll
be your other left then John!!!) (sorry John had to put
got us there in one piece.
I have to say the organisers of this event certainly
knew how to entertain the public and extract money from it’s
visitors with souvenirs and food stands, which was something
we did notice
a shortage of at the endurance event. The air show was a day
to remember and to cap the day John took us to dinner at the
Madinat Jumeirah Beach Resort, where there is a magnificent
creation of ancient Arabia. A beautiful Hotel, shopping and dinning
(wow wow) you can not believe it, unless you have seen it,
Shopping day. After a couple of busy days at events,
we girls thought we needed a bit of retail therapy. especially
in the middle of Dubai’s shopping festival. We walked up
the road from the apartment to the new indoor shopping mall called
the Burjuman Centre. We entered mid morning and didn’t
surface until late afternoon. You could shop till you drop here.
I have to say I got a bit carried away in the Prada shop, but
came to my senses before spending £150 on a pair of shoes
(they were half price!). This evening Karen wanted to take
us to the Jumeriah Beach Hotel where she had visited a couple
years ago with Duncan. The hotel again had the wow factor.
It was just gorgeous. Firstly we went down to the beach for
paddle photo session with the new Burj Arab Hotel in the back
ground. This building is just unreal, you can not believe how
big it is, (watch out for the Emirates advert on TV), we then
ate in the American restaurant, the hotel is based on the shape
of a wave just fantastic.
Our last full day in Dubai - what shall we do today?
Lets phone round and see what’s on offer? You can go for a camel ride,
dune bashing or sand skiing. Dune bashing and camel ride sounds
good, Karen said I will go for a camel ride - if it’s
not like riding a donkey on Blackpool beach (you best ask Karen
it was like!). We went for the dune bashing and were out on
the dunes for about an hour and half. You went up hill, down
sideways, straight up, then down, then backwards. What an adventure,
it was out of this world and the driver obviously enjoys his
job - he surely knew how to handle that 4X4. this is definitely
not for the faint hearted or those with a delicate stomach.
We then went back to the apartment got changed and set off to
visit the Arabian Ranches Resort. This is a new housing development
where you can purchase a house/villa. There is a brand new community
centre, golf club and equestrian centre/ polo club being built
along side it. Once completed, this is going to be one of the most
exquisite resorts to live on in Dubai. We had a good look round
the show houses and again the wow factor came in, they were beautiful,
completed to such a high quality; serious thoughts for the holiday
It was then back to the apartment to pack and
get ready to go to the airport. This was a little scary as Karen
was on a stand
by ticket and they could not tell her if she had a seat until
the last minute. It was also very late at night and the thought
leaving her behind was not something I wanted to do or contemplate.
Anyway, all was ok and we were off. Once on the plane we were
on our way home. We arrived back at Karen’s about 7-00am had
a cup of tea and then all said our good bye’s. But, I’m
sure we will not forget this holiday in a hurry.
To sum up our holiday; we saw the biggest endurance
event to date, made lots of new friends, had lots of laughs,
so many jokes were
told, the little quips to each other (keep up, are you still
hungry, super sonic to name a few) and we saw so many beautiful
I have to say it has been one of the best holiday’s to
date; Dubai is definitely one not to miss.
Thank you all for a great time I will never forget it.
Note: The gold was withheld from Hachim illegally. No blood
tests proved negative
and the FEI confirm that Hachim is the winner of the 2005 World
Championship. The FEI are still awaiting an explanation from
Organising Committee for its failure to award the Gold Medal
to the winner,
HH Sheikh Hazza bin Sultan al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi. Hachim is
and was bred in England by Anne Brown of Gadebrook Stud.