Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, has paid homage to his lifelong love of horses in a new book of poems.
Sheikh Mohammed's 18 poem collection, called For the Love of Horses, was launched at Meydan, the home of horse racing in Dubai, before an audience of artists, writers and intellectuals, on Tuesday.
Emirati artist Saggaf Al Hashemi created a striking work of art at the event – featuring Sheikh Mohammed smiling happily while posed next to one of his favourite animals – while home-grown writer Sultan Al Ameemi recited poetry from the collection, which is being published in both Arabic and English.
Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, also read passages from the book during the launch event, which came just days before the eagerly awaited Dubai World Cup swings into action.
One of the richest horse racing meetings in the world, the sporting spectacle was founded by Sheikh Mohammed in 1996.
It has since grown to become one of the most important dates on the global horse racing calendar, with thousands of people packing into Meydan Racecourse every year to see elite jockeys and thoroughbred horses in action.
This year's Dubai World Cup takes place on Saturday, with a massive US$35 million (Dh129m) total prize fund on offer across a nine-race card.
The new collection of poems is just the latest foray into the literary world for the Ruler of Dubai.
Earlier this year he released his autobiography, My Story: 50 Stories in 50 years, marking his half-century of service in the UAE government.
In the tome, which has also been released in both Arabic and English, Sheikh Mohammed revealed his passion for horses was sparked at an early age.
When Sheikh Mohammed was only 10, he would help bring an injured horse back to full health. Such was his commitment, the future leader would sometimes even slept in the stable overnight, he wrote in the book.
It was an episode that taught him an important lesson, he writes. “I learnt that when you give something good to a horse, they will give back double. My horse taught me about loyalty.”