Timeframe: Sheikh Mohammed wins 2001 endurance race in Egypt

'Love and mutual understanding is the strong bond that links the horse and the horseman,' the Ruler of Dubai says of endurance horse riding

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In April 2001, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, who at the time was Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, took part in a 100-kilometre endurance race on horseback, riding through the desert south of the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The second Al Ahram International Endurance Championship was won by Sheikh Mohammed, now Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

In the April 21, 2001 race, Sheikh Mohammed rode a chestnut gelding named Faih, competing against riders from Egypt, the UAE, Syria and Jordan.

Sheikh Mohammed won the inaugural Al Ahram International Endurance Championship in 2000 and also took part in the 2002 race. Ahead of the third annual endurance race, he told Fox Sports: "Love and mutual understanding is the strong bond that links the horse and the horseman.

"All riders are very keen not to exhaust their mounts. There are medical check ups, and good treatment to ensure that the horses take part in their best conditions. Anyone following endurance rides knows that the riders put the safety of the horses even before their own most times."

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in Egypt's Saqqara desert during a 100-kilometre horse marathon in 2001. AFP

UAE representation in the 2001 race was strong, with Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed, Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed and Sheikh Maid bin Mohammed all taking part in the marathon ride, which took place over four stages.

Sheikh Hazza, now the UAE National Security Adviser, came second in the race riding Moro Machado, and the late Sheikh Rashid finished third.

The race took riders through the Saqqara desert, which is about 30 kilometres south of Cairo. With striking scenery, riders passed pyramids, as well as riding through rocky and sandy terrain.

The race had a total prize pot of Dh1 million and the winner, Sheikh Mohammed, pocketed Dh200,000.

Updated: April 24, 2022, 12:12 PM