Horse Show Jumping Dubai 1980s

Horse riding had always been popular in Dubai but there had been no organisation established to arrange formal competitions. That changed when the Metropolitan Hotel's General Manager saw the opportunities for setting up Dubai's first Horse Show jumping Competition in 1983. From that small beginning Showing Jumping in Dubai developed into a major sport attracting International Competitors

Beginning of Show jumping in Dubai

Dubai's Metropolitan Hotel opened in 1978 on Sheikh Zayed Road in anticipation of business generated by the new Jebel Ali Port. But that business didn't happen so Metropolitan Hotel was isolated from mainstream Dubai. Instead the hotel developed links with the local communities becoming home to Softball, Soccer and now Show Jumping. The hotel developed an international standard show jumping arena, converting their football pitches in the process. The show jumping event was to be opened by UK's Princess Anne (also an Olympic Show Jumper) accompanied by her then husband Captain Mark Phillips.

Arena was leveled sand surrounded by the inevitable scaffolding stands. Perhaps not what International Show Jumpers were used to. The event was open to all age groups of riders with competitors from Oman as well as UAE. Local judges made the decisions, various competitions had local Sponsors with some competitions being held under floodlight - another Dubai first! The event was successful and attracted a lot of attention from the Equestrian Community. It was the first step towards Dubai becoming a major force in World Horse Racing and Competitions.