Who doesn’t dream of just once, to trot away into the horizon on the back of a responsive and majestic Arabian horse? Well, I did.
And this past week, my dream to ride a horse on a deserted, pristine beach against the backdrop of Dubai’s glorious skyline unwittingly came true.
Riding a horse is a strangely philosophical and exhilarating experience. You have to respect the beautiful creature, and the steed has to trust you. However, riding a horse on a Dubai beach is like living in the final moments of a Hollywood movie.
I’ve been living under a rock, assuming that horse riding on the beach is an activity only for a privileged few - equestrians and movie stars.
Thanks to Dubai Destinations, a major promotional campaign to bolster Dubai’s position as a global tourism destination, horse riding on a beach is now top of the bucket list of most exciting things to do in the emirate.
Though other stables offer similar attractions in other Emirates, Aayan Equestrian Club is one of the only clubs which provides service on a public beach in Dubai.
An Emirati- owned stable exclusively for women and children, those interested can book a beach horse riding session on the stable’s social media channels.
The attraction is available to anyone who shares a love for horses. I met Nada Hussain, the managing director of Aayan Equestrian Club, at her stable located in Wadi Al Amardi - Al Warqa 1. After a tour of the horse-riding school home to over 80 horses, Nada convinced me to give horse riding on the beach a shot.
On Wednesday, our photojournalist and I made our way to a secluded beach at Pearl Jumeirah. It was an overcast Wednesday evening, and hours before sunset, sunlight was beaming through tiny gaps in the clouds.
Three horses were already galloping on the coastline of the beach. Set against the breath-taking backdrop of the beach and Dubai’s iconic skyscraper skyline, the vistas are what makes the experience truly dramatic.
She nudged me towards a regal and gentle Arabian brown pony named Romeo. He sniffed the palm of my hand before allowing me to pet him. “If horses like you, they will turn their cheek towards you giving you permission to pet them,” explained Nada.
After spending a few moments bonding with Romeo, I awkwardly mounted him. The horse handler Emanuel helped me get comfortable on the saddle. He spent a few seconds explaining how to work with the steed, and then, lo, I galloped off into the sunset.
We, Romeo, Emmanuel and I, trotted up and down the entire coast. While the ride only lasted a few minutes, it was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. While it was possible to take the horse into the water for a swim, I kept that option open for my next adventure.
From banker to entrepreneur
From working in a leading global financial institution to running an equestrian, Nada has had an illustrious career transition from banker to entrepreneur. She sincerely believes that the glitzy shopping malls and lively nightlife are only a tiny segment of what Dubai tourism offers.
Nada and her husband and business partner Abdulrahman Alhashmi, co-owner and equestrian race in charge at Aayan Equestrian Club, set up the facility out of sheer love for the sport. After expressing interest in launching a stable, Nada and Abdulrahman received the land to set up their business from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Nada said: “I began horse riding at the age of 24, and I fell in love with it almost immediately. It was around the same time that His Highness encouraged individuals, especially women, to set up businesses in this industry. We are grateful for the opportunity.”
Operational since 2011, the club has trained over 6,000 riders. The club offers horse training, riding lessons, farrier and consultation service, and therapeutic horseback riding lessons. “We run special activities during school holidays as well,” said Nada.
In 11 years, the school has grown considerably and trains an average of 300 students every month. “Many of our students have grown to set up their own stables and have become well-known endurance race riders,” explained Nada.
“We gained popularity by word-of-mouth. We also have a desert hack riding service, where we take the horses out into the desert,” said Nada.
“The Dubai Destination campaign is an incredible opportunity for businesses such as ours. We’ve been doing beach rides for 11 years, and we’re among the only stables with permission to do this in Dubai. We’re trying to introduce beach rides to not nationals and residents but tourists as well. You can enjoy a lovely walk or canter or a dip on the beach while enjoying the Dubai skyline,” she said.
How to book a beach ride?
The club offers group and private trips to the beach at the cost of Dh300 and above. Interested individuals can avail sunrise and sunset rides.
Bookings can be made:
> Online, in collaboration Cavago.com.
> On WhatsApp or calling - 050-3820208
> Instagram - https://instagram.com/a3yan_stables?utm_medium=copy_link
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