Too busy to write anything brilliant so I will leave you with some fun photos of my Souq Waqif walkabout and other scenes from around Al Shaqab.


Statesman, ready for takeoff. (CHI Al Shaqab photo)


Perfect for your front yard if you want to give the neighbours the finger!


Not sure what it’s for but it’s big!


A door for your dungeon.


30-foot Piano lady, what?


Definition of ‘speed class’ and yes I would like one please.


Shiny things, so many shiny things


Souq architecture.



Dinja van Liere and Hartsuijker. (Frank Sorge/CHI AL SHAQAB)

Feb 24th Competition Wrap-up

~ with files from CHI AL SHAQAB

The Netherlands’ Dinja van Liere won the CDI 5* Dressage Grand Prix riding her 11-year-old horse, Hartsuijker, on the second of three days of world-class equestrian sport at the Commercial Bank CHI AL SHAQAB Presented by Longines 2023  at this 10th edition of Qatar’s premier international competition, hosted in the magnificent Longines Arena.

Naima Moriera Laliberte and Statesman.

Dinja van Liere beat a field of 20 other riders to take the Dressage title with a score of 75.152% ahead of second-placed Patrik Kittel from Sweden (72.870%) riding Touchdown, and in third, Spain’s José Antonio Garcia Mena (72.261%) aboard Divina Royal. Canada’s Naima Moreira Laliberte rode her 16-year-old gelding Stateman to 14th place with 67.609%.

Dinja commented, “Hartsuijker is a very sweet, very honest horse – always working hard and trying to please. He’s become a consistent Grand Prix horse, who knows when he needs to perform. And he did so well today – in an indoor arena, which is a rather different atmosphere. I’m very happy!”

In the Jumping CSI 5* Table C class over a course of 1.45m fences, the first prize went to France’s Simon Delestre riding his 10-year-old stallion, I Amelusina R. The runner-up was Irishman Shane Breen on Haya; the pair are continuing their successful show, following a win in the 1.45m Special Two-Phase on Friday. In third place was his Irish compatriot, Denis Lynch, riding Cornets Iberio.

Simon said, “I’m very pleased with this result. It’s a first win in a five-star class for this horse. He’s always improving – I’ve developed him carefully since he was a three-year-old. The large arena here suits his big canter.”

In the day’s final event, a CSI 5* class with a jump-off over 1.55m fences, victory went to Germany’s Christian Kukuk riding the 11-year-old grey stallion Mumbai. After a clear round in 70.60 secs, Christian won the jump-off with a time of 41.36 secs. In second place was Ireland’s Mark McAuley (70.64/41.42 secs) on GRS Lady Amaro; third was Frenchman Kevin Staut (69.18/41.59 secs) on Dialou Blue PS – that pair adding to their second-place finish in Friday’s 1.45m event.

Following the prize-giving ceremony, Christian said, “Many things came together in what was our first show of the year. I changed a few things – changed the bit, removed his shoes – and it all worked well. The horse and I are a very good match, and he can still improve more. That makes me very happy.”

Meanwhile, in the Indoor Arena, the second stage of the exciting Para-Dressage event (CPEDI 3*, Grand Prix B) was unfolding. Competition is divided into five Grades, according to the riders’ level of disability – and in Friday’s tests, the winners were as follows: Grade I, Annemarieke Nobel (NED); Grade II, Beatrice de Lavalette (USA); Grade III, Lotte Krijnsen (NED); Grade IV, Kate Shoemaker (USA); and Grade V, Ulricke Dekeyzer (BEL).

Dutch rider Annemarieke Nobel, was especially pleased with how well she and her horse, Doo Schufro, performed. Annemarieke recently moved from Grade II to Grade I disability status, as her physical limitations had increased. This left her unsure how her horse would cope with the Grade I tests, conducted only at walking pace. But Doo Schufro adapted brilliantly – and the pair can now move on with confidence to Saturday’s Para-Dressage Freestyle event.

During the event, a tribute was also held in the main arena to honour the late FEI Jumping Director,  Marco Fusté Oncins, who very sadly passed away in January.

To learn more, please visit here.

Full results here.