Interview in Jordan
Sheikh Mohammed inspected the course for the 120km CEI Masters endurance ride in Wadi Rum in the company of other riders, media professionals and officials. He praised the Jordanians' arrangements for the ride and said he was happy with the media's interest in endurance riding because it helps to promote the sport.
Press: Your Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and UAE Defence Minister, welcome to Jordan.
Sheikh Mohammed: Thank you, I am honoured to be here in this hospitable country.
Press: Your Highness, you are an Arab rider, an Emirati rider who leads a new generation of new riders in this sport, so what is your opinion of endurance riding in the Arab countries?
Sheikh Mohammed: Of course, I am pleased to tell you that this sport has developed and is recognised in the Arab countries. It is a hobby for owners, because the owner is the trainer, the rider, everything. Also, it differs from the other sports such as ordinary races where you have a rider and a trainer. This sport makes the rider and owner more enthusiastic.
Press: In your opinion, what is the difference between this sport and other horse races?
Sheikh Mohammed: Each sport is different from the other, it has its own audience and we have other hobbies too, but this sport is different: You are with your horse, riding it on trails, up and down mountains, on sand and in valleys, all that between you and your horse, as if you are talking to the horse during these stages so it will be a good journey. Number one, it is a sport, and also a mental sport, because if you make the mistake of speeding the horse up, you lose the race and if you are too slow, you lose the race, so you must know the horse and its capabilities and what you can do with it.
Press: Your Highness, it is clear that you are the main supporter of this sport in the Arab countries. What is your opinion of this season's sport in this valley, Wadi Rum, Wadi Al Qamar and Wadi Al Jameel, with the participation of the best Arab riders?
Sheikh Mohammed: I have participated at Wadi Rum before, but today I am happy to see the improvement of Jordanian riders and other Arab riders: Egyptians, Syrians and all Arabs who have become familiar with the course. The first time I participated I noticed that some of them sped up unnecessarily because the distance was great, you should conserve the horse's energy so that you both finish safely. I see much improvement this year and I congratulate the Jordanian riders on the progress they have made.
Press: Please, Your Highness, to go back to your son His Highness Sheikh Ahmed's great performance in the world championship, what is your opinion of this achievement and what are you anticipating in the future?
Sheikh Mohammed: Thank God, my son was the first Arab to win the gold medal, he is not the youngest of my children, he was eager. I will tell you of a funny thing that happened: At the end, when he arrived in front of the spectators knowing that he had won the gold medal, he heard the great applause and stopped his horse and considered going back because he is shy, being so young, but he covered the short distance that remained and won the race.
Press: How do you feel about this victory as a rider and as a father despite the unpleasant attempts during this race?
Sheikh Mohammed: One wants to compete with everyone, even one's children, and even if they win, one is happy. The father is happy when his son wins, even if he himself is bested.
Press: We thank you very much and welcome you to Jordan and we thank you for your personal support and for that of the Emirates in organising such a race.
Sheikh Mohammed: We are happy to be here amongst brothers and to meet the riders in this hospitable country. We thank you as the journalists covering this event, we give thanks for everything, the perfect organisation and the welcome we were given. We are very happy.Friday, December 13, 2002