The Morocco Royal Tour is perhaps the only horse show where it is perfectly normal to see a world champion Arabian on your left and an Olympic show jumper to your right, all whilst hearing the loud bangs of gunfire in the distance.
Run over three weeks in October, the tour travels through the cities of Tetouan, Rabat, and El Jadida. The third and final week of the tour was held in El Jadida, with the horse show located conveniently across the street from a 5* oceanside resort that played host to many participants.
The CSI3*-W was held within the larger Salon Du Cheval D’El Jadida, an exposition that features all things equestrian. The expo was split into three areas; the outdoor stadium, Hall A, and Hall B.
The outdoor stadium at El Jadida played host to Tbourida, which is as exciting as it is loud. Read all about at art of Tbourida at this link.
Hall A played host to an exposition filled with endless booths from artisans to the Moroccan Mounted Police alike.
Hall B is where the show jumping was concerned. During the week, the arena played host to Arabian breed classes, but once Thursday rolled around, the show jumpers took over.
For most, it was the first indoor of the season, and clear rounds did not come easy as horses and riders alike adjusted to new surroundings. But most riders would agree it was the perfect venue to start the indoor season.
All amenities were tucked away from the bustle of the exposition, with outdoor stabling was outdoors and a practice ring just an arms-length from the indoor facilities.
Inside, the spacious indoor warmup ring featured an entire glass wall that offered stunning sunset views as classes ran into the evening.
While the stands were relatively empty on the first day of competition, that all changed when the weekend arrived. Crowds of onlookers packed the stadium, eager to cheer on the international competitors.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the tour was experiencing the love the Moroccans have for their own riders. While each Moroccan rider was greeted with massive applause as they took to the ring, nothing rivalled the support they showed for their Olympic star, Abdelkebir Ouaddar.
The announcer could barely contain the audience from cheering each time Ouaddarr cleared a fence. And when Ouaddar rode his Quickly de Kreisker to a double clear performance in the Grand Prix, then stadium was electric.
But even when Jordanian rider bested Ouadaar to win the Grand Prix, the crowd was unwavering with their support, cheering him on as one of their own.
Well attended by Moroccan and international press alike, after winning the Grand Prix, Ibrahim did not even have a chance to dismount his horse before being swarmed with cameras and microphones.
All and all, riders across the board were impressed with everything the Morocco Royal Tour had to offer– while Morocco may not be the first country you think of when it comes to show jumping, in it’s seventh year running, the Morocco Royal Tour is certainly on its way to becoming a top destination for international riders.