oday was a busy day in Wisbecq, Belgium for Team Saudi Arabia. Photos and interviews were scheduled through out the day for all members as news of the lift of the FEI ban for riders Abdullah Sharbatly and Khaled Al Eid came just yesterday.
All the boys looked very sharp in their Green Saudi Equestrian sweaters and a sense of joy but also reserve was very evident through out the stable. The interviews and filming occurred outside by the ring, as other team members rode their string of horses through out the afternoon.
I arrived at the stable just as Abdullah Sharbatly was training with team Coach Stanny Van Paesschen. The team were exercising through a combination and broken lines and it certainly looked as though no one has taken much of a break, despite the ban.
Al Eid had finished all his horses for the day and was enjoying casual conversation with everyone. Khaled Al Eid, 2000 Sydney Olympic Individual Bronze medalist, has already qualified for London with the 13 year old Dutch Warmblood, Presley Boy (a particular favorite of mine).
I was thoroughly surprised when I ran into Canadian Peeter Aitken, now stable manager for Saudi Equestrian. I had not seen Peeter since Spruce a while back, when he was working with Gail Greenough, so it was such a pleasant surprise to see a familiar face. Peeter was getting everything ready for Hoofddorp and shared how much he is enjoying living in Brussels. He has been here working with Saudi Equestrian since February last year. It is always nice to catch up with a fellow Canadian on this side of the Atlantic.
Additional team members present who have already qualified are; HH Prince Faisal Al Shalan on Talan, HRH Prince Abdullah Bin Miteb on Davos and Kamal Bahamdan who has several horses qualified.
Check out biographies and information about all things Saudi Equestrian on their website…