Dr Christian Wacker (centre), Director of Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum (QSOM), speaking during the launch of a new book at AI Shaqab Equestrian Center, yesterday. QOSM launched the first edition of an extensively researched volume on horse sports titled ‘Horse Games - Horse Sport: From Traditional Oriental Games to Modern and Olympic Sport’. Fahad Al Qahtani (left), Director, Al Shaqab, and Andreas Amendt, Head of Library, QOSM attended the launch ceremony.
DOHA: The Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum (QOSM) yesterday launched the first edition of an extensively researched volume on horse sports titled ‘Horse Games - Horse Sport: From Traditional Oriental Games to Modern and Olympic Sport’.
The launch ceremony was attended by Fahad Al Qahtani, Director, Al Shaqab, Dr Christian Wacker, Director, QSOM, and Andreas Amendt, Head of Library, QOSM, at the state-of-the-art Al Shaqab.
The book - an extensively researched volume of information - has been launched under the patronage of H E Sheikha AI Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa AI Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museum Authority (QMA).
Edited by Dr Wacker and Amendt, the ‘Horse Games - Horse Sport’ book highlights old horse game traditions in the Orient like the Djerid games, equestrian competitions in ancient times such as horse events during the Ancient Olympic Games, the development of horse sports in modern times, as well as modern equestrian disciplines like show jumping, evening, and dressage, which are part of the Modern Olympic Games.
The book launch held at Al Shaqab Equestrian Center was accompanied with horse performances including Arabian horses in hand show, traditional horse games, and a traditional horse performance at the awe-inspiring Al Shaqab, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF).
Commenting on the significance of this book, Dr Wacker said: “Through a number of papers and articles, this publication raises awareness of the importance of horses and horse sport activities for the cultural history of the Middle East and beyond. I would like to thank all the authors for their generous contribution to this book, the QOSM members for their support throughout the publication process, and the Al Shaqab team for collaborating with us on this event.”
Wacker added: “This is quite a unique production. This book has everything that you wanted to know about horse games. I am sure this book would be become a reliable source of information that fans of equestrian would like to read about.”
Al Qahtani said: “It is very significant that this book is being launched at Al Shaqab. This is the place where we celebrate the sport of equestrianism. Al Shaqab pays great attention to every detail to this sport. This is an important book. It is well documented and extensively researched. It makes for an insightful reading.”
Dr Wacker said: “Horses and mankind have coexisted and co-evolved since pre-history, each having a profound influence on the other. Without the horse early civilisation would not have developed as rapidly or to such an extent. Hence, it is not surprising that because of the beauty, strength, speed and endurance of the horse, they became well suited for leisure pursuits of races and games. How a horse was viewed depended on its use in any particular culture, but a fast animal was usually very highly prized and reflected the status and prestige of its owner.”
Dr Wacker said two years ago the QOSM hosted a seminar and an exhibition on the same subject highlighting a broad range of topics, from Oriental horse games to high-tech Olympic performances and other international equestrian festivals.
The opening of the exhibition included a traditional Qatari horse-rider show and the Revival of Djerid, a centuries-old oriental horse game from the 16th century where two teams of horsemen try to score points by throwing wooden javelins at each other.
Amendt said: “It took us a little over two and half years of work to produce this huge volume of information. I would say this book would help university students who have a profound interest in equestrianism. This book is definitely passes as a good academic tool to understand horse and horse sports. We have traced the history of the topic in discussion really well.”
Amendt said more books are in the ‘pipeline’ and would be completed in due course of time.