Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Malaysia WEC: Of Horses and Riders - a Local's Perspective

by Azahar Idris

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

For the first time Malaysia, or to be more exact Terengganu, was the host of the FEI World Endurance Championship 2008.

We were all excited to be there, at Lembah Bidong Equestrian Centre. Just to be there to witness the great sporting event.

Squeezing my tight schedule, I drove up there after Maghrib Prayers. Reaching there at almost 11.00 we had to explore the entire facilities just to find a decent place to sit and watch the horses. The tiredness and the drizzling night made us somewhat lost bearing of the whereabouts of things.

I was looking for the Veterinarian centre, but just could not find it.

Finally, we did find a place. At least we were free from the drizzle. So the five of us, My wife, Amalia, Kak Long (my wife's niece) and were mesmerized by the magnificient horses and the riders too.

The Arabians were something else to see. They, with their concave face, slim body and beatifully raised tail walked or canter proudly as they left the starting point.

It was very close to the hub of the race - the starting and ending place.

It was already the end of the third loop when we arrived. We saw riders from UAE and Spain coming in. We also saw riders starting their fourth loop.

We waited for almost two hours, just to catch a glimpse of His Majesty Sultan Mizan riding his horse. According to the Policeman that joined us in the seating area, he was still resting.

Amalia was also excited with the horses. She kept on snapping pictures of the horses as they made their way (some seemed to have lost the desire to win) and also as they started the new loop.

My wife and I planned to wait it out till say 4 o'clock in the morning. But Amalia was sneezing continuously...perhaps the drizzle had triggered her rhinitis. Amirul was dozing on the empty seats.

So, we gave in. We left Lembah Bidong Equestrian Centre at around two in the morning.

We put up in Mahani's house for the night.

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