Equestrian World Mourns Loss of Dubai Sheikh

By September 19, 2015
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Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is remembered for his love of horses and equestrian sport.

The son of renowned equestrian Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and VP and Prime Minister of the UAE, died this morning, felled by a heart attack at age 33, according to the United Arab Emirates’ state news agency WAM.

Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was to turn 34 on November 12.  He is remembered for his focused efforts on expanding sport in his country.  Like his father — who in 2012 won individual gold and led the UAE to a team victory in the Longines FEI World Endurance Championship in England —  Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed took part in international and local equestrian endurance competitions, winning two gold medals in the 120-kilometre Endurance Individual Mixed and 120km Endurance Team Mixed events at the 2006 Doha Asian Olympics.

As the owner of Zabeel Racing International, the young prince led the individual owners’ list an unprecedented five times with 428 wins. “Today, I lost a best friend and a childhood companion, my dear brother Rashid,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai. “You will be missed.”  Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum won the individual gold medal at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. That win effectively retained for UAE through to the 2016 Olympic Games the world championship title  earned in 2012 by his father, who was there to see the win.

Descended from one of the most notable tribes in Arabia, Bani Yas, horses have been part of the Maktoum family life since childhood. In 1992 Sheikh Mohammed founded the Godolphin racing stable. What started in 1992 with a handful of horses, has evolved into the world’s foremost international racing enterprise. Sponsored by Emirates Airline, it remains the Maktoum family’s private stable and was named in honor of the Godolphin Arabian, a desert horse who went on to become one of the three founding stallions of the modern Thoroughbred.

Sheikh Rashid’s contribution to racing is remembered by The Blood Horse.

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Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum founded Zabeel Racing, an international success.

Sheikh Rashid was the first male child of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his senior wife, Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum. Sheikh Mohammed’s junior wife, Princess Haya bint Hussein, served for 8 years as president of the FEI, concluding her second term in 2014.

Sheikh Rashid was an active member of Dubai Cares, a philanthropic organisation working towards increasing access to quality primary education for children around the world. He was a founding member of the Dubai Sports and Cultural Club, serving as chairman until 2005. Educated in Dubai at the Rashid School for Boys, he went on to attend the Sandhurst Military Academy in the United Kingdom, graduating in 2002.

To mark the sad and untimely loss of Sheikh Rashid, who was a noble ambassador for the horse in international sport, UAE President Sheikh Khalifa declared three days of mourning across the Emirates, with flags at government departments and institutions to fly at half mast. “God bless the deceased young man. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return,” was the heartbroken sentiment issued by the Court of the Ruler of Dubai.

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