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Story | Community
20 June 2020

How QF looks after the Arabian horse breed’s greatest icon


Equine legend Marwan Al Shaqab is the most famous Arabian horse in the world.

The legendary Marwan Al Shaqab is now enjoying his retirement - and the veterinary expertise of a QF member is ensuring this king among horses stays healthy

It is no secret that Arabian horses are defined by their gracefulness, elegant colors, and striking beauty. They are also known around the world for their speed, power, and endurance, as well as the contribution they make to improving other global horse breeds.

This is a breed that has produced stallions who have become legends. But even among such equine company, Marwan Al Shaqab stands above all others.

Marwan is a rare gem, a leading example in the world of horses,. He is the most influential Arabian of his generation.

Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani

A rare gem
If you are looking to pinpoint why Marwan is an icon for the Arabian horse breed, there are countless reasons. Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani, Manager of the Breeding and Show Department at Qatar Foundation’s Al Shaqab – the world-class equine and equestrian center that Marwan calls home - describes him as “a valuable addition to purebred Arabian horses”.

“Marwan is a rare gem, a leading example in the world of horses,” he says. “He is the most influential Arabian of his generation, due to his significant contribution to improving the production of Arabian horses.

Marwan has won the most prestigious international prizes in the sport, and his progenies have also gone on to enjoy a string of equestrian successes.

“He is also known for his beauty. He has a long neck, slim figure, and strong structure. He is an elegant, and athletic horse – and a priceless one.”

Marwan’s portfolio is crammed with achievements and victories accomplished in the most prestigious international competitions. “He has been a jewel in the crown of Al Shaqab since his first show in Doha, when he confidently entered the arena and emerged victorious,” says Sheikh Hamad Al Thani.

“Soon after, he left his homeland to conquer the world and has won the most prestigious international prizes, including the title of Leading Sire at the World Arabian Horse Championship five years in succession.”

At the same championships, Marwan has been Champion Colt twice and Champion Senior Stallion once. As a junior stallion, he won the US National Arabian Championship on two occasions. And that is only a snapshot of his achievements. Even in his retirement, he remains the most famous Arabian horse on the planet.

Marwan receives the highest levels of care and medical attention, as has been the case since he was a foal

Sheikh Hamad bin Ali Al Thani

Pure authenticity
According to Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, the beauty, elegance and quality of Marwan Al Shaqab are no accident. Instead, they are the result of the caliber of Al Shaqab’s breeding program, and a careful study of his pedigree reveals generation after generation of excellence.

“Al Shaqab Arabians have won top titles in major horse show competitions around the world, including that of world champion,” he said. “All of Al Shaqab’s participating horses have been bred and raised at Al Shaqab itself, with the established and proven breeding program reflecting its ability to present some of the finest horses at international show competitions”.

Sired by World Champion Gazal Al Shaqab, and his dam, Little Liza Fame, who was a national champion in the US before her selection as a broodmare for the Al Shaqab program, Marwan was born in 2000, and the decades since have seen him become a star.

“While dedicated to using the valuable gene pool provided by Marwan Al Shaqab and other stallions and select mares, Al Shaqab is always searching for additional bloodstock that will complement the current program and allow the farm to remain vital, productive and relevant for the near and far term,” said Sheikh Hamad Al Thani.

“Marwan’s worth as a sire has been proven time and again as his progeny, including Kahil Al Shaqab and Hariry Al Shaqab, continue to win the most important show championships throughout the world. Hariry Al Shaqab was crowned as World Platinum Champion at the World Arabian Championship – Salon Du Cheval De Paris 2019, following his brother Kahil’s title win the previous year.”

Extensive care

As a part of QF’s efforts to preserve the proud legacy of the Arabian horse breed, the center from which he takes his name is now the home of Marwan Al Shaqab.

Horses at Al Shaqab are receiving royal treatment, and during times such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, extra care and attention is paid to protecting their health.

“Marwan receives the highest levels of care and medical attention, as has been the case since he was a foal,” said Sheikh Hamad Al Thani.

“He enjoys a special extra-large enclosure at the Emiri stables and he has a groom appointed exclusively, just to take care of him. He also has his own paddocks to run in when it is time for him to be out of the stables.”

He also goes on walks, touring the stable that he knows so well, and it is like he is saying to all his stallion friends that he is ‘Marwan the King

Dr. Florent David

The care that Marwan receives has been heightened with the establishment of the Equine Veterinary Medical Center (EVMC), a QF member, which provides the highest standards of equine care to horses throughout Qatar. A team of qualified veterinarians oversee Marwan, and one of them is Dr. Florent David, Specialist in Equine Surgery, Sports Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging, and an assistant professor at QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University, who has been following Marwan’s health over the past three years.

“He is on a very strict exercise program, which is important in keeping him active and well-muscled by ensuring he burns a good amount of calories per day. He goes to the pool daily and perform several laps in both directions,” says Dr. David.

“Marwan loves swimming; he finds this exercise very relaxing, as his feet are not put under pressure in the water. He also goes on walks, touring the stable that he knows so well, and it is like he is saying to all his stallion friends that he is ‘Marwan the King’.

The establishment of QF’s Equine Veterinary Medical Center has heightened the care that Marwan receives.

Constantly improving
It’s a level of care fit for a legend. And it also reflects the extent of QF’s commitment to preserving and promoting the Arabian horse breed.

“Marwan’s success is a credit to unyielding efforts, careful planning, continuous assessment, hard work, and a constant desire to develop and improve the elite of the Arabian horse breed to Qatar and the world,” explained Sheikh Hamad Al Thani.

“Our aim is to participate in major international championships and achieve the most prestigious titles, honoring our equine legacy; to ensure the continuity of the production of the finest purebred Arabian horses in the future; and to preserve Qatar’s leading role in the field of Arab horse production.”

He is very cooperative, and you get attached to him so easily as he is a beautiful horse with a spectacular character

Dr. Florent David

Marwan Al Shaqab is testament to the success of this goal. And as for his well-earned retirement, Dr. David says: “Marwan’s health has been kept as good as possible, so that this unique horse lives the most comfortable and longest life at the Emir Stable in Al Shaqab. 

“Marwan is a horse who is very easy to work with, from a veterinary standpoint. He is very cooperative, and you get attached to him so easily as he is a beautiful horse with a spectacular character. We feel all very proud to be part of his life.”

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