12-year-old Talal Boshosha is among a new generation of horse-riding stars who are learning from the best, and how to be the best, through an Al Shaqab international program
A talented young rider’s determination to be a future sporting star has seen him negotiate a challenging journey all the way from the occupied Palestinian territories to Doha, and be part of an annual showcase of equine excellence at Qatar Foundation.
Talal Boshosha is among the promising riders from around the world who are participating in the second edition of the Al Shaqab Internations Camp, which offers participants an opportunity to hone their skills on horseback while also gaining a life experience that helps them to become leaders and success-seekers.
The program includes qualifying competitions on the opening days of two of the biggest events in Qatar Foundation member Al Shaqab’s calendar: the Commercial Bank CHI Al Shaqab, and the Longines Global Champions Tour, which is taking place at the Education City equestrian arena this weekend. And 12-year-old Boshosha’s love of horses meant he was determined to be there, despite the difficulties that the journey poses.
“I have always loved to watch equestrian competitions on TV back in my hometown city, Jericho in the Palestinian West Bank,” he said. “When my parents realized my passion in horse riding, they decided to enroll me in a riding school.
I feel extremely lucky to have the chance to meet my role models in the equestrian world.
“My journey started in showjumping practices. With my horse that was provided to me by the riding school, I managed to jump 60m and 80m within a year, then gradually improve to reach higher levels, and participate in different showjumping competitions in different cities across Palestine.”
One of the toughest times in Boshosha’s equestrian journey was when the horse he began to ride on died due to illness. “I was away for a camp when I was told that my horse got sick and passed away,” he said. “It was the most upsetting experiences I have ever had.
“To pursue my training, I had to train a new horse, which was not easy for me at all because I had to get used to him and adapt myself all over again. But only after a short time, the level of my new horse improved rapidly, and people at the riding school asked me to allow other students to train with him as he became very experienced”.
For Boshosha, being selected to take part in the Al Shaqab Internations Camp, which began on February 21 and runs until March 8, and represent Palestine is “a dream come true”.
“I feel extremely lucky to have the chance to meet my role models in the equestrian world, such as the showjumpers Hendrik Snoek and Scott Brash, as well as other top-class riders in the camp,” he explained. “I got the opportunity to chat with them, be trained by them, and learn from their experiences.
We make sure to integrate young Arab riders with international riders to enhance their skills and to gain inspiration from them.
“I am very thankful for Qatar Foundation and Al Shaqab, and it is an honor for me to be here and raise the name of my country Palestine, and help to show the world what Palestinian people are capable of despite all the challenges we face. In the future, I hope that I can represent my country to the best of my ability, and that I can continue to do that over the years to come at Al Shaqab.”
Speaking about the support that Al Shaqab provides for Boshosha and other potential future stars of the equestrian scene to join the camp, Mohammed Al Suwaidi, Manager of its Equine Education Department, said: “We are committed to supporting young Arab riders, and we invite our neighboring Arab countries such as Kuwait, Oman, Jordan and Palestine to join this camp.
“We make sure to integrate young Arab riders with international riders to enhance their skills and to gain inspiration from them. Al Shaqab’s programs constitute an educational platform to nurture the next generation of horse riders, while also promoting Qatar’s equestrian legacy and status as a global sporting destination.”