The 12th edition of the historic Souq Okaz by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), which began on June 27, has been offering guests a range of new events and performances designed to promote tourism, arts, and crafts in the Kingdom. Amongst this year’s festival features will be a three-day Souq Okaz Arabian Horse Beauty Championship held by King Abdulaziz Arabian Horses Center (KAAHC).
Speaking to Arab News, Turki Al-Khalty, director of public relations and head of horse beauty contests at KAAHC, said the contest, which will be held in the Souq Okaz horse racing track, consists of 19 rounds with 148 participating horses that belong to Saudi owners. The aim of the contest, according to Al-Khalty, is to “encourage competition in this Arab sport.”
He explained that KAAHC chose to feature beautiful Arabian horses at this year’s 15-day Souq Okaz because they are an important part of Islamic history in the region. He described the contest as one for C-category horses, which are considered beginners, and is overseen and rated by the European Conference of Arab Horse Organizations.
“This is the seventh contest of the season, in addition to five other championships that won’t be held in Souq Okaz,” said Al-Khalty.
Arbitration at the event will be carried out by a panel of judges from different European countries and will based on five basic criteria: The head and neck, the back, the legs, the horse’s movement, and the breed. Additional observations include the beauty of a horse’s skeletal build.
According to the news site, the “horse should also have a strong, straight back, a curved, long neck, a relatively straight muzzle, small and erect ears that are close to each other, wide black eyes, a broad convex forehead that narrows and concaves when it reaches the horse’s nose, and wide nostrils.”