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Madawi Al Qahtani, Saudi Arabia’s First Licensed Female Jockey

A team of female equestrians including riders from Saudi Arabia made history in 2019 when they became the first women to ever perform at the Kingdom’s renowned Souq Okaz Festival. Less than two years later, another woman has made horse riding history by becoming Saudi Arabia’s first licensed female jockey.

After 15 years of horse-riding experience and skill to her name, Madawi Al-Qahtani received her jockey license this week from the Equestrian Square in Janadriyah, Saudi Arabia, making it the second national qualification for the skilled rider. Her first license was a show jumping training license from the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation. She adds the achievement of these two licenses to other key milestones in her career on the field, such as setting up the first horse riding school in Janadriyah for women and girls in 2016.

Speaking in a recent article by, the trailblazing jockey explained that she had overcome many obstacles on her journey to becoming an inspiration to Saudi Arabians of all ages and backgrounds, driven by her ambition and determination. She also pointed out that her ultimate goal is not to win championships, but rather to train riders in show jumping, endurance, and other areas of the sport. Indeed, she has already participated in a number of show-jumping tournaments, her most recent win being in 2019 when she came in second.

Saudi Arabia has a rich and long heritage when it comes to horse racing and most recently it is making efforts to include more and more women in this aspect of its culture. Indeed, in February this year, the Kingdom took a massive leap in its efforts to provide female equestrians the support and recognition they deserve, when during the Saudi Cup, it allowed female jockeys from across the globe to participate and witnessed New Zealand’s Lisa Allpress become the first female jockey to win a race in the Kingdom as part of the International Jockeys Challenge.

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