Jude Al-Ofi, a ten-year-old girl from Al-Hanakiah governorate in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, has become a viral sensation after a video of her riding her horse, Qamara, to school was shared widely on social media. This young equestrian's journey is not just a daily commute; it's a testament to her passion and dedication to horse riding.
Speaking to Arab News, Jude shared her deep connection with horses, a bond nurtured through regular visits to a nearby stable for practice. She believes in the importance of learning to ride, especially for children, as it develops a unique relationship with these majestic animals.
Her father, Raed Al-Ofi, a pharmaceutical technician and professional photographer, revealed that Jude's equestrian journey began three years ago. The first year of her training focused on understanding horse characteristics and care, followed by two years of intensive field training. This comprehensive approach has honed Jude's skills, making her a confident and skilled rider at a young age.
Jude's fondness for horses was sparked during a visit to a friend's stable, which eventually led the family to purchase their first horse six years ago. Since then, her bond with Qamara has grown, with Raed describing the horse as a beloved member of the family.
The video of Jude riding to school captured the hearts of many across Saudi Arabia. People from all over the Kingdom have praised her skills and determination, affectionately dubbing her a "horsewoman." Her father recounted the story behind the video, revealing Jude's long-standing wish to ride her horse to school. Fulfilling this wish, Raed accompanied her by car, filming the journey that culminated in a warm welcome from fellow students, teachers, and parents at her school.
Raed recognizes that for Jude to pursue a career as a professional rider, the family may need to relocate to Riyadh, a decision that involves significant logistical considerations. However, he firmly believes in the value of horse riding for children, citing its role in personality development, cultural connection, and opening doors to new opportunities.
The story of Jude Al-Ofi and her horse Qamara is more than just a viral moment. It symbolizes the deep-rooted equestrian culture in Saudi Arabia and highlights the potential in nurturing young talents in traditional arts and sports. Jude's journey on horseback to school is a charming reminder of the unique ways in which children can connect with their heritage while pursuing their passions.