Spectators were given a thrilling show as animals showed off their best tricks at the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (Adihex).
For the first time this year, the U.A.E. Armed Forces hosted a 20-minute horse jumping show during the four-day exhibition. The most beautiful Saluki dogs paraded in style in hopes of grabbing the best looking medal while the parrots from the Al Ain Zoo now only displayed their colourful plumage but also tried to engage the audience in "conversation”.
The Abu Dhabi Police's K9 section also brought along hundreds of dogs of different breed — from German Shepherd to Chihuahua — some of which are trained for police work while others to entertain. At the Adihex arena, some of them demonstrated their ability to jump, roll, run and fetch. A special feature on Friday was the unique camel auction, where offsprings of famous racing camels were bought for hundreds of thousands of dirhams.
A regular attraction at the show is the competition for the most beautiful and largest falcons.
Organised by the Emirates Falconers' Club (EFC), the competition is opened for all falcons bred in captivity and will see winning beauties in several categories: the best Gyr-Peregrine bred in captivity, the best 3/4 "three quarter” pure bred Gyr, the best Gyr male and the best pure Gyr. In addition, the EFC will award the Best Stand of Falconry and Falconry Equipment at the exhibition.
The EFC has formed a judging committee consisting of U.A.E. and international experts in the field of falconry and their breeding. Participating falcons are carefully evaluated according to various qualifications. The bird's weight, the length and width of its body, feathers' consistency, alignment and colour, as well as details of the falcons' head, body and legs are all taken into consideration. Alongside technicalities, the birds are also judged for appearance, general look and health.
This internationally unique contest of The Best Falcons Bred in Captivity (hybrid), which is now part of the annual competitions of Adihex, has succeeded in motivating falconers to use hybrid falcons as suitable alternatives in falconry, and consequently allow the wild falcon population to grow, as it was becoming an endangered species due to the loss of habitat and over-capture.
The 12th edition of Adihex, held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the EFC, brought back this year all favourite competitions — Nabati poetry, Arabic coffee brewing, Best Saluki Show, painting and photography. This was supported by The Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee in Abu Dhabi.
In total, prizes worth Dh500,000 are awarded to winners this year.
"These competitions achieved a great Arab and international fame throughout the previous editions of the exhibition. They aim to maintain the heritage and authentic traditions of the U.A.E., but they are also greatly committed to preserving the environment and sustainable hunting,” said Abdullah Al Qubaisi, director of Adihex.
Painting and Photography, two different competitions, have always been among the favourites at the exhibition, as they allowed endless artistic expressions as long as they revolve around Emirati culture and traditions, hunting or equestrian themes. Both painting and photography competitions are opened to amateur and professional artists from all over the world and the best three in each category will be offered monetary awards, while all participants will receive honorary certificates.
Over the years, art has become increasingly popular at Adihex, with ever more artists and galleries setting up stands displaying visual artworks of horses, desert scenery, wildlife, customs and traditions and even portraits. This year is no different.
Among the several art stands, the Swiss Art Gate U.A.E., the cultural, non-profit organisation, is participating at Adihex for the first time. Swiss Art Gate U.A.E. is presenting 18 artworks of Nurlan Bazhirov, a wildlife artist, from Kazakhstan.
"He is very well known for his horse paintings and we think Adihex is an ideal venue for his artworks,” said Kurt Blum, general manager of Swiss Art Gate U.A.E..
Bazhirov and his unmistakable traditional Kazakh giant woollen hat travelled all the way from Kazakhstan to join his artworks at Adihex. Each day, he spends 50 minutes drawing sketches of horses on paper and visitors are welcomed to watch him work and ask any questions about his sketches as well as about his paintings.