With 40,000 square meters of exhibition space, the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX) will showcase Emirati and world's heritage, culture, falconry, horsemanship and adventures in the great outdoors.
Now in its 13th year, ADIHEX is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi Emirate and Chairman of the Emirates Falconers' Club (EFC), being organised by EFC with the support of the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
Over a decade ago, the exhibition began with a handful of participants, committed to save the majestic wild falcon from its endangered status by promoting farm-bred falcons, right in time for the hunting season, as instructed by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
As explained by Majed Ali Al Mansouri, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of ADIHEX and Executive Director of EFC, the exhibition not only succeeded in its mission, but it became a lot more, a milestone for preserving Emirati culture, traditions and environment.
"Throughout its previous editions, ADIHEX attracted vast participations from around the world, and it became a destination for all hunting and equestrian gear producers, as well as tens of thousands of visitors and interested parties," said Al Mansouri.
"By launching its 13th edition on Wednesday morning, this distinguished status will be highlighted with the participation of more than 650 companies from 40 countries on an area of nearly 40,000 square meters, including 125 local UAE companies and official organisations," he continued.
ADIHEX is part of EFC's mission to preserve falconry - a major component of Emirati heritage - but in a sustainable manner, making a balanced use of natural resources.
This balance is being achieved through UAE initiatives such as the annual falcons' rehabilitation and release back into the wild programme or houbara conservation programmes with centres at home and abroad, all of which being explained and represented at ADIHEX 2015.
"Since 2003, ADIHEX has been a qualitative annual event as part of these ongoing efforts. Due to its excellence and popularity, it was worthy of the importance it gained. It has risen as a cultural, environmental and economic phenomenon, a gathering place for falconers, researchers, creative people and poets and for the successive generations of fans of falconry, horsemanship, camels, fishing and off-road trips," stated Al Mansouri.
Throughout the years, falconry remained at the heart of ADIHEX, a meeting point for falcon farmers and falconers from all over the world, which eventually led to a lot more international endeavours, all concentrating on sustainable falconry.
"Emirates Falconers' Club has succeeded to be the link between the falconers in the Arabian Peninsula and their peers in 75 countries that still practice falconry and preserve such ancient heritage. This particularly came to light with organising the International Festival of Falconry in 2011 and 2014, where falconers from around the world met in the UAE's capital in the largest gathering of its kind to contribute to the celebration of falconry as a human cultural heritage," said Al Mansouri.
Once again, this September 9-12, falconers from around the world, but also horse riders, camel and saluki breeders, artists, poets, weapon makers, safari organisers, camping and off-road manufacturers will meet at ADIHEX 2015.
"In conclusion, it gives me pleasure to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all ADIHEX's supporters and sponsors: Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Baynounah Channel - the event's media partner - and all those participating to attain more success for the exhibition that has become a milestone in the journey of ongoing achievements for the UAE in all fields," concluded Al Mansouri.
Abdullah Butti Al Qubaisi: a unique event in the Middle East and the world, ADIHEX 2015 returns with 16 different activities. By day a trade show and by evening an explosion of culture and heritage activities, ADIHEX 2015 returns with over a dozen competitions, shows and various other events.
"The four days exhibition comes with 16 exciting events such as the competitions for the Biggest and Most Beautiful Falcons Bred in Captivity, the Best Paintings and Photographs depicting hunting, equestrian or heritage scenes or the Finest Nabati Poems describing falcons and hunters," said Abdullah Butti Al Qubaisi, Director of ADIHEX and Projects Director of the Cultural Programs and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi.
The Arabian Saluki Beauty Competition is also back at ADIHEX this year for both short and long hair purebred saluki, and so is the K9 show, presenting the skills and abilities of Abu Dhabi Police trained dogs.
Another old favourite, the camel auction, is returning to the show too, along with equestrian shows that include horse jumping, dressage and equestrian skills presented by the Dhabian Equestrian Club, as well as shooting events from Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club.
Some of the government entities will host their own events at their respective pavilions during ADIHEX. Among them, the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority will have a falconers' corner, a public market and a handicrafts' corner, in addition to live houbara and workshops about these flightless birds, presented by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi.
Also here, the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital will keep a check-up room opened for all falcons purchased at the exhibition, making sure they are in good health, but it will also bring along its well behaved cats and dogs, available for adoption, from the Hospital's pet centre.
"The Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee is organising in its pavilion he Fixed and the Variable over Sands photo exhibition, displaying some of the best photos taken by the French press agency Agence France-Presse photographers on the theme of UAE life and heritage in 2014," said Al Qubaisi.
"Moreover, the public will be able to visit a heritage village, have educational and cultural interactions and watch a handicrafts' live show in the Committee's pavilion, in addition to the daily poetry evenings and folklore shows," he added.
New this year are awareness competitions and lectures organised by the Bihar Programme of the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority, as well as the National Election Committee.
Reaching the status as one of the most important events on Abu Dhabi's calendar and one of the world's biggest exhibitions of its kind, was a journey of hard work, passion and perseverance.
"I would like to welcome you to the 13th edition of Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2015, a unique event in the Middle East and the world that has achieved an ongoing success since its launch in 2003, weaving unforgettable memories through which we convey a message to everyone about the value of authentic UAE heritage," stressed Al Qubaisi.
Back in 2003, ADIHEX started out with just 40 participants and in just over a decade it grew 16 times, now hosting 650 companies from all over the world.
"The exhibition's area also increased almost seven times, as the first edition was launched on an area of 6000 square meters, while the new edition is held on an area of about 40,000 square meters, which is the largest area in the exhibition's history," he added.
Committee's pavilion: something new, something old and some things comfortably familiar The Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi is introducing a radical change to its pavilion at ADIHEX 2015. Yes, all the Emirati heritage elements are there, but they are presented in new lights, through some new events and displays.
Across an area of 1,000 square metres, the Committee's pavilion is featuring modern heritage expressions with interactive activities aiming to attract a bigger audience and more interest for Emirati traditions, but it also presents a diverse programme of shows meant to reinforce the value of authentic heritage.
"This participation comes to complement previous successful contributions in a way that serves the vision and the strategy of the Committee in the reinforcement of the values of loyalty, national belonging, and pride," said Staff Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee – Abu Dhabi.
"The Committee remains keen on consolidating the values of the Emirati heritage, notably loyalty, as well as allegiance to the leadership and the nation as an example to follow. All the activities of the Committee serve the cultural strategy of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in particular, and the United Arab Emirates, in general. The top objective consists in providing an effective contribution to the cultural heritage of the UAE while conveying a civilisational and humanistic message to the different cultures and peoples of the world," he added.
A platform to document both the heritage and aspects of UAE history, but also to highlight the Emirati identity, the pavilion is shedding light on tangible and intangible Emirati traditions, from handicraft making such as sadu (weaving) to Bedouin poetry recitals.
A major area of the Committee's pavilion at ADIHEX 2015 is dedicated to a heritage museum, displaying traditional handicrafts alongside other artefacts and objects related to local customs and traditions.
One of the new and most special presentation this year is the Falcons' Corner, where a number of falconers who used to accompany late Sheikh Zayed in his hunting expeditions are invited to speak about their adventures and share their memories with visitors of the pavilion.
Another stand out event is the Agence France-Presse (AFP) photo exhibitions, displaying some stunning photographs published in the international media and awarded with prestigious prizes, all depicting Emirati lifestyle and heritage.
The main Majlis is the place to welcome guests and visitors with the customary generosity and hospitality of the Emirati people. While sipping Arabic coffee and sampling dates, the public may also learn here about the Committee's initiatives and projects.
Then there is the poetry Majlis with walls covered in verses describing the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, his people's love for him and the nation's allegiance and loyalty to the UAE leaders. Inside, all there is to know about the Poetry Academy is revealed through promotional material and lectures on the role of poetry in education, culture and heritage.
Two Emirati poets are participating in the poetry evenings here, along with two poets from the Arab Gulf region. There will also be a ceremony to sign new publications of the Poetry Academy, which will begin with writers speaking about their books, presenting the content and details of their writings.
Rababa, a popular Bedouin musical instrument, and Shallah, a traditional Emirati dance are part of the daily evening performing arts at the pavilion.
Another addition this year are lectures, not just for adults, but for children too, organised along with other fun and educational activities in the Children's Stand meant for kids between six and 12 years old. The activities include a training workshop to introduce children to the art of falconry, and they will also focus on national identity, the love for the nation and the sense of belonging.
A media partner of the Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi, Baynounah TV, a local channel for the promotion of the different aspects of the Emirati lifestyle, has its own set up at the Committee's pavilion, running ADIHEX interviews and advertising its new September 2015 programmes.
In the Social Communication area there is a visitors' book, used to present all the different social media platforms of the Committee, where the public may also record their observations and impressions about the Committee's pavilion.
Volunteers from the FAZAA initiative of the Vocational Education Development Centre in Abu Dhabi are on standby every day of ADIHEX to help out visitors touring the Committee's pavilion and also organising a tour of the entire ADIHEX for school students.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed's Festival: ADIHEX, a renaissance for the equestrian sports For several years, HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan International Arabian Horse Festival (the Festival) has been closely associated, as a main partner and sponsor, with the Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition.
Spread across 2200 square meters, the Festival promotes an ancient Arab passion and a cultural heritage, the Arabian horse, through several modern equestrian sports. Thus, the Festival comprises the Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan's Cup, Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship, Wathba Stud Farm Cup, International Arabian Horse Championship Conference, Darley Awards "Mother of the UAE" in Hollywood, Ability Ladies Championship, World Professional Equestrian Championship supervised by the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing (IFAHR) and the International Federation of Equestrian in Endurance Race.
"The suite of HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan for International Arabian Horse Festival offers very important documentary photographs about the Festival's events and competitions around the world, and the awards granted to the State cavalries, and Arab and foreign cavalries in the previous editions," said Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the Festival.
She also stated that the Festival is displaying luxurious books about the Festival's history, awards, competitions and conferences from the last 10 years, which are "highly impressive".
Now in its seventh year, the Festival's 2015 agenda includes 106 horse races, which started in Australia in January and will end in Abu Dhabi on November 8th. Among them there are 14 horse races of HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship and 11 races of Professional Cavalries World Championship, which were launched at the racetrack of Kentucky Horse Park in Lizington for the first time.
During ADIHEX, visitors of the Festival's suite may also learn about the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak's "Darley Awards", held in Los Angeles, where 60 women were nominated for the Mother of the UAE title for the best female equestrian "bringing, breeding, owning, and training horses", in addition to the best three year old and four year old filly, the best female equestrian in the endurance races, the best female photographer, the best female journalist specialised in horses and the best female reporter.
According to Sawaya, the most important event in the Festival's agenda, also promoted at ADIHEX, is the launch of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan's Cup, known as the Crown Jewel, which will take place on November 8, coinciding with the Festival's finals in Abu Dhabi.
The most expensive Arabian horse race in the world, the Cup award sums up to Euro1,200,000, carrying the logo "Abu Dhabi is the world's capital of Arabian horse races".
The West shoots up in numbers at ADIHEX 2015 Not surprisingly, the majority of exhibitors at ADIHEX come from the Arab region, but there is an increasing number of companies, manufacturers, traders and artists arriving from the West, particularly Europe and SUA, bringing along products as varied as steel, artworks, weapons and hunting trips.
"We have many big American, European and New Zeeland companies participating in ADIHEX this year, which has become the biggest event in the Middle East specialised in falconry, equestrian sport, camel racing, hunting sports using firearms, open air sports, water sports, safaris, arts and antiques," said Abdullah Butti Al Qubaisi, Director of ADIHEX.
From MP3 International, a UAE based company established in 2004, trading in firearms with imports from Europe and USA to Frankonia Handels, a German company established in 1908, hunting weapons is what most of these Western participants bring to ADIHEX 2015.
Altogether, there are 40 exhibitors in the special firearm section of ADIHEX, 15 of whom being from the UAE.
Among them, SportEar company based in USA is bringing to ADIHEX its best audible and technical requisites for the hunting journeys, meant to improve the quality of the hunting equipment's performance and add a bit of fun to the sport.
Blaser Jagdwaffen from Germany is one of the biggest hunting guns and cartridge firearms in Europe, having a list of products based on the demands of active hunters, such as the R8 hunting rifle, made with Ruthenium, which is one of the world's rarest precious metals.
Another German company, Gottfried Prechtl, is bringing to ADIHEX innovative and distinguished rifles, as well as hunting cartridges, including the M98 rifles and cartridges, known for their accuracy and long-term performance.
Robert Burchill, twice the world champion in 300 meters shooting and silver medallist in the 1952 Olympic Games, has established the Burchill Waffen company in 1948. The Swiss company is now present at ADIHEX with some of the most beautifully engraved hunting rifles and the well-known "Sig" pistols.
UK's Ellie Hook company has also joined the exhibition with its famed among connoisseurs hunting rifles and cartridge firearms, while James Birdie and Sons, another British company that has been around for 200 years, is bringing to ADIHEX a special decorated package of firearms, as well as their handmade covers and tools reflecting Britain's craftsmanship.
Also from UK, Hawke Sports Optics offers hunting enthusiasts in Abu Dhabi a full package of optical tools for hunting, shooting, exploration of nature, and bird watching.
This year, the organiser of the exhibition, the Emirates' Falconers Club with the support of Cultural Programmes and Heritage Festivals Committee - Abu Dhabi, has changed the rules about buying weapons at ADIHEX.
For security reasons, only buyers registered in advance and cleared by the Police may purchase firearms. August 26th was the deadline for registration and, according to the organisers, only UAE nationals of minimum age of 25 years old, who have obtained the clearance certificate of criminal record and a certificate of mastering the use of weapon, which is issued to non-military individuals through clubs licensed for this purpose, were permitted to register for firearm purchase.
Other Western arrivals at ADIHEX 2015 are Cold Steel, a US company producing bound blazers, fixed blades, daggers, axes, spears and high-tapered swords, Middle East Equestrian, a trader of well-known US equestrian brands such as Mackinder Saddles and Pampa Saddles, and Sorrel Studios, also from the US, specialising in fine art portraits of horses.
From New Zeeland, two hunting safari companies, the Manuka Point Lodge and the New Zeeland Hunting Company, are here to convince ADIHEX visitors to book adventurous hunting trips in the country's spectacular mountains and shires.
Also part of ADIHEX 2015, are Italy's BS Planet company, which, apart from various hunting products, it designs, produces, and distributes Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for positioning animals, as well as new and innovated GPS products for positioning falcons. Joining ADIHEX's Western battalion, European Spice Association from Romania brings here high quality hunting gear crafted from natural leather, as well as equestrian requisites.