The UAE, of course, achieved arguably their best ever result in international Jumping when they won the Challenge Cup at the 2017 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final.
They again made the Final week in 2018, and having become increasingly competitive at the very top of the equestrian world, Al Marri admits that they are also becoming more ambitious. For that reason, the UAE is focussing its energies on the Olympic qualifier in Rabat, Morocco from October 10-13.
“This year the main target is definitely the Olympic qualification in Morocco,” he tells FEI.org.
“The UAE has never competed as a nation in Jumping in the Olympic Games, and we are trying to have a team qualify there in October.
“We know it won’t be easy, but our performance last weekend gave us a huge boost for what’s yet to come.
“I think the UAE tour, with the support of Longines and the collaboration with the Emirates Equestrian Federation, has helped improve the whole sport.
“We also have a lot of private stables, like Al Shiraa Stables, doing their part in supporting local talents.
“With the help of everyone around us, I truly believe we will give the Europeans and Americans a run for their money.”
A top team
The recent performance in Abu Dhabi, where they finished just behind Germany and Ireland in the President of the UAE Showjumping Cup, has given Al Marri and his teammates confidence. Nadia Abdul Aziz Taryam was the UAE’s top finisher, with Al Marri and Shka. Latifa Al Maktoum also making the top 10.
“I think the whole team did well,” he said. “To be honest we could have had some better rounds, especially in the first round, but I think experience is everything when it comes to this series.
“We need to be competing with top teams regularly to get that and hopefully we will do that this summer.
“Abu Dhabi is definitely the main milestone on our calendar, and we all try very hard to get our horses to peak at the right time. I believe we managed to do that this year and it paid off for us. Plus the fact that it carries the name of our president makes it a bigger event overall for us.”