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Egypt Equestrian Federation

El-Estad El Bahary Street
Nasr City
Federations Building

Tel. (20 2) 2402 92 65
Fax: (20 2) 2261 65 75
mailTo: info@eef.com.eg
http:    www.eef.com.eg

Trail Map


Preparations - November 11 2007

I went over to the Sakkara Country Club yesterday to see what was happening and the state of the informational black hole. It is indeed black. There is a huge sign saying "Help Desk" but I have to assume that the desk put it up in a plea for assistance because there were no humans nearby. When I went to the reception desk at the club, they told me that someone from the Egyptian federation would be manning the desk. "Is anyone from the federation around?" "No." "Has anyone from the federation been around this week?" "Well, no." Great start.

I saw one of the trainers/stable managers sitting with a couple of guys wearing black baseball caps with roughly cut leaping cats in white stitched onto them. I was introduced to two of the Libyan riders who had trucked their horses 3000km to participate in the race. They were a bit concerned because, not surprisingly, the horses are feeling the stress of the trip.

I chatted for a while with Nour el Din Fendra and Hassan el Kilani from Tripoli. They are competing as individuals with a few horses (6 to 20) rather than being from an industrial stable. They it really funny that everyone in Egypt kept asking them if they are riding for Col. Gaddafi. The model of endurance in the UAE leads to such an expectation.

The Libyians had brought five horses with them and were quick to say that, because of the concern about the long trip, they chose not to bring their best horses. Libya has some endurance racing and these two were very interested in knowing what was required to participate in the 2008 WEC and when it was.

I gave them Endurance.net's url to do some research. I also told them that Steph and John, while not rich enough to go wandering the globe on their own account, were very kind and beneficial folk who loved to help endurance all over the world and if they were sent an invitation and plane ticket would probably be delighted to come and assist Libyan riders.

We went into the stable area to see their horses. The Libyan horses and the Qatari horses are being housed in boxes at the Club. The Saudi team has also arrived and has been stabled at Rabab Stud just down the road. As we were talking some temporary boxes were being delivered, so I imagine that they will be moving in soon. Two of the Libyan horses were looking decidedly unhappy, a bit thin and grumpy, while the others were in better shape. I suggested that they talk to some of the grooms at the club about solutions to the stress of travel, so hopefully they will be happier soon.

Took a wander down the row of Qatari horses and chatted with some of their staff. I think that being a Qatari endurance horse might not be too bad. They were flown in from France, where they summer each year because Qatar is simply too hot for them. Some of these horses are big rangy Anglo Arab and others are smaller more typical Arab type. Nice showing, great attendants, happy horses. One of the horses was without question the oddest colour I've ever seen on a horse. This horse originated in South Africa and was a pale grey (going white) with red flecks and with about quarter sized medium grey spots all over it.

So far no one has any idea who or where the organising committee is or when it is showing up. The lanes for the vet gates, the fences for the in and out, the timing booths, and some very nice looking tents have been set up.

The club itself is doing some major landscaping work for the event and flowers are appearing everywhere. Everyone is wondering about the trail and no one knows a thing. The bet among the locals is that no one will know anything about the trail ahead of time because it will be set late at night just before the race to avoid anyone removing flags. Unfortunately this also means that the riders will be going in blind, so to speak. But since these are the Pan Arab games and, as Arabs, they are more accustomed to the vagaries of organisation in our general region, people seem pretty calm about the whole thing.

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani

(ps: I'm attaching some photos that I took with my Nokia. Unfortunately my camera is still in the shop (expect a replacement soon) having taken a swim in a canal a couple of weeks ago with one of my youngsters. Nokia's withstand water better than Panasonics.)