Racing in Riyadh

March 21, 2015

When I say racing… I wish it was me… in a car. But not in Saudi! This time it’s horse races!!!

I’ve never been to horse races in my life… so this is definitely going to be a very unique experience!! I’m sure the festivities surrounding horse races in Saudi Arabia are much different than in the rest of the world!!

And… in a couple weeks I’m going to the Dubai World Cup, the richest horse race in the world! So this will be a great little warmup.

I went with a bunch of girls from work to the Equestrian Club of Riyadh… wearing our prettiest dresses because we could actually be abaya-less at the restaurant at the race track… so exciting! (It’s the little things here… the little freedoms…) And… we were able to sit in mixed company as well at the Club Restaurant… we were just a table of females… but there were tables around with men and women. Some women still wore abayas, but others removed their abayas and had just modest clothing beneath. It is honestly so nice to find a bit of normalcy here in Riyadh some days!

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We had a nice big table with a good view out the glass wall overlooking the racetrack. Waiters served us Saudi champagne on arrival… cheers to non-alocholic bubbly. :S And we stuff ourselves on the massive buffet!!! Traditional Saudi food and a massive selection of salads and fresh vegetables and food, fish, chicken, lamb, rices… and a beautiful dessert buffet also. It was all absolutely delicious!!

From the balcony of the restaurant, we had a great view of the track. The track itself was really nice… with beautiful fountains in the center…

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We watched them get ready for the races… walking the beautiful arabian horses round in circles… trying to guess which horse was most likely to win the race. And then they’d run past us at a slow canter… warming up as they made their way over to the starting gate.

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Then, the gates would fly open and the horses were off!!! It was amazing to see the horses go flying past with the small men – the jockeys crouched on them… the horses rich and shiny and muscular … their hoves a thunderous roar… (these guys don’t skip leg day thats for sure!!!)

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The sky grew darker and darker… and at one point it started raining. Quite a downpour actually. Bit of a mess for the horses to run in now!!

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Near the end of the races, we left and headed back to the hospital. It was a really great experience… but I think it would definitely be better with something more than non-alcoholic Saudi champagne to sip on!

It was a really a great way to spend a Friday afternoon… something different for a change… something a bit more free…great company… plus… watching the horse races got me really excited for the World Cup in Dubai in a couple weeks! Can’t wait!!

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