Struggle for support and recognition
Calls for reviving equestrian heritage in Maysan
MAYSAN, January 26 — The quiet streets of Maysan hardly echo the gallops and neighs that were once a common melody in this region, renowned for its equestrian heritage. At the heart of this fading culture is Reza Saber, head of the local equestrian club, who passionately advocates for the revival of horse breeding and equestrian sports. His voice, along with those of local breeders and trainers, reflects a community’s struggle to rejuvenate a tradition that now hangs by a thread.
Reza Saber is a man whose life revolves around horses. His frustration is evident as he recounts, “Our activities have come to a standstill for years due to a lack of support. Our previous engagements were limited to horse competitions and showcasing their beauty at annual events.” Saber speaks of a rich heritage in Maysan, a legacy of equestrian skills now neglected, adding, “Despite continuous appeals to reinstate this important sport, we have found no receptive ears. This is despite the presence of dedicated breeders and professional riders.”
Abdulaziz Al-Muryani, a local horse breeder, nostalgically remembers the days when equestrian clubs thrived. “In the past, equestrian clubs utilized our horses in competitions and annual gatherings for breeders. We used those occasions to engage in buying and selling authentic horses.” The decline in horse breeding in Maysan is not just a matter of lost interest but also a financial strain, as Al-Muryani laments the high cost of maintenance that has exacerbated the situation.
Ali Kareem, who owns a horse training farm, echoes these sentiments. The economics of horse breeding, he explains, are daunting. “Breeding requires medical care, feed, and attention, with costs ranging between 2-3 million dinars ($1,000- $1,500 US Dollars) per horse pair annually. These expenses are burdensome, and there is little financial return.”
The Youth and Sports Directorate, represented by Activities Officer Ali Hakam, acknowledges the challenges but points to bureaucratic hurdles. “There is no specific database in Maysan detailing the numbers and types of horses. The current process is primitive,” he admits. The Directorate understands the need for organization and support, highlighting their coordination with Maysan Agriculture and Veterinary departments. “We need to study the types and numbers of horses to provide them with support, including subsidized vaccines and feed,” Hakam asserts.
The story of horse breeding and equestrian sports in Maysan is one of passionate individuals against a backdrop of institutional neglect and financial hurdles. While the voices of Saber, Al-Muryani, Kareem, and Hakam paint a picture of a struggling tradition, they also embody a resilient hope. The creation of a comprehensive database and the promise of support from the Youth and Sports Directorate offer a glimmer of hope. For the equestrian community in Maysan, the race is not just about winning trophies but reviving a cultural heritage that once defined them.