Meet Dana al-Gosaibi, one of Saudi Arabia’s first female horse trainers

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Dana al-Gosaibi is the first Saudi woman to work in the field of taming, training horses and raising animals. She loves horses and considers treating them with love and respect as one of the most important human missions in life. She hopes that one day she could establish shelters for horses and stray animals.

Gosaibi spoke to Al Arabiya and confirmed that she loved horses ever since she was a child. Her late father had trained her on horse-riding since she was four years old. She grew up loving horses and knowing how to deal with them. She continued her training in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, Bahrain and in Jeddah.


Taming and training horses

She explained that taming horses is about helping the jockey to understand the horse so that he can ride the animal easily without risk, injury or falling. Some horses are wild and may bite or kick as a result of violence or intimidation suffered in the past, which requires time to tame the animal.

She pointed out that taming requires patience and special treatment; all horses can be tamed if we learn their history. Each horse has an independent personality; some are brave, intelligent, and responsive while others are not. Therefore, the horse tamer must have an idea about the horse and its history pointing out that some horses can be tamed within a week while others can take up to a month.

Gosaibi said that horses love eating dates and throw away the cores. They also like apples and carrots, warning that giving sugar to the horse may harm its health just like humans, criticizing the behavior of those who only care about winning the race without thinking about how to handle the animal. She points out that horse riding is an opportunity to learn many virtuous qualities, including patience, equestrianism, heroism, courage and altruism.

She has so far participated in many races, and has two horses, noting that the most famous horses are Arab, American, German and a hybrid breed.

Saudi Dana al-Gosaibi trains a horse on March 1, 2017, in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. (AFP)
Saudi Dana al-Gosaibi trains a horse on March 1, 2017, in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. (AFP)

Dana recalls a painful memory when she encountered a little donkey that had been tortured and beaten after he got ill; the poor animal was thrown away under the bridge in the Ryman neighborhood. She took it to one of the stables to look after it, after a great deal of suffering and veterinary and psychological medical care, the animal started to recover calling on animal associations to deal with such incidents.

Dana also praised the potential and aptitude of Saudi women in taming horses as they have all the necessary characteristics for equestrianism.

Gosaibi underlined that she dreams of finding a shelter for horses, and that there is a competent authority to refer to when dealing with horse abuse. She stresses that all harmful practices against horses needs to stop such as maltreatment, poor nutrition or pressure to win using unethical practices.

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