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The Science of Arabian Horses [Slide Show]

At the Al Shaqab facilities in Doha, Qatar, breeding and showing prized Arabian horses is a science unto itself



Mariette DiChristina

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At Al Shaqab in Doha, Qatar, science is bringing a new life to the ancient bloodlines of Arabian horses—the breed that carried historical figures such as Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Napoleon and George Washington. Purebred Arabian stallions are the finely built and fleet founders of today's racing thoroughbreds. In 1992, the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar established the Al Shaqab equestrian farm to foster the breed. It's located at the Al Shaqab battle site, where in 1893 Qataris riding Arabian horses fought against the Ottomans and eventually gained independence. The 980,000-square-foot facility is part of the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to help the country reach its goal of becoming a leader in innovation and research. I visited the complex during the 2011 World Conference of Science Journalists, held in June.

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