In addition to our core cleaning chemicals business, Arpal Gulf LLC, based in Dubai, represent a range of other companies providing specialist products and services complementary to our own.
A recent blog post discussed one of these partnerships, with Dryden Aqua (UK), supplying a highly innovative range of water treatment products to public and private swimming pools across the UAE.
Another of our most recent and successful partnerships is an innovative water treatment product for the rapidly growing equine health market in the Middle East, developed in collaboration with EHC (Equine Health Centre) headquartered in the UK.
Horses: From Passion to Big Business
Horses are a traditional passion of the region’s Bedouin tribes. With rapid economic growth, combined with high disposable income, this passion has become big business in the UAE, driven in large part by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, an avid sponsor, owner and rider of horses.
Over the last decade or so, the UAE has benefited from multi-billion dollar infrastructure investments to promote the equestrian market, fuelled by the passion of the Emirati people. The country is now considered one of the great horse racing nations of the world.
Since the start of professional horse racing in 1992, the UAE has developed a racing industry and infrastructure that in many ways is the envy of the world with major racing venues including the Meydan (Dubai Racing Club), Jebel Ali (Jebel Ali Racecourse), Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club), Sharjah (Sharjah Equestrian & Racing Club) and Al Ain (Al Ain Racecourse). The first of these has a planned capacity of 120,000.
The UAE is also host to the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup. The biggest sporting and social occasion on the Dubai calendar. The US$30m race day is held at Meydan Racecourse on the last Saturday in March. Featuring nine high-class races, the day concludes with the Dubai World Cup itself, a US$10m race.
The equestrian market in the UAE is not confined to horse racing. It includes a wide variety of other equestrian events including the ‘Sport of Kings’ (polo), show jumping, endurance racing, riding schools, large global conferences and other events.
For the population at large, including the growing number of tourists visiting the UAE, riding has emerged as one of the most popular hobby sports.
The country also hosts the annual Dubai International Horse Event, the Middle East’s largest equestrian trade and business event, attracting more than 10,000 visitors from over 20 countries.
As a consequence of this growth, the UAE boasts a highly diversified range of equestrian facilities including high quality quarantine centres, modern feed mills, stud farms, state-of-the-art equine hospital, private training establishments featuring the very latest, high-tech training surfaces, as well as world class racing courses.
In addition to breeding top quality Arabian horses, the UAE’s wealth has allowed it to cherry-pick the top horses at sales around the world. Dubai’s deputy ruler Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al-Maktoum is reported to own some 1,000 horses around the globe.
There is a booming export market for racing and endurance related products such as feed, supplements, bedding and saddlery items. The total annual import value of equine products and equipment in the UAE is now estimated in excess of Dh1.2 billion.
Staying Fit and Healthy
With such high stakes at play, it is critical that the UAE equestrian sector keeps its horses fit and healthy. This is where our collaborative partnership with EHC becomes important.
Horse trainers have long recognised the benefits of salt water for their horses but not everyone has direct access to the sea. Installed at some of the most prestigious facilities around the world, the ‘Seawalker’ equine water walker offers a unique exercise environment for horses in training, sales prep and rehab. Using a highly advanced filtration and purification system coupled with the use of a disinfectant with UV (Ultra Violet) exposure (but no use of harmful chlorine), Seawalker equine treatment provides a chilled, salt water exercise environment replicating that found on a beach.
A core product strength is that the water level can be adjusted to target specific muscle groups in the horse, with the chilled water acting as a powerful restorative. Training at lower depths encourages the horse to exaggerate its natural stride in an effort to minimise the resistance of the water. In deeper water, the horse has to work harder and makes more of a wading action, employing the rear quarter and back muscles. This provides a more general aerobic exercise platform. Such cross-training work helps to strengthen abdominal musculature, a core strength for any horse in any discipline.
Horses exercised in a Seawalker environment show greater muscle definition without risk of injury associated with track work. The walker significantly reduces the time lost in bringing horses back from injury.
With the capability of exercising 6 to 8 horses at the same time, with only one trained supervisor overseeing them, there are significant cost savings to be achieved by the equestrian facility. Income can also be generated from charging a per session fee.
The restorative properties of chilled salt water for horse’s legs, muscles, and respiratory system alleviates the need to ice horses after training, maintains fitness in a relaxed, safe manner thereby significantly increasing starts per horse.
At Arpal Gulf, we are always happy to talk to innovative companies keen to expand in the UAE & MENA regions.
With our proven track record spanning 20 years and reputation for quality and professionalism, we can provide a gateway to companies seeking to establish themselves in the region.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss.