Hickstead Q&A - Hamad Ali Al Kirbi

UAE rider Hamad Ali Al Kirbi made his Hickstead debut last summer when he competed at the Al Shira'aa Hickstead Derby Meeting. We caught up with him ahead of this year's show. 

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It was your first time competing at Hickstead, what did you think about the showground and the Al Shira’aa Derby meeting?

It was fantastic to come over to the UK to compete.  I came over in early May and spent quite a bit of time training with the Al Shira’aa team and Tom had kindly arranged for external training with some fantastically high profile riders, including the wonderful William Funnell. The showground is so impressive with what appears to be acres of grass and some quite enormous jumps. I was so lucky that my horse rose to the challenge to qualify for the Al Shira’aa Derby itself and I also had some good rounds in the outer rings and was able to compete in the British Speed Derby too. It was certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am delighted that I am coming back to the UK in 2018.

What was it like jumping round the Al Shira’aa Derby?

I think the Derby Trial was almost more nerve-wracking because it was the first time I had ridden round such a huge course of mixed fences and the eyes of all my countrymen were on me. I was thrilled to qualify for the Al Shira’aa Derby.

What is the best and worst thing about being a professional showjumper? 

My favourite thing is certainly being able to compete all over Europe and the UAE. It gives me a fabulous opportunity to showcase some amazing horses and I love being able to compete against the best riders in the world. I think probably my least favourite thing is the travel and being away from my family for long periods of time.

What are your goals for 2018? 

I am about to come over to England to train and compete for the Spring and Summer which is hugely exciting. If I have the right horse then I would hope to compete in the Al Shira’aa Derby meeting and to qualify for the FEI World Equestrian Games.

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