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Through the desert

It’s completed: after staying course for five days and 180 km of sandy dunes, all participants of the first Gallops of Oman in the Sultanate of Oman, an equestrian endurance competition across the desert all the way to the Omani beaches, arrived safely at their destination: the beautiful beach in the East of the spectacular Ash Sharqiyah desert.

22 teams with five participants each took part in the exhausting competition: The two Omani teams Al Safinat (green) and Al Adiyat (red) that were familiar with the grounds, obviously dominated the competition, but the Europeans came off well with Khasab, the team of the Allemandou family, placing third in this sporting event.

However, it was mainly the adventure, the discovery of the magnificent desert and the interaction with a different (equestrian) culture that made this first event unforgettable. The crossing of a desert, even with the enormous logistics provided by the Royal Cavalry of the Sultan, is nothing trivial. The installation and moving-around of bivouacs, tents, sanitary facilities, baggage, nourishment, water etc. become much more complicated on sandy grounds, and the dunes lead to disorientation every now and then.

The riders, on the other hand, encountered other difficulties: their horses’ “cardio” management, loss of GPS and thus orientation, collapses and elopements of horses, which were all retrieved, sore muscles and injuries (nothing too bad, but forcing the horses to drop out), communication – or rather miscommunication – problems between team mates… This epic trip impressed participants as well as staff and attendants equally.

In the course of the competition, the participants discovered a land with a rich patrimony and plenty of touristic sites such as the Nizwa fortress that was the residence of Oman’s sultans until the 20th century, the astounding medieval town Adam, the paradisiacal Wadi Bani Khalid with its turquoise waters, the Muttrah souk and the majestic mosque of Muscat, to name just a few.

Thus, this first edition of the Gallops of Oman is but the beginning of a long and wonderful adventure: The organizers Bady Kebir and Benoit Perrier, his Excellency Nasser Bin Ahmed Al Kindi, his Excellency Abbas Abdulalleh Al Bahrani, the General Abdulrazak El Shahwarzi and The Minister of Tourism Ahmed Bin Nasser Al Mahrizi confirmed that the Gallops of Oman will soon be added to the agenda for 2015.

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