By TEAM CLAIRE
LANGKAWI is home to beautiful sandy beaches, crystal-clear water and, perhaps surprisingly, purebred Arabian horses.
It might not be common knowledge, but nestled in the jungles and hills that make up one of Malaysia’s most popular tourist islands lies the Seven Wells Arabian Stud-Farm, where horse breeder Hamzah Abdullah produces purebred Arabian horses for sale.
And it all started from one horse – Al-Bariq, beloved Arabian stallion of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Al-Bariq, which is so prized because of its endurance as a racehorse and its perfect physique, was a gift from the late Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and was entrusted to Hamzah in 2005 to breed more foals.
Al-Bariq was mated with Gatita, a Criollo mare from Argentina.Thirteen years on, the stud farm has almost 50 Malaysian-Arabian horses and six foals, all thanks to Hamzah’s efforts. Around 30 of them can trace their lineage back to the legendary Al-Bariq.
It’s clear from watching Hamzah interact with his charges that he truly has a passion for horses.
“I understand the language of horses more than people,” he joked, as a particularly loving horse nuzzled him for attention.
The Seven Wells Arabian Stud-Farm is now internationally recognised for breeding horses with low heart rates, rapid recovery times, and remarkable sturdiness. These coveted traits enable the purebred Malaysian-Arabian horses to excel in endurance races that push horses to their physical limits.
“The horses must have a very good recovery time so that they get fit again. A human resting heart rate is between 64 and 72 beats a minute. A horse’s is anywhere between 35 and 45. Malaysian-Arabians’ are all below 30, meaning to say that they have a very strong heart. So when they compete, when they run and gallop, they recover very quickly,” said Hamzah.
The Malaysian-Arabian horse is capable of competing as a show horse alongside its use in endurance races. This is unlike most endurance horses that aren’t typically able to be used as show horses.
Their capability as show horses owes to the fact that they have perfect “conformation”, which is the degree of correctness of body proportions such as a horse’s bone structure and musculature in relation to each other.
Thanks to Hamzah’s careful handling of Al-Bariq’s breeding, its impressive traits have seen its Malaysian-Arabian bloodline through many competitions both local and internationally.
The breeding done at Seven Wells has continued to be a meticulous process involving very careful selection of horses in order to protect the traits of Al-Bariq’s purebred bloodline.
“From imperfection, we cannot get perfection.” Hamzah said. “If the horses do not meet the criteria, we put them out and then we turn them into riding horses.”