Kashtah trips around the UAE aim to enhance NYU Abu Dhabi students’ cultural and historical awareness of the country. Kashtah is the Emirati-Arabic word for trip or an outing.
Most Kashtah trips are spent in the UAE’s urban landscapes, touring art museums, cultural sites, and hipster cafés, but today’s adventure instead focuses on a single aspect of UAE culture sometimes neglected: equestrian.
Ajman is only few hours drive from Abu Dhabi, just past Dubai and Sharjah. The trip by bus marks my fourth Kashtah venture to another Emirate since arriving at NYUAD.
Most of the day is spent at the Ajman Stud Horse Farm, the training ground for many of the UAE’s most prized stallions and mares. Valued for their beauty and strength, these horses are a point of pride for Ajman, bringing home trophies upon trophies for their performances around the world.
General Manager Khalid Al Omairi takes us on a guided tour of the ranch to see all 162 horses in their pens, including the mothers with their foals, and the stallions in a separate stable to control the breeding process.
The horses belong to the Crown Prince of Ajman as does a nearby holiday home that we are graciously allowed to visit. The home, decorated with items from all over the world, is coated with furs and skulls from animals found across Africa, with a view over a crystal clear pool into the desert where a herd of gazelles graze on the land.
Gifts and thanks are exchanged prior to our departure, and I am simply blown away by the professionalism, hospitality, and standard of excellence at the horse farm and in Ajman generally.