ABU DHABI // To the delight of hundreds of schoolchildren, the British Household Cavalry put its skills on display yesterday afternoon during a performance of 'The Musical Ride' at the Abu Dhabi Hunting and Equestrian exhibition. Based on the enthusiastic cheers, clapping and smiles of the children, the precision horsemanship was just as big a hit with them as it was with the previous night's audience that included Emirati royalty.
The team, made up of 28 horses handled by 36 soldiers in British ceremonial uniform, performs cavalry skills set to music, a routine that has been almost unchanged since 1882. It was the team's first performance in the Middle East. After the show, the main arena at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre was taken over by a beauty contest for Arabian horses, which will culminate today. An area dedicated to guns saw steady trade yesterday. Among the guns on display is a rifle engraved with images of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which is for sale for ?650,000 (Dh3.5m).
An expanded list of exhibitors and promotion of the four-day exhibition through the GCC has led to increased attendance this year. The first two days have traditionally been slow, but organisers say the numbers this year are higher than at the same time last year. The Italian gun-maker Barbara Fausti said she had seen more people and made more sales than last year, which was her first at the exhibition. "They've seen us before, but there's good interest in our shotguns," she said. "It's better than last year but sometimes in this kind of fair, you don't know until it closes."