Source of article & picturehttp://www.compasscayman....visits-equestrian-centre/Jordanian princess visits equestrian centre
A Jordanian princess who heads the international governing body of equestrian sport worldwide paid a quick visit to the Cayman Islands last week and toured the equestrian centre.
Her Royal Highness Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, who is married to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, visited the Cayman Islands Equestrian Centre on 24 June.
“I’m really honoured to be here to meet the riders and the members of your national federation and to be here in the Cayman Islands,” said Princess Haya, who is the president of the Federation Equestre Internationale (International Equestrian Federation).
Mary McTaggart, president of the Cayman Islands Equestrian Federation, led the princess on a tour of the facilities at the equestrian centre, and discussed the challenges and triumphs of the federation.
“I think our international federation is unique in the fact that we have eight different disciplines,” Princess Haya said. “We have three Olympic disciplines - dressage, show jumping and three-day event, and then we have non-Olympic disciplines like driving, vaulting, long distance riding, reining and para-equestrian, and to find alignment between all of them is a challenge.”
The princess has been around horses all of her life; she started riding when she was 3 years old, and her passion for horses grew from there. The pinnacle of her riding career was when she represented Jordan in show jumping in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
When asked which posed the bigger challenge, being a competitive rider or an administrator, Princess Haya answered without a moment’s hesitation.
“The administration by far,” she laughed.
Princess Haya said while equestrian sport has a very strong European base; one of her main goals is to spread the sport around the globe.
“Everybody in the federation, including the Europeans, wants to see the wonder of horses spread around the world. So, really, we are trying to do everything to bring developing regions like the one I come from and the Americas up to that level,” she said.
The main problem, she said, isn’t a lack of will or enthusiasm for the sport, “it’s really to solve issues like transport and quarantine, being able to move horses, being able to have regional qualifications in the regions themselves. So there’s a lot to bring together there.”
Travelling to the different member federations around the world is a very important part of her work, she said.
“Coming out here and meeting the people that you would normally just be in touch with on the phone and seeing what life is like and what challenges they face and then trying to thread it into the direction the federation is going is what it’s all about,” she said.
Fortunately, Princess Haya does not view all the travelling as too much of a chore.
“It beats being behind a desk in Lausanne right now, so I’m really happy,” she said. “It is my first time [in the Cayman Islands]. I’ve been so spoiled and so welcomed that it doesn’t feel like work at all.”
Mrs. McTaggart said the federation welcomed the visit by Princess Haya.
“It is a very honourable thing for her to come and visit us and see where we are in our strive to join the world of horse sport, so it is a great honour to have her,” she said.
Mrs. McTaggert’s daughter, Jessica, who will become the first equestrian from the Cayman Islands to compete in the Central American and Caribbean Games later this year, was also on hand to meet Princess Haya.
Jessica will represent Cayman in the dressage competition at the games.
Princess Haya, the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan and Queen Alia Al Hussein, is an honours graduate of Oxford University and for years has been involved in humanitarian and charitable causes. She was also named to the international athletes’ commission of the International Olympic Committee.