Grace, glamour, and glory: that’s what comes to mind when we think of the world of Arabian horse championships.
Mohammad Sheikh Suliman’s Arabian horse stud, Al Sheikh, has only been in operation since 2016 – and it’s already setting the industry standards, having quickly established itself as a leader in its field. With twenty stallions and mares and two sites – in Israel and in Belgium – the stud has seen immense success in a remarkably short period of time. Having won a silver in its first year, the stud has now amassed almost thirty medals – most of them golds and silvers.
Arabian horses are an exclusive breed of horse, first developed in Arabia around the 7th century CE and now used mostly as show animals – bred for the preservation and perfection of certain identifying characteristics that make them different to the common horse. Arabians are slightly smaller, lighter, with a somewhat different body and head shape (a shorter spine, for instance).
Having graduated in Business Administration and Management from Tel Aviv University in 2015, Mohammad went on to found a number of highly successful start-ups. This enabled him to eventually become an angel investor – a role in which he has contributed to the growth of almost 50 companies in a range of industries, from tech to real estate. Since 2016, he has been dedicating most of his time to the running of Al Sheikh. His background in business is certainly part of the reason behind Al Sheikh’s success.
As you might expect, successfully running an Arabian horse stud is far more complicated than taking care of a usual stable. But somehow, Mohammad Sheikh Suliman makes it look almost easy. As an expert entrepreneur, Mohammad is well equipped to take care of the business side of the stud – as you might imagine, Arabian horses don’t come cheap, and they might be considered something of an investment – particularly when they’re acquired for breeding purposes. Al Sheikh focuses on breeding mixed bloodlines – which involves a string of strategic decisions.
In addition to his business expertise, Mohammad is also a qualified – and passionate – horse trainer. This, again, is incredibly important to the success of an Arabian horse stud. Not everyone is aware that it’s not only the appearance – achieved through careful breeding – of an Arabian horse that’s judged during shows and championships. Points are also given according to other highly specific criteria, such as behavioural characteristics: the horses need to be elegant, intelligent, agile, confident, and able to move and act in a certain way. Most of this is down to the training, although the bloodline’s also important.
The four show-horses that Mohammad’s stud has been entering for championships over the past four years are the best proof of how successful the entrepreneur has been with this original venture. For instance, the oldest of the show horses – a ten-year-old bay stallion named Equator – has won a silver or a gold medal in every championship into which he’d been entered, and achieved the highest score in the Paris World Championship in 2018.