The Vibe… Ayesha Al Fugaee

Olivia Michel
Olivia Michel

During her time at university, Ayesha
 Al Fugaee founded the Educational Equestrian and Poetry Club, which is sponsored by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance

‘My mother believed animals strengthened one’s personality. When I was seven, she began taking me to riding classes – she believed it would teach me to become a leader. As women, we need to learn how to become leaders. Interacting with horses develops our personality and teaches us a lot.’

‘I love two disciplines: dressage and endurance. The reason I love them is that they require you to be patient during the entire process. It really tests your skills on a horse and how you can make fast decisions in an effective and wise way.’

‘His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has shown great support towards the club and its activities, and we also do our workshops at His Highness Sheikh Hamdan’s endurance stables, Seeh Al Salam. He believes there’s more to horses than equitation.’

ayesha al fugue
Al Fugaee speaks to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai

 ‘Horses were always part of us; we used to write poems about them and they were in our houses. The Arab horse reflects our personality as Arabs, with its patience, pride, grace and ability to tolerate harsh conditions. It is also extremely clever – that’s another thing I love about this breed.’

‘In the club’s first year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed gave us tickets for the Dubai World Cup. Flat races are an international platform for horse lovers, so it’s nice to show them how the Emirati women perform this sport.’

‘In the workshops – supported by the stables’ trainer, Salem Al Suboosi – we try to explain that horse riding is not just about the riding. It’s about understanding the approaching the creature with understanding. It’s about being a leader but not by enforcing rules or laws on the creature but communicating, interacting, cooperating with it.’

‘Beginners not familiar with horses seem afraid at first but eventually overcome their fears and refuse to have a handler holding the reins. They have bonded with their mount and developed a feeling of confidence.’