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Sula Powell: Braving the elements
March 06, 2015
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For the first time, it pains me to say, I am somewhat disappointed in the Dubai weather. At least now I can say I have experienced my first ever Dubai thunder/rainstorm.

Although, I prefer to use the word tropical storm to make it appear slightly less aggressive and more exotic, no one back in Scotland believed me when I told them that, yes, it does rain in Dubai. However, I am sure they were all secretly jovial and content to hear me endure some bad weather for once, as they were endeavouring to try and combat the snow, sub zero temperatures and the hazardous, black ice.

Possibly, I am once again exaggerating, but the battering of the wind and the intense dazzle of the lightening was stuff of nightmares. I myself, woke in a panic wondering if I had been magically transported back to Scotland during the night, there was no way this weather was applicable to Dubai.

Rain is an overly common occurrence in Scotland, but I thought I had escaped all that depressive, detestable and odious weather six months ago! Yet, for my university peers this weather was something of a miracle, a pleasant and mesmerising experience.

Many of them were outside partaking in what I would describe as a rain dance, like a celebratory tradition for the rain that occurs, say, once a year. This, for me was actually quite refreshing, to see how others react to something they are deprived of in comparison to myself who is sickened with the mere sound of rain, forget about actually being outside and coming into contact with it.     Friends at university eager to see my reaction asked me in such an elevated and enthusiastic tone “Wow, I bet you love this weather, doesn’t it make you feel at home or at ease?” They were surprised by my reaction; a grumpy, bearish growl followed by no celebratory rain dances!

From my perspective the only positive outcome from the bizarre rainy, stormy weather was the signal that winter was finally concluding and summer was going to gradually begin. Thus, also meaning that the equestrian show jumping season was also set to commence.

As a previous keen horse rider, Pony Club and British Eventing member, I was yearning thirstily, to be around horses and that competitive spirit again.

The first competition I went to watch was held at the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club — a rather nice equestrian club, standards on par with a palace in comparison to equestrian clubs back home!

Just being around the smell of horses — if you are an equine enthusiast you will know what I mean — left me feeling giddy as I was overwhelmed by a rapid, surge of happiness. The level of riding and the horses themselves were simply exquisite, I am admittedly in awe of the Qatari team — I admire their professionalism and the passion they seem to exert whilst riding. I sat mesmerised for hours in my own tranquil bubble, content and completely glowing to be revisiting the things I once knew and was so fond of.

The next equestrian event was held at Bab Al Shams — another new location I can add to my list. The drive to Bab Al Shams was beautiful, the surrounding area did not seem as developed in comparison to Dubai, refreshingly, it was left quite untouched — I loved seeing all the wild camels roaming free.

One thing I have noticed surrounding equestrian as a sport in the UAE, is that, despite no spectator entry fees (the student bank balance cries with joy), the level of spectators is rather low than that of any equine event I have ever attended back in the UK.

However, I can say that from these two equestrian shows I have attended here they go beyond exceeding my expectations. Every specific need or requirement is attended to, from fresh juices and ice cream, to lavish buffets and pony rides for the children, talking parrots and pocket-sized Falabella ponies to kill you with their cuteness.

Back home many horse shows consist of trudging through mud and dirt whilst on the brink of developing hypothermia, but not here in the UAE, I think I may have actually caught a tan-Result!
____________________________________________________

Sula Powell is a Scottish/Jamaican business student at
Heriot Watt University in Dubai. Sula is a keen horse rider
and a part time model holding a number of prestigious titles
including Europe’s Perfect Junior Teen. For the remainder
of her journey in the UAE, Sula will be sharing her experiences
on the ups and downs of student life.

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