Worldsport

Qatar's luxury horse hotel

Published 7:46 AM ET, Fri March 1, 2013
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Welcome to Qatar's six-star luxury hotel -- for horses. Umm Qarn, north of Doha, is hardly your average stud farm, boasting a swimming pool, solarium and treadmill. CNN
Head trainer Alban de Mieulle oversees a workout session at the farm. The 580-acre estate is home to around 60 champion horses -- either in training or used for breeding. CNN
The stud farm is owned by Qatar's former prime minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani. There is big money to be made in horse breeding, with recently retired British champion Frankel expected to fetch £100,000 ($152,000) for each offspring. CNN
De Mieulle's main helper at the farm is, rather unusually, a four-year-old dog called Dago. The Labrador fetches the horses by their reins and swims behind them in the pool. CNN
Each stable is kept immaculate, with gold-plated doors and sound-resistant floors imported from Germany. CNN
"When the weather is hot, we usually start training at 3 a.m. We try to finish before the sun comes up, by around 7.30 a.m.," De Mieulle says. CNN
"The pool is a good way for horses to relax after a good workout in the morning. It's just a complement to their training because if you noticed, they swim a bit like dogs, with their back legs, so it's not so good for race horses," De Mieulle adds. CNN
"They learn to use the treadmill very quickly. It can happen that a horse gets crazy -- just like humans. But they're usually very relaxed," De Mieulle says. CNN