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Fine horseflesh plays an important part in R&R in Dubai, and horses have a special place in the history of the Arab Bedouin. Just think about the traditional tales of the Bedouin prince riding across the desert on his magnificent stallion to rescue his princess. There's certainly something exhilarating about riding a horse through the sand or along the beach. The riding centres here are large and well equipped, often with the ability to train to a very high standard. You can simply rent an animal for an afternoon ride or take lessons. Polo facilities are particularly well established here.
Club Joumana caters to everyone from beginners to experienced riders, with lessons, dressage, and jump arenas. The hotel is surrounded by verdant grounds for trekking. Or you can take your mount to the beach or surrounding desert. Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa, Dubai. 4/883–6000. www.jebelali-international.com.
Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club is a top-ranked equestrian center with a neighboring polo facility that has lessons for all levels, including specialist dressage and polo skills. There are extensive private stables, and the complex has been designed with Andalusian architecture in mind in homage to the renowned horse skills fostered on the Spanish mainland. Arabian Ranches, Emirates Rd., Dubailand, Dubai. 4/361–7111.
Emirates Equestrian Centre, established in the 1980s as a regional center of excellence, is set on 80 acres with 12 separate arenas and cross-country courses with jumps. Instruction here covers almost every horse-based discipline, including show jumping, dressage, and eventing. If you simply want to canter on the grounds, you can do so by the hour. Off Muscat Rd., Nad al-Sheba, Meydan, Dubai. 4/336–1394. www.emiratesequestriancentre.com.