Elizabeth II thanked Azerbaijan for Karabakh horses
International Christmas equestrian show Olympia was first held in London in 1972, and there were big problems with the audience - just 300 tickets were sold. It's been said that organizers went outside and invited passers-by to the pavilions. Today, Olympia attracts tens of thousands of visitors who want to see a show featuring best horses and riders.
This year Olympia's pavilions are especially crowded - Karabakh horses perform there. Riders of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan and dance ensemble take part in the "Land of Fires - Azerbaijan and the Karabakh Horses" program. The Azerbaijan Equestrian Federation says that main goal of this performance is to show cultural heritage of their country to international audience.
London understood greatness of the Karabakh horses as far as in 1956, when the Queen received stallion named Zaman as a gift. More than half a century later, in 2012, when the Azerbaijan Equestrian Federation participated in the Windsor horse show for the first time, riders were invited to the royal palace. Karabakh horses galloped in London in 2016, and in May of this year they participated in events dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Royal Windsor Horse Show and birthday of Elizabeth II.
At that time, representatives of the Azerbaijan Equestrian Federation presented a bronze statue of the Karabakh racehorse named Alkhan to Queen Elizabeth II. This morning, sculpture was installed in London. The ceremony was attended by president of the Azerbaijan Equestrian Federation, head of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan, colonel-general Elchin Guliyev, head of the Royal Palace Office, Lord Vestey, head of the Queen's Equestrian Center, Toby Browne, director of the Windsor Equestrian Show, Simon Brooks Ward.
Lord Vestey thanked Azerbaijan for supporting organization of Olympia in 2012, 2016 and 2018, and stressed that Queen Elizabeth II was so pleased with sculpture of the Karabakh horse, she personally chose where to install it.
In turn, Elchin Guliyev noted that thanks to efforts of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, fame of the Karabakh horses in the world contrinues to grow, and growing cooperation between Azerbaijan and Great Britain helps development of the equestrian sport.