“There are other things that I could do, but there's really nothing that I love as much as horse racing.” – Chantal Sutherland, model and horse racing jockey
In 2009, a group of international archaeologists led by the Universities of Exeter and Bristol in the UK uncovered the earliest known evidence of horse domestication, and the origin of the horse breeds we know today. According to their research, horse domestication goes as far back as the Botai Culture of Kazakhstan, circa 5,500 years ago. That’s 1,000 years earlier than previously thought, and about 2,000 years earlier than domestic horses are known to have been in Europe. Findings suggest that horses weren’t just domesticated for riding, but also to provide food, including milk.
The influence of horses in Middle Eastern history is strong too, with the first records of domestication in the region dating back to around 3,500 BC, although the first horses were introduced to the region as early as around 2,300BC. A vital cultural symbol and important part of traditional Bedouin life, the beautiful Arabian horse was developed through selective breeding. With a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, it is one of the most easily recognisable horse breeds in the world.
Throughout history, the world’s love of horses has been translated into art and sculpture. One of the earliest known artful depictions of horse and rider in the region comes in the form of a terracotta mould found in Mesopotamia (Iraq) dating to around 2,000–1,800 BC. Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Mughal miniature paintings, ceramics and manuscripts also attest to the growing importance of horses in the Islamic world from the 7th century AD.
Speaking of works of art, Bekpinar – the Turkish-based racing equipment provider – is inspired by all of the above, pairing tradition with innovation when creating its premium horse racing products. Starting off as a machine and mould workshop in 1978, the company ventured in to the manufacture of efficient race horse equipment in 1997 and now provides some of the world’s best starting gates, fences, barriers and sand mixers.
Bekpinar’s horse racing gates come in options of three to 20 stalls and have been designed to be strong, but surprisingly light weight. Tested for safety, the gates come with padding and feature eight independent rotating tires for easy manoeuvrability. Supporting 12 volts of energy, the stalls can also be remote controlled.
Bekpinar also provides recall systems, referee stands, sponsor boards and other products needed in horse racing environments, including barriers and fences. The latter two products are crafted using PVC-u and feature UV protection, making them durable throughout the year – even in hot countries. Movable and easy to install, Bekpinar’s barriers and fences also have built-in shock absorption.
As most racing professionals know, before installing gates and fences, the land and/or sand on which the horses will race must be prepared and set properly. Bekpinar’s highly sophisticated 525cm wide x 825 cm long floor preparation or sand mixing machine, the Bekpinar Sand Mixer, is the answer. Moving on two wheels and controlled by a hydraulic system, the machine boasts front spirals and can be used on smooth surfaces, sand, silt, loam, sand soil and other specially designed floors crafted for horse racing as well as training tracks.
Meet Bekpinar at stand B-71 at the Dubai International Horse Fair.