Tuesday, July 08, 2008
It’s a long way from Forbes to Dubai but the equine industry can take you places, just ask local man Shaun Moss.
Moss has long been renowned in the local region as a quality horseman and master farrier.
But the past six months has seen him ply his trade further a field, working for the ruling family of the Middle Eastern Emirate of Dubai.
Last year’s Equine Influenza outbreak decimated the horse racing industry and had severe consequences for Moss’ business as a master farrier.
“It was a disaster really. It flattened my business,” he said.
“A friend who was there about three years ago put me on to it.”
The ‘it’ is working with the endurance horses of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the brother of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister and Vice-President of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai.
His Highness Shiekh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has been in the news recently after taking control of Australian racing legend Bob Ingham’s vast Woodlands Stud for $460 million.
Moss has been working with the family’s stable of endurance horses which race in events across the desert in distances ranging between 120kms and 160kms.
Any one race can see up to 50 competitors and Moss is charged with the care of approximately 150 horses at a complex located around half an hour’s drive from Dubai City.
He was home on vacation when the Advocate spoke to him last week.
“It’s a big culture shock,” he said.
“There’s a lot of new people in a strange place.”
“I am enjoying it, having a great time but it’s hard being away from the family,” he said.
Dubai is a city on the move with massive developments now dotting the skyline.
“There’s work going on 24 hours a day, just construction, construction and building sites.”
“They’re very serious, very quiet but once you get to know them they’re good people,” Moss said when asked of the locals.
Dubai has a largely foreign work force and Moss said this is also the case with the horse industry.
Moss said he had been given an introduction to the country by a vet from Uruguay, Mario Castro.
“We’ve been working together for the last six months now and he’s one of the best vets I’ve ever seen,” Moss said.
“He’s sort of taken me under his wing a little bit.”
Castro was also one of those responsible for bringing the 2007 Dubai World Cup (this race carries a purse of $6 million) champion Invasor to the country and Moss has two apprentices both of whom are Indian.
“I am rubbing shoulders with some of the best tradesmen,” he said.
He said the shoeing methods used in the country are different but the change has not taken long to adjust.
Moss got his start in the industry here in Forbes with a four year apprenticeship to Don Mulqueeney, while at the same time travelling to Hawkesbury Agricultural College and studying veterinary science.
Now with approximately 15 years industry experience, Moss said the trip has been an excellent chance to further his skills.
“This is a great opportunity to further my career. It’s a bit further up the ladder and I’ve already had offers to go to South America,” he said.
Moss flies out for Dubai again tomorrow.