Fatima Al Harthi is a force to be reckoned with.

As one of the top endurance riders in the UAE, she knows all too well the grit, determination and sacrifices it takes to get to the top of your game.

What exactly does this entail? “As an equestrian, I have to focus on my training regime and I train four to five times a week, sometimes twice in a day, including riding for a minimum of 30 kilometres,” she explains.

It’s this tenacity to be the best and stay at the top of her game that has garnered her a spot as one of Canon Middle East’s 2022 Trailblazers.

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day and its all-encompassing theme of breaking the bias, Emirates Woman sat down with Fatima to discuss breaking barriers, inspiring others, Emirati pride and so much more.

Growing up in this region, there has been so much change over such a short period of time. What has it been like growing up during this time?

Without a doubt, it was amazing living through all the wonderful transformations that the UAE has seen and is still witnessing. The UAE is only 50 years old and as a young Emirati Woman, I also need to learn, grow and process with this nation.


What do you love about being from the UAE?

I’m proud to be an Emirati woman because my country is always supporting me. They are always giving me the tools and confidence to invest in myself and also be proud that I belong to this beautiful country.

We recently celebrated 50 years of the UAE, what do you envision for the next 50 years of the UAE?

I am a strong believer in the UAE’s vision for the future. I am witness to how the country has developed over the past 50 years to become one of the best countries to live in. On top of that, our rulers support individuals who have creative minds and a vision for the future. The UAE has shown us that nothing is impossible and I am certain that the next 50 years will be as iconic as our last.

You’re a top endurance rider in the UAE. What inspired you to pursue this?

This has been both a passion and dream of mine since childhood and I was determined to work hard and improve my riding experience, to be the best I can be. More importantly, endurance horse riding is also a passion of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid and holds his attention. His highness keeps attending the races and supports all riders, and that is a big motivator and reflects my dedication and persistence to pursue this.

I participate in many competitions and always try my best to try to win the top spots – the number of my participations has reached more than 100 so far and these competitions have taught me a lot of valuable lessons. For example, horse riding teaches one a lot about body language and by understanding the body language of my horses, I became more confident and skilled at dealing with incredibly strong horses and controlling them gently.

I am no longer afraid of any strong horse and that is a personal victory for me – I am proud of this achievement and now, I can say to myself confidently that I am ready and have no reason not to win first place. I am ready to participate in more challenging competitions, both locally and internationally.

How do you hope to inspire future generations with what you do?

By telling them to always follow their dreams and always believe in themselves. For example, start off by setting goals and work towards achieving them step by step. Once they take the first step, I believe they can achieve whatever they want to be and more. The hardest part is always the first step.


What has it been like working with Canon?

To be named as a Canon Trailblazer for 2022 was truly amazing and an outstanding experience for me. The campaign is all about challenging stereotypes, breaking boundaries and sharing your personal story to inspire others and I hope that my words will indeed inspire others to follow their dreams. Working with Canon and Gregor Amon, the Director and his entire crew, was a real joy.

Who are your biggest inspirations in life and why?

My major inspiration is Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (May God Have Mercy Upon Him). He was determined and persistent in challenging the nation and turned the UAE into his dream of a paradise. His legacy has taught me that having a strong belief in myself will help me achieve anything.

I’m also enormously inspired by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid who followed in our father, Sheikh Zayed’s footsteps. He’s the person who motivates everyone and makes everything seem possible. He always highlights the positive side of things, that guide me in my journey to see my dreams come true.

And lastly, my uncle who introduced me to horses as sport and made me meditate on it until it became my childhood dream. He was a Dressage rider and I always enjoyed watching him training his horse to perform beautiful movements and how he built a strong relationship with his horse, through the use of body language.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievements to date include reaching the summit of Toubkal Mountain, the second biggest mountain in Africa. I’ve crossed the Arctic Circle, and was able to see the Aurora in front of my eyes, as well as reaching the North Cape, which is the Northernmost point of Europe, in one discovery adventure trip. I’ve won top places in Endurance Riding Races. I’m working for my next biggest dream to touch the peak of the highest mountain on the planet.

What’s the most useful piece of advice you’ve received?

I’ve received great advice from my loved ones, that keeps me motivated. The most powerful advice is: To never forget to stop and appreciate how far I’ve come. Plus, to believe in myself and never be afraid to fail, because everyone fails but the key is to get up and move forward. Lastly, never ever stop learning and growing.

How do you ensure you support women in your life?

By telling them my story and positively influencing them to work hard for themselves and never give up – especially in the fields were men dominate, such as sports

What important message do you want to stand out to young women today?

Dream it. Plan it. Achieve it.

– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram

Images: Supplied