HH Prince Faisal was born in Riyadh in July 1987 and grew up with horses. Riding was a way of life for his family, and his father was particularly ambitious to see his son succeed in the saddle. Although a natural horseman, HH Prince Faisal found this pressure difficult at such an early age and derived little enjoyment from riding. Then, at the age of seven, on a little white pony from England called Snowdrop, he won a competition and it all began to make sense.
Having tasted success, there was no looking back. He progressed from ponies to horses and by the time he was 12 had qualified for, and won, the Under-14 class at the Abu Dhabi World Championships.
While in elementary school he met Ramzy Al Duhami and Khaled Al Eid during a clinic in the summer break. Ramzy took the budding star under his wing, training him and developing his talent.
There followed a string of successes: in 2004 he reached the final of the King Abdulaziz Cup in the Saudi championships; in 2005 won two individual gold medals in the Islamic Games; in 2006 he won the CSIW both in Alexandria and at home in Yanbu and came second in the total points for the World Cup Arab League. That year also he won and was placed in the CSI in Munich and Lucerne.
He competed on the Belgian Warmblood Uthago at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, where he was the youngest rider in the competition and voted the Best Performing Rider from Group VII. After further successes in 2007 and 2008, he qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. More recently he has had his share of team and individual success, including the Prix Royal Horse at Strazeele in 2011.
In 2005 he had acquired the brilliant bay stallion, Non Plus Ultra III, which he considers to be the best horse he has ever owned. Having ridden every kind of horse imaginable, he concedes that it is only with age and experience that he has come to understand the type of horse that really suits him, and with whom the chemistry is right – a rapport which is an essential component of a successful pairing.
While his passion for the sport is undiminished, HH Prince Faisal is deeply conscious of the duties and responsibilities due to his family and his position, and for the need to pursue his academic studies and business interests. He graduated in May 2011 with a BSBA in Mathematical Economics from the University of Miami.
His family own a farm and stables in Normandy, France, where HH Prince Faisal trains – an ideal location, given it is to be the venue for the 2014 Alltech World Equestrian Games.
Aside from his studies and riding, HH Prince Faisal also acts as stable manager for Alpha Inc in France, which has 30 employees and 120 horses, and is the founder of a company dealing in photonuclear ray security equipment.
Although a young man, HH Prince Faisal handles all these pressures and obligations with seriousness and maturity (though he nonetheless has a predilection for high risk sports like motorbike rallying and parachuting!) He speaks several languages, is highly organized and focused, and is committed to his duties and his sport. But beneath it all he knows that enjoying what you do is essential. Being part of the close-knit Saudi Equestrian team means much to him; he knows the importance of the sport for his country, he understands his teammates, “what they like and what they lack” and appreciates the family they have become.
2011 Pan Arab Games, Doha • Gold Medal in the Team Competition • Bronze Medal in the Individual competition on Aphrodite van het Texelhof
2008 Beijing Olympic Games • 13th as a team • 58th as an individual on Wido
2007 Pan Arab Games, Cairo • Gold Medal in the Team competition • Sixth as an individual on Torax
2006 World Equestrian Games, Aachen • 70th as an individual on Uthago (HH Prince Faisal became the youngest ever rider to compete at the Games)
2006 Second place in World Cup Arab League Standings • Helped the Saudi Equestrian team qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
2005 Islamic Games, Mecca • x2 Individual Gold Medals
2005 National Champion of Saudi Arabia
2002 World Championships for Children • Bronze Medal in the Individual competition