Team Harmony was the name chosen by His Majesty the late King Hussein of Jordan for the international string of horses that would tour and compete with HRH Princess Haya in pursuit of her Olympic dream.
HRH Princess Haya first became aware of this dream when her father gave her a filly for her 6th birthday, which she named Bint Al Reeh (Daughter of the Wind). That same year, after watching the 1980 Moscow Olympics, HRH Princess Haya knew that she would one day represent her country and compete in the Olympics. From that moment on, the late King Hussein nicknamed HRH Princess Haya his ‘Olympic Daughter’.
HRH Princess Haya competed regionally through the 1980’s and early 1990’s. She set up the National Jordanian Equestrian Federation, and registered it as a member of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). She became the first female member of the Equestrian Team in Jordan, and the first
Arab woman to win an individual Pan Arab medal in Equestrianism in Damascus, Syria.
In 1994, while studying at Oxford University in England, HRH Princess Haya and the late King Hussein set out a plan for her to train abroad as an international athlete. His hope was that she would become the first Arab woman to compete in equestrian sport at Olympic and world championship levels after which she would return to Jordan to set up and structure the field of sport and youth across the country and eventually, the region.
Team Harmony, established in 1994, was set up with this ambition in mind. It was very much a family project. The colors originally chosen were burgundy and royal blue on a gray background however, the late King Hussein suggested his daughter draw her own logo that combined a crown with a jumping horse. That same year, it was also decided that the string of horses would not only be used to compete internationally, but also be brought on the criterion that after their careers ended, they would be incorporated in to a breeding program to produce Harmony Sport Horses.
In 1995, HRH Princess Haya set up a training base with Alain Storme and the late Paul Darragh in
Ireland upon the suggestion of the late Basil Al Assad. HRH Princess Haya made her international debut in Monte Carlo CSI-A. After Team Harmony’s first season in 1996, which finished in Olympia London CSI-W, the late King Hussein was leading owner on the European circuit, with his Harmony horses winning: 36 International classes, 2 national Grand Prix (Cavan, Dùn Laoghaire IRE) and 7 International Grand Prix’s (CSI-A) and one Volvo World Cup Qualifier (Seville, Spain).
In 1997, HRH Princess Haya moved to Germany to train with the famous Paul Schockemöhle, who produced riders like the world number one four-time Olympic medalist, Ludger Beerbaum. Tragically, in February 1999, HRH Princess Haya’s father passed away after an eight month battle with cancer. That same year, HRH Princess Haya moved to Holland for six months with Dutch team Trainer Hans Horn. He and his family helped set up her final move to train with Katie Monahan Prudent and Alice Debany Clero in Paris to prepare her for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
HRH Princess Haya signed a commercial sponsorship contract with Loro Piana and competed under their colors with the Loro Piana team 1999-2001. The team then consisted of Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Lars Nieberg (GER), and Roberto Arioldi (ITA). When her contract ceased, HRH Princess Haya decided not to return to the old colors she had chosen with her father, but chose instead black and gold as the team livery, in his memory. HRH Princess Haya continued to train with Alice Debany Clero until the end of 2001, but trained for the World Equestrian Games in Jerez 2002, with her first trainer, Paul Darragh.
After competing in Jerez in 2002, HRH Princess Haya decided to move back to Jordan as the late King Hussein had wished, to set up and structure sports nationally.
To concentrate on her young family and a wide range of other commitments and duties HRH Princess Haya had to interrupt her competitive career. She recruited Abdel Kader Said (EGY) a young rider she believed to be the most talented in the region at the time, to carry the team colors. Abdel Said, now based in Belgium, continues to fly Team Harmony’s colors with great success.. At the World Equestrian Games in 2006, Princess Haya was impressed by the riding of Ibrahim Bisharat from Jordan. She offered him the support of Team Harmony to help develop his career, as the ethos of Team Harmony is to support talented young riders from the Middle East and to provide a platform for them to compete at international level.
A further step was made in 2008 when World Champion Jos Lansink joined the Team (2008-2014).
Abdel Said and Ibrahim Bisharat went to train and stay at the World Champion’s stables. In that same year François Mathy Jr. also joined the Team. Jos Lansink, François Mathy, Abdel Said and Ibrahim Bisharat made sure that Team Harmony was fully visable, with winnings and high rankings at numerous Grand Prix events around the world. Jos Lansink won the Grand Prix in La Baule, Paris, Beijing, Mechelen, Amman and Abu Dhabi and was frequently placed in the top three of various Grand Prix like in Calgary, Aachen, Bordeaux, Falsterbo, Rotterdam, Paris, Valencia, Monte Carlo, Estoril, Mechelen and 2nd in the Final of the GCT circuit in Doha. At the end of 2011, Ibrahim Bisharat and Abdel Said showed that the training and coaching of Jos Lansink had paid off, and in Qatar Ibrahim sensationally won the Olympic Qualification to London for the Arab League. The wider aims of Team Harmony became visible. Ibrahim and Abdel developed further and they won several competitions at the top events in the Arab League as well as in the European League.
Between 2012-2014 Francois Mathy jr. has been most visible at the very top international level with a series of impressive results. In 2012, Raad Nasser from Jordan joined Team Harmony.
More recently in 2014 John Whitaker one of the most admired and respected riders in the world, joined Team Harmony. Alongside John, British Olympic dressage rider Richard Davison and his son Joe Davison were also recruited.
Currently as part of their string John, Francois, Richard and Joe all compete with horses owned by Team Harmony. John had great success in 2015 riding Team Harmony’s mare Ornellaia.