The 14th China Horse Fair
China International Professional Horse Sports & Leisure Industries Exhibition
18-20 September, 2020
Equuleus International Riding Club,Beijing,China
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Equestrian sector rides on growing interest
Beijing resident Zhang Chao grew up riding horses on the grass- lands north of the capital and remembers  enjoying  every moment of her rustic childhood. 

But as a successful businesswoman, Zhang, 35, now wants to provide her 7--year--old daughter with more well- heeled equestrian experiences. ¡°I still love horses and I hope she does too. Maybe she can try more high--end sports and activities like dressage or show jumping,¡± Zhang said. 

She was speaking during an international show jumping com- petition at the capital¡¯s Equuleus International Riding Club on the weekend (Sept 20-22), when more than 400 teams competed, with participants from China, the Netherlands and Belgium earning some of the top honors. Talented riders aged under 25 also received accolades at the meet. 

Zhang was one of many horse enthusiasts crowding the exclusive club during its Beijing International Equestrian Culture Week, which also included a major industry fair, cultural forum and charity events that altogether reflected the growing Chinese equestrian interest rid-ing on the back of rising affluence and increasingly sophisticated recreational demands of urbanites. 

There are about 3,200 equestrian clubs across the country, a more than threefold increase from just a few years ago, according to latest industry figures. Michelle Wang, founder and CEO of Equuleus Corp behind the event, said the sector is
looking at a ¡°golden age¡± of growth that goes beyond sports to encompass the business, cultural, education and other fields. 

¡°This mix of equestrian competition and events ... helps to bring the public closer to a historically and culturally rich sport, to experience its beauty and attraction,¡± Wang said. Chinese Equestrian Association Party branch secretary Cheng Qing said that the national equestrian team¡¯s latest qualification for next year¡¯s Summer Olympics in Tokyo shows not just the resolve of the athletes but also the ¡°exciting times ahead for Chinese equestrianism¡±.

The China Horse Fair, a major industry event organized by the Tarsus Hope Exhibition Co for the past 13 years, also took place at the Equuleus club from Sept 19 to 21, drawing more than 120 leading brands from 13 countries this year.  This year¡¯s fair included nearly 30 first-time exhibitors from home and abroad, covering equestrian fields ranging from horses and rid-ing equipment to pharmaceuticals and stabling facilities. 

The recognition by domestic and foreign exhibitors for this year¡¯s international event complements the increasing buyer interest and development in the industry, according to the fair¡¯s spokeswoman Ouyang Fangye. 

Jeremy Michaels, international director for The British Horse Society equestrian charity¡¯s China operations, said one of the high points in his work training and educating those in the fast developing Chinese equestrian sector in the past years to bring them in line with international standards and practices has been his students¡¯ ¡°enthusiasm and hunger for knowledge¡±. 

There may still be cultural and other differences in Chinese and Western approaches to equestrian care and competition at international levels but ¡°what I¡¯m excited about is how things are improving and developing, and people¡¯s enthusiasm¡±, he said. 

Wutzala, head of the China Horse Culture, Sports and Tourism Institute, said renewed interest among Chinese horse-riding enthusiasts will certainly expand into the cultural and tourism sectors, with new inroads being planned in major scenic and culturally rich areas such as those in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. 

At a cultural forum during the weekend event, Zeng Zirong, executive director of the Citic Art Muse-um, said the prominent place of horses in the long history of Chinese painting alone promises to fascinate the growing number of Chinese and foreign equestrian enthusiasts alike. 

Zeng pointed to masterpieces such as celebrated Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420) painter Gu Kaizhi¡¯s Nymph of the Luo River, in which the behavior of the prized animal rolling about at rest is depicted in remarkable detail. 

¡°Chinese art offers a crucial lens into the valuable aspects of life for people in ancient times,¡± Zeng said. Horses form an important perspective in that regard and will continue to do so in these times, he said.

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