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[Horse & Hound] A riding population of 150,000 may not sound impressive, but starting from zero less than a decade ago, Chinese equestrianism is clearly going places.
The world’s fastest growing economy has a new cash-rich middle class who, buoyed by interest from the 2008 Olympic Games, has quickly embraced “status” pursuits such as horse sport and golf. equihunter horseboxes
Until recently, only a few hundred horses, mostly racers, were imported.
But in 2012, 2,000 thoroughbreds and sport horses — mostly from France, Germany, Ireland and Holland — entered China.
About 600 riding clubs cater for 50,000 serious riders and a further 100,000 ride weekly.
Li Yanyang, publisher of China’s main equestrian magazine, Horsemanship, believes growth is 15-20% a year and that £60million was spent on new facilities between 2010 and 2012
Western breeds are popular, Warmbloods, Arabs and Quarter horses are favoured.
“But local breeds and local crosses are cherished,” added Li Yanyang. “These horses are good doers and sturdy, their main appeal.”
China’s proud history was based on the back of warrior horses. Millions of indigenous ponies still work in rural areas, notably inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.
But because China has no culture of leisure riding and suffers from harsh winters, westernised activity is based round club-style resorts with multiple indoor schools.
They are mostly around Beijing and the affluent Yangtse and Pearl River deltas, the so-called “factory of the world”…..
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Horse & Hound
5th Feb, 2013
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