Developing horse sports and the equestrian industry in China

Tonglu Equestrian Centre, venue for the equestrian sports during 2023 Hangzhou 19th Asian Games in China | An Eventful Life
Tonglu Equestrian Centre, venue for the equestrian sports during 2023 Hangzhou 19th Asian Games in China 


“This has been a really productive visit for the IHSC, addressing a number of key topics at the heart of the future development of horse sports in China,” said FEI President and International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) Vice-President Ingmar De Vos after a recent visit to China with IHSC President Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges

With the imminent start of the Hangzhou Asian Games in China, it was a timely visit enabling them to see first hand the preparations for equestrian sports at 19th Asian Games (26th September – 6th October) and discuss how to support talent development, along with raising public awareness and increasing participation in equine sports. 

Visit to Tonglu Equestrian Centre, Hangzhou

While in Hangzhou, the delegation also visited the Tonglu Equestrian Centre, a state-of-the-art competition facility which has been declared an equine disease-free zone by the WOAH, and the venues and facilities for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games.

Then they went to Guangzhou to tour The Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Conghua Racecourse – the largest and most comprehensive equine sports facility in Mainland China and an important element of cooperation between Guangdong-Hong Kong and for the development of the Greater Bay Area. These visits helped the delegation to explore ways to leverage international-standard venues and facilities to promote equestrian education.

While in Guangzhou, IHSC representatives had a constructive discussion with Mr Dong Ke, Secretary of the CPC Conghua District Committee on an International Racing Development Centre which would enable the Chinese high-performing horses meeting criteria to compete at international standard and ultimately take part in international group races, facilitate the import and export of competition horses as well as allow pathways for retired racehorses.

The programme concluded with a meeting with Guangdong senior officials.  This meeting explored the various ways which the IHSC can contribute its international network and expertise to the ongoing development of equine sports in Guangdong, the most populous province in China.

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Global expertise to help develop China’s equestrian industry

During the five-day visit, the delegation travelled to Beijing, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, where they met with representatives from various government ministries and equine sports-related organisations as well as toured local horse sports facilities.

On 22 August, the delegation met with the Director of the General Administration of Sport, Mr Gao Zhidan, in Beijing to examine potential areas towards which the IHSC could contribute with regards to further enhancing international equestrian/speed racing events hosted in China as well as developing a high-quality national training curriculum for the training of equestrian and speed racing sports officials.

On 23 August, IHSC delegates met with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Mr Tang Renjian, to discuss ways in which the IHSC could contribute its global expertise to support the development of a modernised, professional and sustainable veterinary clinical service industry in China. The meeting also addressed the importance of the international movement of horses and laid out ways in which the IHSC’s expert network could support the development of standards to facilitate horse movements to and from China.

Additionally, the delegation met with the Chinese Equestrian Association (CEA) to explore ways to support the CEA’s ongoing efforts to enhance rules and regulations for equestrian and speed racing events as well as provide vocational training in both horse sports.

The delegation also met with the China Horse Industry Association (CHIA) to examine how IHSC technical expertise could best be leveraged to further enhance CHIA’s High-Health Performance standards; advance China’s breeding, horse registration and stud book processes; continue to develop quality veterinary clinical services; and enhance standards for the National Equine Welfare Policy.

“Our focus is very much centred around the welfare and wellbeing of horses, and how we can lay the foundations which will allow horse sport to grow sustainably” said FEI President and IHSC Vice-President Ingmar De Vos.

“From the movement of horses within China and abroad to access to trained equine veterinarians and veterinary medicines locally, it is vital that we continue to work together to ensure the education of local resources and expertise.

“I was highly impressed with the depth of knowledge of the Chinese authorities on all these topics, and their commitment to horse sport and the infrastructures required to sustain it. The ball is now in our court, and I want to thank Winfried for his excellent leadership during the visit but also in the follow up for IHSC and the concrete implementation of what has been discussed.”