Chinese show they are keen to get in saddle

Updated: 2011-10-29 08:09

By Shi Jing (China Daily)

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Chinese show they are keen to get in saddle
A youngster hops on a horse as his mother looks on at the China International Horse Fair on Friday in Shanghai. [Photo / China Daily]

SHANGHAI - Horses are becoming increasingly popular in China, as evidenced by the number of participants to the China International Horse Fair 2011 doubling from last year.

About 80 companies in the horse industry from 18 countries and regions are taking part in the fair, which started on Friday at the Shanghai East Asia Exhibition Hall.

The event, in its second year, is a combination of horse show, business opportunity and conference. It also hosts games.

More than 200 horses were being exhibited and more than 30,000 visitors were expected over its three days.

Three countries with highly developed horse industries Japan, France and the Netherlands have organized teams for the fair. Other countries, including Australia, Germany and Belgium, were introducing their bloodstock and harnesses.

The Shanghai Forest Horse-riding Club, established 20 years ago, was participating in the fair for the first time.

Gu Shiqi, general manager of Shanghai YUBO International Exhibition Ltd, one of the organizers of the fair, said races were added to the event to attract more visitors.

"We have special plans this year to express the idea that horse-related games are a high-level recreational lifestyle," he said.

Han Guocai, vice-chairman of the China Horse Industry Association, said horses were becoming more popular in general in China.

"The horse industry in China has entered its best time as the country has a growing number of rich people and horse prices worldwide have been declining dramatically," Han said.

Chinese buyers were becoming more interested in horses, said Tina Chen, an agent with the Netherlands-based Heemskerk BV, a leading company in the field.

"In Shanghai alone we have sold at least six Dutch warmbloods so far this year, all of which were priced at around 20,000 euros ($28,000) each. It does not happen elsewhere in the world."

Dutch warmbloods are used in show jumping and dressage events.

However, industry insiders also expressed concern over the industry in China.

"What horse raisers in China lack is the basic knowledge of the animal and the industry," said Wang Jiyu, general manager of the Beijing Daoxianghu Horse Industry Co Ltd, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years.