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Olympic equestrian athlete brings dressage to Beijing

By Sun Xiaochen | | Updated: 2017-01-12 21:50

With support from an elite sports horse grooming center in Germany, China's first female Olympic rider Liu Lina has opened an academy dedicated to dressage training at the Equuleus International Riding Club in Beijing.

Liu, the country's first female equestrian athlete to qualify for the Olympics at the 2008 Beijing Games, announced on Thursday the opening of the Equestrian Performance Center with partners from Equuleus and Hof Kasselmann dressage horse centers in Germany.

Dressage is a highly-skilled Olympic discipline of equestrian sports, where horses perform a series of predetermined movements in smooth response to instructors from riders.

The center is open to anyone who is interested in dressage, with or without experience, and will offer students German-import training programs and horse-livery services. Students can practice on horses bred by the Equuleus club.

"Dressage is fundamental in equestrian sport, and all riding disciplines can benefit from the use of dressage principles and training techniques. So it's important to offer professional dressage training from the very beginning," said Liu, who started training at Hof Kasselmann in 2005 to prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

As a dressage specialist, Liu obtained a trainer's certificate issued by the German equestrian authority in 2015 and began envisioning a training center dedicated to dressage in her home country.

"The perception of Chinese equestrian fans to dressage as a sport is relatively weak compared to more high-profile events like jumping. I hope my academy could help grow the awareness of Chinese to this sport and train more advanced local riders," said Liu, a native of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Stephan Plum, sales manager at Hof Kasselmann, said the German center will offer full support to Liu's academy in Beijing.

"We have worked with Liu for a long time. She started as a student at Hof Kasselmann and now she is a family member," said Plum, who attended the academy's opening ceremony at Equuleus on Thursday.

"In the future, we will have good cooperation with Liu. She is not only a good rider but a good dressage trainer. She can bring dressage with her experience to a new level in China. What we can do is to send her some horses and our expertise so we can start to bring it up here."

According to Beijing Turf & Equestrian Association, a five-leg dressage tour competition was launched in 2016, attracting more than 200 riders and their horses to compete and enjoy the elegant sport.

"With the support from Equuleus and the advanced program from Germany, we believe that Liu's dream of grooming local dressage riders will come true," said Chen Che, secretary general of the association.

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