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New equestrian course is ride on time

By Sun Xiaochen | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-10-24 16:21

China's equestrian clubs hope the introduction of a world-renowned British blueprint for success will help the sport reach new heights in China.

In conjunction with its Chinese partner, Equuleus riding club in Beijing, the British Horse Society recently signed agreements with five higher-education institutions to introduce a series of textbooks translated from the BHS system to their students.

The signing ceremony took place at Equuleus on Sunday and was attended by Jia Youling, chairman of the China Horse Industry Association, BHS chairman David Sheerin, Chinese Olympian Alex Hua Tian and the host's general manager Wang Qiang, as well as representatives of the educational institutions.

Adopted by elite riding centers in 22 countries around the world, the BHS system deals with a wide range of subjects, including staff training, horse welfare, stable management and club operation.

Translated by professionals from Equuleus and the CHIA, the three-book curriculum is the first systematic equestrian education guideline imported from overseas to be used at Chinese colleges.

Wuhan Business University in central China's Hubei province, Inner Mongolia Agricultural University's equestrian college and Beijing Chang Ping Vocational School are among the first group of five institutions to use the textbooks.

"The BHS system has just come in time as it will help address the growing demand for training expertise, veterinarian and industry standards in the fast developing equine business in China," said CHIA chairman Jia.

With new riding clubs emerging overnight and attracting an increasing number of beginners, a tried-and-tested guidance system and highly trained staff are desperately needed, Jia added.

According to data from the annual China Horse Fair, the number of domestic equestrian clubs increased to 907 by the end of 2016, with about 100 new facilities opened between 2015 and 2016.

The number of new riders is also skyrocketing, with 270,000 new members by the end of 2016 - a rise of 33 percent on the previous year.

The BHS, which first announced its plan to bring its education system to China in July, is using the five-school roll-out as a test for a wider implementation of the system.

"Hopefully, it can help create a foundation here to help build the pyramid infrastructure to educate local staff, regulate club management and support rider development at elite level," said Sheerin.

With help from Equuleus, the BHS will also promote its five-level approval system to assess and grade clubs.

"What it's going to deliver is good management - things such as looking after horses correctly and working in a safe environment," Sheerin explained.

"Hopefully, as we develop and end up doing more centers, parents will be able to see on a list if those clubs that are approved. It will help people to choose the right place to ride and advance."

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