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Challenges of the long-distance rider

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2015-09-04 08:16

Challenges of the long-distance rider

Cheng Zhaoyi participates in an endurance competition in France. Cheng is one of the few riders in China who has ventured overseas and earned international competition credits. Provided to China Daily

Chinese equestrian competitors need to be willing to pack their tack and head overseas if they are to attain the highest skills. Yang Feiyue reports.

Wherever big equestrian competitions are held, Cheng Zhaoyi is willing to pack saddles, bridles and other tack and ride off into the distance, and he is prepared to pay through the nose for the pleasure.

For a trip to France last month, Cheng forked out 100,000 yuan ($15,700), and in return was credited with 13th place in a 120-kilometer endurance competition organized by the International Equestrian Federation. Those costs covered renting horses and one week of training before the competition proper began.

Cheng, from Urumqi, in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, is one of the few horse riders in China who has ventured overseas to improve his already advanced equestrian skills and rack up international competition credits.

"There aren't many FEI competitions in China," Cheng says, referring to the federation's French acronym.

"Some domestic competitions are not very standard, and there are doubts about them.

"I learned advanced control of horses and logistics systems for horse maintenance by joining training and games abroad.

"I'm using these matches to earn match points so I can work my way up to world-class competitions, such as the FEI Championships and the FEI World Equestrian Games."

In November 2013, he also went to France to compete in an FEI endurance event slightly shorter than the one he competed in this year and was 16th. The events are given star ratings according to their difficulty - the more stars the greater the difficulty. The competition he took part in two years ago was a one-star event, and the competition he took part in last month was two-stars.

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