The maiden Asia Horse Week summit gets off to a flying start!
The inaugural Asia Horse Week conference came right out of the gate and hit the ground running, with the first day’s events attended by nearly 200 hundred equestrian experts. As a unique rendezvous formed to promote the exchange of equestrian knowledge, numerous notable dignitaries from all corners of the international equine community were in attendance at the AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong.
Held alongside the Longines Masters of Hong Kong, the summit is the first of its kind and is set to become an unmissable annual event on the equestrian calendar. Established through the strong support of the official partner, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the Asia Horse Week will promote and maintain the continued growth of the sport across the region. More than 60 key equestrian delegates will be present over the next few days and there are over 25 countries represented through 18 equestrian federations and riders.
Some of the enlightening topics discussed on the first day included France’s equestrian connection to China, a revealing discussion delving into British and German equine secrets, and the current status of the horse-riding industry in China. Many big names from the equestrian media were present and the event was broadcast and translated live on social media and EEM TV.
Five leading luminaries kicked off the proceedings during the official opening session. The CEO and Founder of EEM and the Asia Horse Week, Mr. Christophe Ameeuw, commenced the morning by pointing out that Hong Kong’s role as host for the 2008 Summer Olympics equestrian events paved the way for the Asia Horse Week.
“Strategically, Hong Kong is the best place to hold an event such as this, and with the Hong Kong Jockey Club as our fantastic founding partner, we will be able to connect the Asia region to the rest of the world,” Mr. Christophe Ameeuw commented.
The Chairman of the Asia Horse Week, Mr. Raphael Le Masne de Chermont, said there could be no backdrop more suitable than Hong Kong for such an event, being one of the most active racing cities in the world with a long equine legacy. “The Asia Horse Week will be a one-stop international platform. It will be a place to learn, entertain and exchange about equestrian matters,” he said.
Dr. Simon Ip, the Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, also echoed the same sentiment, calling the Asia Horse Week, “an ideal forum for sharing knowledge.” He said he is confident it will become the start of a regular and ongoing equestrian dialogue across the world.
After these key figures from the equestrian industry cut the ribbon in the morning the day got rolling. The second session included experts from the British Horse Society and the German Equestrian Federation, who shared their experiences with their equestrian systems and how features of these could be implemented in Asian clubs. The Chief Executive of the British Horse Society, Mrs. Lynn Petersen, offered some insight into the British Horse Society, and concluded her talk by saying, “the Fédération Equestre Internationale describes the equestrian spirit as two hearts working in harmony, the heart of horse and the heart of rider.”
The last two sessions of the day focused more on the development of China, with the third session of the day bringing together three renowned speakers who bridge the gap between France and China. They discussed how to successfully promote French equestrianism in China and about how the Federation Française d’Equitation is starting relationships with many countries around the world.
The last session of the day featured four important characters in the China equestrian industry talking about what the future holds for the country, with a particular emphasis placed on how the sport would fit into China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The Secretary-General of the China Horse Industry Association, Mr. Gaofeng Yue, opened the final session by congratulating the founders of the Asia Horse Week. He extended his thanks to the organisers, as they were helping to connect and engage new audiences, and he pointed out the significance of the Asia Horse Week logo. He said it symbolically reflects how important horsemanship is to China.
Mr. Chen Che, the Secretary-General of the Beijing turf equestrian association, was another key speaker from China, and he presented figures about the rapidly growing Chinese equestrian market and key issues to address in the industry. A Chinese rider, Alex Hua Tian was a late addition to the roster, but his talk was no less engaging. He introduced his charity, Horsemanship, which is about changing perceptions and connecting communities with equestrianism.
As the day wrapped up with a cocktail and breathtakingly unique equestrian performance, those in attendance reflected on the knowledge that had been shared. A key theme that many agreed on was that the Asia Horse Week addressed the urgent need for such an event in Asia. Mr. Christophe Ameeuw, the CEO of EEM & Founder of the Asia Horse Week, summed up the first day of the conference when he called it “the beginning of a long story.” He said the time is right for such an event and he hopes it will be around to connect people around the world for many years to come.