Developing Asian equestrian nations take the spotlight in Session nine of the Asia Horse Week
The rising equine industry in Asia has been a topic on everyone’s lips and this session of the Asia Horse Week addressed the theme, with Cambodia, India, Taipei, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia put in the limelight.
The Vice President of the Equestrian Federation of India, Mr. Jitu Virwani, took the stage first to show his country’s equine achievements. He began by charting the historic role of the horse in his country before then listing some of their triumphs over the years. In the last five years the sport has grown considerably and he has been doing his best to make it more affordable, accessible and available to all. In 2017 they opened their first international standard arena, and they are preparing to build a second quarantine station in Bangalore. The country also has a long-term plan to breed their own sport horses. “Two years back we started breeding warmbloods in India, and India’s first sport warmblood was born, which made history,” he said. They also recently established the Regional Equestrian League in India, and they have won five gold medals in the Asian Games so far.
Mr. Nara Ketusingha, Manager of the Thailand Equestrian Federation, outlined similar progress in his country, which has more than 1,500 registered horses and riders. As a member of the Fédération Equestre Internationale, the TEF has been growing fast and they organised and hosted the CSI SEA League World Cup three times in the last few years, he said. Two Thailand locals also qualified for the Olympic Games, Nara Ketusingha proudly announced.
Another country that is no stranger to the CSI SEA League World Cup is Taipei, and the honourable President of the Chinese Taipei Equestrian Association, Mr. An Chen Hsu, was present alongside Mr. JJ Chiu, the Director of International Affairs, Taipei Equestrian Association, to represent their country. Mr. JJ Chiu talked about the historical significance of equestrianism in Taiwan and then shared some information about the status of the industry in his country.
He reported they have 2,000 horses in the country, with around 15 bred domestically and around 100 imported per year. He expects this grow and they are also trying to develop awareness by integrating CSI into their national education system. “In the next ten years we will see great growth in the Asian equestrian industry and I hope we can all share the benefits of this golden growth,” he summed up.
Another country involved in the CSI SEA League World Cup is Cambodia, and Mrs. Mona Tep, President of the Cambodian Equestrian Federation, was present to offer a glimpse of the equestrian scene in her country. She explained their king was a fan of equine sports and pointed out that horses had been part of their culture for thousands of years. In 2007 the Cambodian Equestrian Federation received accreditation from the FEI and the sport has been growing ever since, she said.
She told the audience they had a long-term plan to raise awareness, develop talent and train more coaches in order to promote the sport nationally and internationally. “We have been able to push our grassroots program thanks to the FEI solidarity that has been behind us for the past seven years, who have helped us grow this national pool of riders that have won medals,” she said.
Next on the roster was Mr. Wijaya Noeradi, Secretary General of PP. Pordasi, of the Indonesian Sport Horse Society, and he showed some of the ways his country is developing the sport ahead of the 2018 Asian Games, to be hosted in Jakarta this year. He introduced the riding facilities for the Asian Games, including the Jakarta Equestrian Park and Equestrian Centre.
Mr. Husref Malek, Head of training and education in the Malaysian Equine Council, concluded the session by talking about his experience in his country and how he had to set up of the first structured training equestrian programs in Southeast Asia. Due to their geographical positioning, Malaysia imports many horses from Australia. He concluded by saying the industry provides 4,500 jobs in his country, with five turf clubs dedicated to professional racing.