Showjumping is taking off in China, with a new Chinese stage of the FEI World Cup this year and a new “Masters” competition in Hong Kong in 2012.
The 2011 China League of the FEI World Cup jumping competition is the first FEI jumping competition in China.
This year it will feature three CSI* events, held in August, September and October, at venues as yet undecided.
“The China League represents a big step for us,” said Michael John Sullivan of organisers China National Sports International.
“With the exception of [British-based Chinese eventer] Alex Hua Tian, Chinese equestrianism is comparatively unknown.”
Showjumping is becoming popular in China, said Alex’s mother Sarah Noble, an advisor to the Chinese Equestrian Federation.
“They jump 1m40 or 50 in national competitions and a large number of European horses have been bought to compete,” she said.
The FEI now has 14 World Cup leagues with riders qualifying for a final held in Europe each year.
The top-ranked Chinese rider from the China League will qualify for the 2012 final in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands (18-22 April 2012), but must compete on a horse based outside China to comply with Chinese quarantine laws.
International riders are also invited to take part in the China League, on Chinese horses.
Then, in March 2012, a new showjumping event, the CSI***** Hong Kong Masters, run by the European Equestrian Masters (EEM), will take place.
Christophe Ameeuw, of EEM, said 30 of the world’s best riders would compete for a $1m prize pot at the biennial competition.
This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (12 May, 2011)