Sports\Team China

Kids sold on saddling up

By China Daily | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-17 07:34

China's ambition to join equestrianism's upper echelon won't be realized overnight, but burgeoning interest in the traditionally Western-dominated sport among the younger generation is certainly cause for optimism.

The seventh Longines Equestrian Beijing Masters, which took place over the weekend at the Bird's Nest, is one of the biggest events on China's horse-riding calendar and one that has witnessed a booming popularity with kids.

In response to that demand, a multi-platform project called Equine Park, located adjacent to the showjumping course inside the stadium, was launched this year, allowing thousands of parents and their children to saddle up and get on horseback, making a sport that is sometimes accused of being elitist instantly accessible to local families.

"It's important to allow children to get to know the sport, which is all about elegance and conducting yourself like a gentleman, as well as energy and passion. It will also help broaden their horizons," said Shelly Wang, who brought her 5-year-old daughter to the park.

"She is so excited and amazed by what she saw here. She watched shows of equestrian before, but it is different for her to experience a high-level equestrian competition."

Shelly was one of many impressed parents.

Kids sold on saddling up

"I like equestrianism myself," said Yu Jia, who took her 7-year-old son along. "Children in China cannot experience such top-level equestrian sport every day. It's important to let my son experience and decide if he truly likes the sport. If he really does, I will support him."

Looks like she'll have to make good on that pledge-"I want to be a rider some day!" was the little guy's message to his mom.

Equestrianism has been developing fast in China and is increasingly the hobby of choice for kids and teenagers.

"Equestrianism has significant educational values, and through it children get mental development, companionship, management abilities and so on," said Zhang Yuan from QingAo Equestrian training center, which helped organize Equine Park.

"Take companionship as an example," Zhang continued. "Lots of kids are the only child in their family. They have all the love and focus of the whole family, so they believe they should be looked after by others. It is bad for their development.

"At the core of equestrianism is the relationship between horses and riders. Children will learn how to love and understand others."

Some of the young riders from QingAo served as volunteers for the day, hoping to share their knowledge and love of the sport with other youngsters.

"I want to be here to help others and promote the sport," said Li Zhouyinuo, a 13-year-old girl who can't be deterred from the sport she loves, despite its hazards.

"I rode horses when I was a little girl, but I had an accident on horseback," she said.

"My parents wanted me to try different sports, however I could not stop my love of this one. I consider horse riding a hobby, but an indispensable one."

Kids sold on saddling up

(China Daily 10/17/2017 page22)

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349