Riding at full gallop in the land of tallyho

Updated: 2014-09-15 08:28

By CECILY LIU(China Daily)

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Riding at full gallop in the land of tallyho

Linda Lee, CEO of Equex, a Chinese equestrian consultancy firm, presents an award at the Festival of British Eventing in August. CECILY LIU/CHINA DAILY

Firm from China leaves hoof marks on major British equestrian event

The earliest origins of modern equestrian sports can be found, in large part, in the bygone age of British chivalry and knighthood. Horses have a different although equally significant history in Chinese culture, says Linda Lee, CEO of Equex, a Chinese equestrian consultancy and event management company.

It is Lee's love of horses and her passion for culture that prompted her to promote Chinese horse culture at UK equestrian events.

In August, Equex participated in the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park for a second year, as a key sponsor of the equestrian advanced class. Eventing is an equestrian triathlon consisting of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping.

As one of Britain's most significant equestrian events, the festival took place at the private grounds of the home of Princess Royal Anne and incorporated the British Open, intermediate and novice championships.

Riding at full gallop in the land of tallyho
Peter Phillips, co-chairman of Festival of British Eventing. CHINA DAILY

Sponsorship of the festival provided valuable exposure for Equex, and Lee presented prizes to the winners of the advanced class alongside Princess Anne.

Equex's characteristic logo could be seen flying from flags around the main stadium and adorning the famous water complex on the cross-country course.

The company also erected an Inner Mongolian yurt, a traditional shelter somewhat like a tent but with stronger walls, close to the main arena. It gave visitors the opportunity to learn a little about Chinese equestrian culture and the important role that horses have played in Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

Inner Mongolia has a reputation for being the land of the horse, as legendary 13th century warrior Genghis Khan used horses effectively in establishing an empire that extended from Hungary to Korea and from Siberia to Tibet.

In today's Inner Mongolia, although horses are no longer used for battle, they are still commonplace and most children are taught to ride from a young age. More importantly, horses still represent the spirit of warriors in Chinese culture.

To depict these stories, Equex's yurt used vivid pictures of wild horses running across extensive grasslands, painted by the Inner Mongolian artist Zhao Ruyi, a picture of Genghis Khan and some Inner Mongolian costumes and riding gear.

Other authentic objects included beautiful tables, chests and a water jug. The yurt, a highlight of the exhibition area, also offered visitors the opportunity to sample Inner Mongolian food.

Antje Pennycott, a horse owner from Stroud, a market town in South England, says she was fascinated to learn about Inner Mongolian horse culture through the Equex yurt.

"I love horses, and it is interesting to see what horses represent in different cultures. I have certainly learned something new today," said Pennycott.

Anne-Marie King, a horse-farm owner from Cambridge in the North Island of New Zealand, says she was amazed by the yurt and was delighted by the paintings and the Inner Mongolian food.

King says the diversity introduced by the Equex yurt was a wonderful addition to the festival.

"I have an open-minded attitude about new players in the equestrian industry, and I am very interested in China's growing horse sport market, therefore visiting the yurt has been fantastic," King says.

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