Riding at full gallop in the land of tallyho
Updated: 2014-09-15 08:28
By CECILY LIU(China Daily)
Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne, was co-chairman of the festival with his father, Mark Phillips, an Olympic gold-medal-winning horseman and ex-husband of Anne. Phillips also expressed great appreciation for Equex's efforts to promote cultural exchanges between China and the United Kingdom through equestrian sports.
"I think what Equex has done will help people in the equestrian industry to understand that horses in China's history go back much further than the Anglo Saxon culture," says Phillips.
"It is important to emphasize this part of Chinese culture to the outside world. So if the general public understands about this, they will want to take an interest in equestrian events in China," says Phillips.
He met Lee two years ago when Equex first established itself in the UK market and started to look for partners to work with. Lee then invited Phillips to the first Shanghai International Horse Festival in December 2013, which Phillips says he enjoyed.
The Shanghai festival, organized by Equex, is a week of equestrian performance, competitions, symposiums, banquets and a charity auction. It attracted about 50,000 visitors last year, and at its peak about 6,000 to 7,000 a day. The festival was deemed such a success that Equex decided to host it again this year, as the renamed Horse on the Bund on Oct 24-26.
"I watched the opening ceremony and events on the first day, which I thought were really good. We saw a good mix on display," Phillips says.
He says Equex's participation in the Festival of British Eventing should help to attract more top riders and international audiences to Horse on the Bund.
"I think the more Equex does here in the UK, the more they will increase awareness among the audiences they hope to invite to Shanghai. As Equex becomes known in the UK marketplace, it adds to its level of authenticity, in the eyes of the international audience," Phillips says.
As one country of origin for horseracing and equestrian events, horses have a special place in British culture, Phillips says.
"Horses have been intrinsically linked to British history, from the beginning of times, so if you were to take a snapshot of British history, there would be horses involved in military, agriculture and recreational activities," he says.
In the 21st century, Phillips says, the importance of the horse in British culture remains.
Founded in Shanghai in 2010, Equex has rapidly expanded globally, with offices in London, New York and Dubai. Although Equex is a young company, it has about 30 employees, most of whom are based in China, and a team of experienced professionals leading the operations.
Equex's UK operation is headed by Simon Robinson, who previously served as crown equerry, responsible for the queen's equestrian interests at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Royal Stud at Hampton Court.
Lee says it is her ambition to help more and more people in China develop an appreciation for equestrian events by facilitating the development of the sport in China, and to provide the Western world with an appreciation of Chinese equestrian culture.
"I think horses are amazing animals. They represent energy, elegance and strength, and I hope that they will help to build a connection between Chinese and Western cultures," says Lee.