Saddle up until you are horse with noble language of equestrianism
With Shanghai Longines Global Champion Tour around the corner, Shanghai Daily asked industrial insiders to talk about all aspects of equestrianism so you can “talk horse” like an expert!
Equine disease free zone
Xue Jingfan, deputy secretary-general of Shanghai Equestrian Association, believes Chongming District islands, including Chongming, Changxing, Hengsha, are natural equine disease free zones in Shanghai because the islands are surrounded by water.
An equine disease free zone refers to an enclosure where there are no horse epidemic diseases; secondly, official control is effectively waged upon horses, fodders, veterinary drugs etc; and thirdly, its conditions meet World Organization for Animal Health’s evaluation requirements.
“Hong Kong is a world-renowned equine disease free zone, where horses can be freely imported and exported. Like Chongming, it is a region surrounded by water, which is a natural advantage,” said Xue.
Xue believes as long as every horse on the islands is inspected, quarantined and declared safe, Chongming islands as a whole can meet the international standards.
“The function of an equine disease free zone is extraordinary. Only through such a free zone can international horse cultural and industrial exchanges be made possible. Otherwise horses bred or maintained in China are stuck in China, not to mention international horse cultural and industrial exchanges,” said Xue.
The only equine disease free zone found in China is in Conghua District, Guangzhou City of Guangdong Province. Horses outside the free zone center are not allowed to enter the region.
Xue said that horse epidemic disease prevention in Shanghai is also among the best in China and horses competing in the GCT undergo most strict safety controls.
The common horse epidemic diseases include infectious anemia, influenza and meningitis, according to Xue.
Warm-blooded horses, your best choice for equestrian
Warm-blooded horses, expressive and stable, sensitive but not hypersensitive, are the best choice for equestrian learning and competition, said Lu Wei, head coach with the Shanghai Equestrian Team.
Horses can be divided into cold-blooded, warm-blooded and hot-blooded ones, according to Lu.
Cold-blooded horses, tall and with thick hair, are animals that pull wagons in a traditional Western society. They are composed, tranquil and have a peaceful mind.
Thoroughbred horses, or hot-blooded horses, are raised especially for racing. They are quick in response, powerful and explosive and extremely sensitive.
“Warm-blooded horses are balanced between cold blooded and hot blooded, without the former’s slowness, and are less sensitive than the latter. Therefore, they are ideal horses for equestrian,” said Lu.
According to the Chinese Equestrian Market Development 2017 report, China imported 1,940 horses nationwide, among which 27.78 percent are warm blooded, 26.67 percent were thoroughbreds and 12.22 percent were ponies.
“Ponies are for children, teens and adults with small statures,” said Lu who believes horse riding and horse caring can teach kids and adolescents on how to think in others’ positions.
“Equestrianism is a charming sport. It is the only sport that requires cooperation between a human and an animal. It can teach minors to have a sense of team spirit, whether with a horse or with another human being,” said Lu.
She also believes equestrian learning would benefit high school students planning to apply for overseas study. A foreign school head teacher would look kindly on a person who cares about a horse because they will care about others, Lu suggests.
Saddles can be artworks
Tang Xiaolan, owner of the Snowbee and Stubben Horse Riding Equipment, Jinshan Branch, said a high-end saddle is a piece of art that could be preserved and exhibited in a museum.
“You can’t dichotomously say a saddle is good or bad,” said Tang. “Top designers created a saddle based on the knowledge of somatology, mechanics and kinematics, then they were concerned about its aesthetic beauty. Functionality always comes first ahead of appearance as to a saddle.”
Tang, a mother of a 16-year-old daughter, was once a horse-riding enthusiast before she became a shopkeeper selling horse-related equipment in 2005.
“I like galloping with a horse, I like pacing leisurely with a horse,” recalled Tang.
“The two brands I represent are complementary. Snowbee sells soft outfits like garments, helmets, boots, gloves and spurs, whereas Stubben is about hard equipment like a saddle. Most of my customers book goods online, some also visit my shop for a chat and a cup of tea.”
Tang argued against the common belief that all horse-riding enthusiasts are from high-income families.