Canadian Equestrian Ambassadors Complete Endurance Race

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Posted by Julie Cull, Equine Canada

Ottawa, ON — Six individuals representing Equine Canada’s Export Market Development program (EC Export) completed a trade mission to Zhaosu County, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of northwest China in early July. The mission’s delegates met their objectives to experience, firsthand, a Chinese-run equestrian sporting event, gain knowledge of China’s current horse husbandry practices and demonstrate that Canada has the expertise to partner with China as it strives to develop a contemporary horse industry.
In a different format from previous trade missions, four endurance riders, who took on the role as “Canadian Equestrian Ambassadors” represented Canada in a four-day equine festival called the Invitational Tournament of 2011 “Xinfadi Cup” the Second National Equestrianism Endurance Racing and Speed Competition in Pasture of Zhaosu County. Along with a flat racing meet for Chinese-owned thoroughbreds and native horses, the festival was comprised of three days of riding over 260 km in the area’s grasslands, which included an 80 km endurance race on July 1st.

Riding borrowed horses for the event were Elroy Karius, Gail Jewel, Robert Gielen and Wendy MacCoubrey. Each has represented Canada internationally, most recently as members of the Canadian Equestrian Team at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and/or the 2008 FEI World Endurance Championships. Susan Stewart, the managing consultant of EC Export, led the trade mission and Barbara Daley acted as the communications consultant for the initiative.

“Unanimously, we felt that our greatest contribution going forward would be to facilitate educational opportunities for Chinese equestrians, delivered both in China and in Canada,” stated Stewart. “Considering this region of China’s history with horses and Canada’s contemporary horse industry infrastructure, a partnership for development has unique possibilities.”  

The county’s plan focuses on Zhaosu living up to its reputation as the area of “heavenly horses”, first recorded 2,000 years ago. With ideal climatic conditions and 3,900 square kilometres of protected grassland dedicated for animal rearing, the Zhaosu area government has its sights on catapulting Chinese horse breeding for modern-day equestrian sport into the forefront. Along with increasing the number of horse sport events offered in the region, it is investing in infrastructure for its breeding sector, including increasing the use of artificial insemination to enhance the area’s native breed, the Yili horse.   

EC Export is a catalyst for change. It provides opportunities for Canadians to promote their horse industry abroad and, at times, travel to other countries to experience their industries’ current practices and learn about their needs. EC Export’s focus extends beyond its overall goal to increase live equine and equine genetics export revenue. Its long-term objectives are to help Canadians understand and respond to the needs, preferences and buying habits of international customers; promote internationally using the Canada Brand for the equine industry; and position Canada to be recognized internationally as a mature, developed equine nation where quality horses, ponies, donkeys and mules, equine genetics and expertise can be sought by international buyers.

Watch for the full length article on the mission, “Path to China — Endurance in Zhaosu” in the August/September issue of Equine Canada Magazine. A photo journal of the initiative can be found on EC Export’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ECExport, and a blog journal of each day can be found at http://bit.ly/BarnmiceECExport . Additional information on EC Export is available at www.EquineCanada.ca/Export.

For more information, please contact Susan Stewart, a consultant to Equine Canada’s Export Market Development program, by telephone at (613) 826-1155 or email at export@equinecanada.ca.

About EC Export
The Equine Canada Export Market Development Program (EC Export) is the driver to brand the Canadian equine industry in international markets. It is guided by a long-term international strategy that involves activities to “brand” Canada as a quality producer of expertise and events as well as horses suitable for racing, FEI and non-FEI sport, breed-specific competition and breeding. EC Export is self-funded by industry participants with 50% of some eligible expenses covered by the AgriMarketing Program (AMP) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). AMP is an important vehicle for bringing greater cohesion to associations’ marketing efforts to brand Canadian food and agriculture as a whole in international markets. As mandated by AAFC, EC Export fully utilizes the resources and tool kit of the Canada Brand program.  

About Equine Canada Industry Division
Equine Canada Industry Division provides a structure for breed organisations and industry partners operating in Canada to unite as a coalition under the national federation of Equine Canada. It provides a forum from which to seek and exchange information between Equine Canada, Canadian stakeholders, the Government of Canada and foreign entities. The Industry Division works to promote and assist a vibrant equine industry and to affect policy in Canada. Breed organisations and industry partners share resources and expertise with unity of purpose to increase the long-term profitability of Canada’s equine sector and to ensure its future viability.

About Equine Canada
Equine Canada is Canada’s national governing body for equestrianism.  A member-driven, charitable institution, it is the executive branch of the Canadian Equestrian Team, and the national authority for equestrian competition; the national voice for recreational riders; and the national association for equine welfare, breeding, and industry.  Equine Canada is recognized by the Government of Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national organization representing equestrian sport and equine interests. For more information about Equine Canada, please visit www.equinecanada.ca.

Photo: Riding borrowed horses, Canadian Equestrian Ambassadors were amongst hundreds who rode in the opening parade of the Invitational Tournament of 2011 “Xinfadi Cup” the Second National Equestrianism Endurance Racing and Speed Competition in Pasture of Zhaosu County in northwest China.   Photo credit: Equine Canada