National championship rider Wu Hui doing routine equestrian training (Photo: CGTN)
Horseback riding, a popular sport in Belgium, is alive and well in China. And an entire training system for the horses and their fans is developing in China as well.
Not far from downtown Beijing, a Chinese racecourse has just ushered in some special new friends – a group of horses: The Belgian Warmblood.
Vigorous strides, toned physiques, and sharp senses have won them scores of equestrian competitions, and also, top care from horsemen.
National championship rider Wu Hui now works for Brother Fortune Equestrian (BFE). It's a Chinese company specializing in equestrian sports and education. Wu also teaches riding and other skills, saying that the horses often get more of his attention than his kids do.
Along with these nimble creatures, Belgium has also brought advanced equestrian education systems to China. It's the first time another country has evaluated rider progression with Belgium's standards.
“We imported a lot of Belgian horses to China for training and competition. (We invited) experts like coaches and consultants to help improve Chinese equestrian management,” says Qiu Yan, media manager of BFE.
“It is important that a lot of knowledge is exchanged so that in China they can become the owner of knowledge. With this knowledge they can further develop the equestrian sport on different levels from base to top,” says Lies Vlamyck, director of Vlaamse Liga Paardensport, a Belgium equestrian company that cooperates with BFE.
s of 2017, China has over 1,000 equestrian clubs and more than 100 in Beijing.
“Only when you have an optimal interaction between coach, rider and horse, can you have success,” Lie Vlamyck said.
With sports an integral part of culture, cooperation in equestrianism between China and Belgium may be a new beginning for broader cultural exchanges.