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MAY 2011 THE RIDER /3 China Mission Continued from Page 1

from industry participants and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriMarketing Program.

The delegation was led by Susan Stewart of SS Visions, a consultant specializing in export market development strate- gies, who was contracted by Equine Canada. It also included stakeholders from Canada’s Thoroughbred racing, reining and rodeo and barrel racing sectors and a dedicated communica- tions expert. Drawing on sector-specific experts ensured knowledge-based discussions on this path finding mission. “Conducting this initiative from a national platform enabled us to achieve the mission objectives: to meet with those key individuals responsible for developing the Chinese equine industry and to solidify plans to host Chinese delega- tions in Canada this year,” reported Stewart.

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 Gov-

ernment of Canada, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), and the Canadian Olympic Committee as the national organization representing equestrian sport and equine interests. For more infor- mation about Equine Canada, please visit

Stewart continued, “There will be immense growth in equine-sector commerce between Canada and China. This mission signals the beginning of a program that will support Canadians already doing business with China and will benefit those who are seeking opportunities. A primary goal is a comprehensive communications strategy to ensure continued engagement with the emerging Chinese equine industry.” “Our intention with this trip was to seek out information so that we could determine market potential,” stated Bernard McCormack of Cara Bloodstock, who is also the chair of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s marketing commit- tee and an Equine Canada Industry Council member. “We discovered that the Thoroughbred racing industry in China is building and that there is strong interest among China’s afflu- ent to replicate the success that is seen in other developed markets. It would appear that China has the potential to become one of the largest new racing markets in the world.” Interviews with several stakeholders and tours of train- ing facilities revealed that the Thoroughbred horses currently in training have been imported primarily from Japan, Aus- tralia and New Zealand. However, it is clear that sourcing Thoroughbreds and other racing stock from North America for both racing and breeding is an attractive alternative. Horse sport in the Chinese market goes beyond Thor- oughbred racing with established interest and activities in bar- rel racing, show jumping and polo. Many participants in bar- rel racing are self-taught and use non-specialized domestic horses. However, as competition increases, participants have looked to Canada for horses and training.

“What started as an interest in a luxury-based activity is quickly progressing to a strong desire to become competitive in FEI disciplines. The hunger for western riding disciplines will quickly expand from barrel racing to reining,” stated Gary Yaghdijan, who is the chair of the Canadian Reining Committee of Equine Canada and another participant of the path finding mission. “Plans are currently underway to host a contingent of individuals for specialized training in Canada in the summer of 2011.”

This model of dedicated expertise has already begun in show jumping, as Chinese participants have started to source horses and training from other parts of the world. Develop- ment in that discipline is occurring at a rapid rate, which will be demonstrated when China hosts its first FEI World Cup Jumping qualifiers in Beijing during August, September and October.

Electronic copies of the information brochure and video that were used in conjunction with this mission to China, as well as a photo journal of the trip, may be found on the EC Export Facebook page at or at

This Thoroughbred mare was located at Knight Park Farm outside of Beijing, a Thor- oughbred boarding and training facility where the delegation’s host, Mr. Jia, kept some of his horses. The Australian-bred granddaughter of Danehill, which makes her a great- great-granddaughter of Northern Dancer, had five wins and two places in China during 2010. Photo by Barbara Daley.

The stables at the Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club are already in operation. The club held its first tournament, and Asia’s first snow polo tournament, in February 2011. The stables currently house 60 polo ponies that were sourced from Australia, who have been in residence since the summer of 2010. An equal number of horses from Aus- tralia and New Zealand are due to arrive later this spring. Photo by Ross Millar.

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*based on Canadian exchange rate as of January 1, 2011

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For more information, please contact Susan Stewart, Equine Canada’s consultant on export market development, tel.: (613) 826-1155 or email: This initiative was partially funded by the AgriMarket- ing Program of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and sup- ports the Canada Brand for food and agriculture.

About Equine Canada Export

The Equine Canada Export Market Development pro- gram (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” Cana- da as a quality producer of expertise and events as well as horses suitable for racing, FEI and non-FEI sport, breed-spe- cific competition and breeding. EC Export is funded by indus- try participants and contributions from 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 indus- try 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

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