Chinese riders Duan Yihua and Li Yaofeng teamed up with British showjumping star John Whitaker, to win the Longines Beijing Equestrian Masters held in the iconic Bird’s Nest Stadium.
In its sixth year, the annual event was founded by the world-class German rider Ludger Beerbaum along with Chinese partners, to establish equestrian sport in the East Asian country.
The winning riders beat a further ten teams that included a mix of top international riders, including Ludger himself, the Dutch showjumping champion Jeroen Dubbeldam and one of France’s top riders Simon Delestre.
Unlike Europe, equestrianism in China is undeveloped and lacking hugely in participation at the top level and Ludger insists the country has a long way to go before it can be as recognisable.
“Definitely ten years still, perhaps even 20. Equestrian sport in Europe has developed over the course of 200 years to reach its present level and 20 years ago, even I rode like a cowboy!” he said.
Due to the Chinese quarantine setup, all riders compete on borrowed horses. Michael Mronz, who along with Ludger helps organise the event, expresses how the sport has impacted China as an equestrian community.
“Not all that long ago, there was next to no infrastructure here at all. No shows, no blacksmiths, no trainers. Progress is gradually occurring at all levels – incidentally the commitment of Ludger Beerbaum is an extremely important factor here,” he said.