In July of this year, NRHA officially sets its sights on a new international market - the People’s Republic of China - by joining the Unbridled China Partner Network. The program, which was launched by the American-owned Unbridled China, LLC, gives equine associations, breeders, product and service providers a platform to promote their brands to the growing Chinese market.
In addition to regular brand exposure for NRHA at several horse shows throughout the year, NRHA was able to participate in the inaugural American Horse Week which took place in September in Beijing. During the four-day event, NRHA Judge and Professional Horsewoman Holly Hover gave a presentation “Reining - From the Judge’s Eye” and also held reining clinic for more than 20 Chinese riders. As the Chinese strive to reach higher levels of equestrian sport, education will continue to play a critical role in their development and the Chinese are eager to learn.
American Horse Week was also strongly supported by The American Paint Horse Association with Executive Director Billy Smith and Board President Susie Shaw making presentations and visiting with the Chinese Equestrian Association leadership.
While the demand for western riding in China today is relatively small when compared to more established markets, China offers unparalleled growth potential given the quickly expanding population of middle to upper class families, their love for horses and the great importance Chinese parents place on nurturing their children’s social development. Initial interest in western riding started with barrel racing and recreational trail riding, and today is quickly spreading into other disciplines including horsemanship, showmanship, trail and reining.
In 2017, Unbridled China plans to bring several riders to train in the United States in addition to hosting several training clinics in China. Ultimately, Unbridled China would like to be able to have Chinese competing in the United States by 2018, an ambitious goal by any measure.
Founded in 2011 by David Snodgrass, Unbridled China also runs the China Quarter Horse Association, one of AQHA’s 35 international affiliates, and has made great strides in recent years to bring more American bloodstock to China.
NRHA is very excited about the potential to develop increased interest in reining in China and hope to be closer to establishing an official NRHA in the not-to-distant future. As could be expected, the initial promotional activity has stirred up a lot of interest with other organizations in China, with Unbridled China (David Snodgrass, President and An Tao, General Manager) as the only official representative of NRHA in China at this time.