August and Everything After
From Thoroughbred Racing to the debut of Unbridled China's new Trail Challenge course, my summer in China concluded with an exciting calendar of activities in August. Having now reached the two-year point on the block of American bloodstock into China, we have been forced to focus solely on education and promotion, and we are eager to see the positive effects of our tireless efforts.
At the racetracks - Australian, New Zealand and Irish bloodlines have taken advantage of our situation and have established a strong presence, though I was very encouraged by the number of Chinese owners impressing me with their understanding of American's advantage on dirt tracks (most common in China). Many also seemingly as anxious as me regarding the pending import protocol.
The China Horse Club's China Equine Cultural Festival (CECF), held in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, for the second year in a row, was a fantastic day of racing, attended by dignitaries from around the globe. China Horse Club Chairman, Mr. Teo Ah Khing, also unveiled the Ordos Horse Museum which is located in a new trackside luxury manor with adjoining stable, one of 230 planned for construction in Ordos. While there is no official para mutuel wagering in China, the crowd of more than 20,000 enjoyed picking their winners on a mobile application developed for the event.
China's richest race was held at the Yulong Jockey Club in Shanxi Province, attracting more than 70 thoroughbred owners from around the People's Republic of China. In just one year, Yulong's facilities transformed from trackside tents and lawn chairs to a 5-star grandstand with private hospitality boxes. In addition, 20 new brick barns were constructed with plans to open an auction center in 2018. It has been fascinating to witness Yulong's continued growth since attending their grand opening in 2010.
Back in Beijing, the American Paint Horse Association sent Sandy and Jim Jirkovsky to conduct a horsemanship clinic and ranch riding show at Unbridled China's newly opened Equestrian Club. Crystal clear skies provided for picturesque mountain views for most of the weekend, and light rain on the final day did not stop the Jirkovsky's for even a second. A highlight of the weekend included a first go on our new trail challenge course by Jim Jirkovsky, demonstrating extreme patience and skills as he maneuvered our bay stallion through all the fresh obstacles.
While August was a very busy end to the summer, the anticipated opening of China to equine imports from the US later this month will mean even more activity ahead. Unbridled China is just getting started, will continue to wave the American flag and invite you to join us!