Irish sport horses destined for new China enterprise
Up to 500 Irish sport horses and ponies and 100 equestrian professionals are expected to be travelling to China in the coming years as an Irishman unveils plan for a new multi-million euro equestrian enterprise.
The Dongtan Chenyia Equestrian Centre outside Shanghai is the brainchild of Irish architect and Irish Draught breeder Jimmy Quinn and his wife Edel Burke Quinn, founders of Cappa Stud.
The pair, who first began devising a plan to trade horses between Ireland and China in 2013, are now the sole non-Chinese partners for the four-year project which is being funded by local investors.
Construction on the site is set to get underway in the spring.
The first-phase plans for the 600-ac facility include two Olympic-size arenas with seating for 15,000 spectators, stabling for up to 1,000 horses and ponies, a 250-ac cross-country course, and a fully-equipped equine veterinary laboratory.
The second phase will include a five-star hotel, villas, townhouses and apartments.
"There are 1.3 billion people in China and horse riding is the sixth most popular leisure activity with participation rising from 7pc to 15pc," Mr Quinn said.
"For the past two years the lucrative show jumping series, the Global Champions Tour, has been held at a temporary facility in Shanghai. We would like to see that change and have it eventually moved to this new equestrian centre, with a view to hosting other championships such as the World Equestrian Games. We eventually want to make Dongtan Chenyia Equestrian Centre the biggest and best of its kind in Asia."