On the International Trail

Quarter Horses in China

Sam Houston State University arrives in China for the 2016 AQHA International Horsemanship Camps.

The AQHA International Horsemanship Camps in Europe have come to an end, and what an amazing experience it has been to promote the American Quarter Horse with the Mississippi State University and Oklahoma State University instructors.

Looking forward, AQHA is providing the first International Horsemanship Camps in China. Sam Houston State University instructors will be leading three horsemanship camps over the next several weeks. Dr. Jessica Leatherwood is the lead instructor and is assisted by SHSU graduate students, Dalton Davis, Kelly Carlson, Amelia King and recent SHSU graduate, Cody Wellmann. 

The American Quarter Horse in China 

The excitement around the American Quarter Horse in China has led to an exponential growth of American Quarter Horse ownership in a very short period of time. The first American Quarter Horse was imported to China in 2009. Just recently in 2014, China became an international affiliate of AQHA. Last summer, the China Quarter Horse Association hosted an approved AQHA special event, in which riders from all over the world competed in the barrel racing, pole bending, ranch work and western riding classes. Additionally, the China Quarter Horse Association is promoting more youth involvement, and has hosted two of three youth horse shows this year. 

The progress and growth of the American Quarter Horse in China is largely attributed to the efforts and mission of Unbridled China. Unbridled China's mission is to promote western riding and equine management education while showcasing the Quarter Horse's versatility and talent. David Snodgrass, the founder of Unbridled China, and An Tao, the chairman of the Chinese Quarter Horse Association and manager of the Unbridled China Ranch, have coordinated the AQHA horsemanship camps at some of the finest equestrian clubs in China, with the first camp at Unbridled China Ranch, the second at the Brother Fortune Equestrian Club, and the final camp at Yi He Farm.

The AQHA International Horsemanship Camps are the first organized university clinics that China has hosted. While the China Quarter Horse Association has hosted clinicians before, David Snodgrass and An Tao believe that the university's teaching format will allow the Chinese Quarter Horse members to improve their foundational training and equine knowledge. Further explaining that the Chinese rider enthusiasts are eager to learn as much as possible about horsemanship basics over the three day clinics. 

SHSU's Dr. Leatherwood and her students conducted the first AQHA horsemanship camp at the Unbridled China Ranch, where they delivered lectures on training techniques and presented information about AQHA events. The SHSU instructors specialize in a diversified teaching program from starting young horses, to showing the all-around events, the roping, cow and speed events, as well as extensive experience with the reigning. The Chinese AQHA members are developing an interest in the all- around events and reigning, so the SHSU instructors has catered their teaching outline to present more information on training for these events. 

It was really exciting to see how many Chinese Quarter Horse Association members attended the first horsemanship camp at the Unbridled China Ranch. There were members that traveled from all over the country to attend the AQHA International Horsemanship Camp. We also had a large number of spectators who attended the camp to listen to the SHSU instructors teach. Additionally, there was extensive media coverage  at the horsemanship camp. Cross China New Media covered and videoed the horsemanship camp – you can view the video here.

Below are some photos from the first horsemanship camp at Ye Hi Farm. I am looking forward to joining the Sam Houston State University instructors at the Brother Fortune Equestrian Club!