Taiwanese rider Yeh Hsiu-hua (葉繡華) is to launch the nation’s first equestrian sports training center in Kaohsiung’s Dashe District (大社) next month, with plans to admit eight trainees and organize the first international equestrian event to be hosted by Taiwan, she said on Thursday.
Yeh, 42, said that Kaohsiung, her hometown, is appropriate for raising horses and training riders due to its weather.
Riders would be trained free of charge and would represent the nation at international events, Yeh said.
Photo: Chang Chung-yi, Taipei Times
Horseback riding has long been regarded as an upper-class pastime, and is the only sport at the Olympic Games to still use animals, she said.
She first rode a horse when she was in elementary school, but did not devote herself to competitive equestrianism until she was in college, Yeh said.
She left for Germany to learn about horse training when she was 22, Yeh said, adding that by the age of 25, she had begun making a name for herself in competitions in Taiwan and abroad.
Yeh won bronze at the 2014 Asia Games in Incheon, South Korea, and won gold at Taiwan’s National Sports Games in 2015.
Since then, she has been running horse ranches in Taoyuan and Tainan, as well as training students, most of whom have also fared well in foreign and domestic competitions.
She did not come from a rich family and has accomplished her goals through hard work and practice, Yeh added.
Most of the horses used competitively in Taiwan are imported from Europe, so they need blood tests to ensure they meet disease control and prevention standards, Yeh said.
All horses are placed under observation for three months, even after the blood tests have been concluded and the horses have passed customs, she added.
The construction of the training center is nearing its final stages, Yeh said, adding that the sand for the pens and training boxes has been imported to ensure that the horses remain unharmed during training.
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