Nanjing Agricultural University

Featured Image: Nanjing Agricultural University Sun Junling 2nd. from top left


ASHS      Steve Guihot and Ray Hines

HEC        Don Champagne and Helen Xie

OLC        ‘Jenny’

W. P. Howey Honorary Veterinarian ASHS AEVA EO

Early on this trip we met an extremely motivated young Chinese veterinarian at the Nanjing Agricultural University. He gave an impeccable address in English which he had learned by rote. His name was Sun Junling although it was not easy to establish this fact; he agreed with all our interpretations! In Chinese culture it is considered very rude to tell a visitor they are wrong. Renamed Jimmy by Derek Major at Agnes Banks we were able to provide a fellowship through the NSW TAFE Commission for Sun Junling to spend 6 months on study leave in the Upper Hunter Valley. It all worked out very well. I was lecturing to the Darley Flying Start trainees by then. Thanks to intervention by inaugural Darley Australia Manager Ollie Tait ‘Jimmy’ was accepted into the trainee program. I was his mentor. As such I was invited to his graduation at Dalham Hall Stud, Newmarket UK as the guest of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.  He may not have known but I travelled Business Class all the way including a stop-over in Dubai; all expenses paid. Sarah declined the offer to accompany me.

Pulse Racing in Wuhan

Featured Image: ‘Pulse Racing’ in Wuhan

Two days in perennially mystical Shanghai provided the perfect back stop for our delegation. While ‘Seventh Heaven’ Hotel on Nanjing Road Mall was somewhat ‘dubious’ in reputation and did not match its elaborate title the location was perfect for exploring the myriad delights of both old and new Shanghai. The Yuyuan Gardens of Happiness were spectacular as were the old ‘Bund’, Pudong New Zone and hustling, bustling Nanjing Road itself.

The overall impression of the horse industry in China is one of ‘re-invention’ following the internecine turbulence of the 21st Century. There is an urgent need for re-skilling in some of the basic tenets of accepted best practice in general horse husbandry in the West. This includes all aspects of housing, drainage, bedding, ventilation, farriery, hoof and teeth care as well as fundamental nutrition. Nonetheless there is extraordinary will, drive and vision among the many people we met who were universally courteous, gracious, attentive and generous to a fault! A few of the major players including powerful ‘new age’ entrepreneurs will avidly pursue their goals and drive their grand plans to ultimate fruition. One of our entourage stated: “I may not be the beneficiary of this detente but my successor’s successor will”. It is a long term project but things will indubitably happen very quickly in the rapidly developing ‘new age’ China. Marco Polo? At least we had the ‘polo’ part right – or should that be ‘polocrosse’!

Orient Lucky City

Featured Image: The ASHS Aussie contingent took the stage to demonstrate ‘Whip Cracking’ for the bemused locals.

The Orient Lucky City premises are dominated by the six-storey grand stand and deep sand all weather running track. Horse related activities included trick riding, show jumping, racing, a local variety of polo and various other horse sports. The same ‘eclectic’ mix of horses appeared to be used for most activities with the exception of show jumping. Teams form 12 Chinese Provinces including Hong Kong were present to compete for national supremacy in this discipline.

Competitors [and horses] rated from sublime to less so! The Aussie contingent mounted challenges in Polo Cross and ‘Polo’ much to the delight of the local patrons. The former was a demonstration match and the latter ‘International’ ended in an honourable 1 – 1 draw with ability to ‘dig’ the large polo ball from the deep sand on the race track a paramount skill! The finale for our delegation was to be present on stage with Mr. Jacky Wu and the full Orient Lucky City contingent for a wide range of entertainment and spectacular demonstrations including scantily clad fish-net stocking dancing girls, party games and singing as well as an ‘incidental’ horse race incorporating local ownership. One of our entourage was ‘selected’ by pass-the-parcel to deliver a rendition of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ much to bemusement of the local fraternity! Racing in China certainly is different! The Aussie delegation mounted an impressive display of ‘whip cracking’ following which a tall imperious female delegate dazzling in Akubra and boots presented a home made trophy to Mr. Wu. We trust he did not misinterpret the signal as indicative of a subtle invitation to some bizarre sado-masochistic ritual?

Polo at Wuhan

Featured Image: Polo at Wuhan featuring Jill Macintyre

Jill is the daughter of Bryant Gavin, the inaugural President of the Australian Stock Horse Society. Her mother Jean is the niece of Stanley Wootton, arguably the most famous thoroughbred breeder of the 20th Century in Australia. In addition Jill was a ‘jillaroo’ at the Royal Stables of HRH Prince Charles, now HM King Charles III.

Duncan Macintyre is no slouch himself. His direct ancestor was (almost) first in the Upper Hunter 200 years ago. Another renowned sire in the lineage was Donald Macintyre who introduced the sport of Polo to Muswellbrook and Scone in the early 1890s.

China Wuhan Equestrian Festival’ from 1st. – 7th. October 2004

Featured Image: Australian Stock Horses on Parade in Wuhan

The Orient Lucky City complex hosted the ‘China Wuhan Equestrian Festival’ from 1st. – 7th. October 2004 so coinciding with ‘National Week’ otherwise known as ‘Golden Week’ with obvious implications for commerce and trade. The ASHS mounted a trade stand at the exhibition with the ‘Ranvet’ Company also present. Three members of the delegation [including the author] were interviewed for local consumption on CCTV. The Australian and ASHS Flags were proudly displayed at the opening ceremony with two mounted visitors resplendent in Akubras, Drizabones, ‘RM’s’ and Moleskins performing the honours. We were royally entertained by local Orient Lucky City employee ‘Jenny’ and enjoyed the ‘run of the place’. Orient Lucky City is located at the Gold-Silver Lake of Wuhan. It covers an area of 1 million square metres and includes an International Racecourse, the Jockey Club, the Equitation School, the Equestrian Exhibition, the Amusement Park, a 5-star International Convention Centre Hotel, Luxurious Houses and Apartments, the Intelligent Office Complex and the Mega Store. The total investment to date is US$200 million.

International Equestrian Club

Featured Image: China Horse Crush Restraint

The afternoon of Wednesday 29th. September 2004 was spent at the Jiangsu Boama Ltd. International Equestrian Club owned by Dr. Gao Huan who has spent a lot of time in Perth, WA. The club is set in idyllic surroundings near the ‘Purple Mountain’ on the outskirts of Nanjing. It is typical of ‘new age’ riding clubs centred on established stables catering for the emerging middle class demand for such active recreational activity. The stables were ‘old world’ in comparison to the newly constructed edifices at Beijing and elsewhere. We were treated to a demonstration of ‘traditional’ method of slinging a horse in a crush with cotton ropes in order to effect routine farriery procedures. The horse in question had long-standing hoof problems possibly due to chronic laminitis.

The local Farrier at the club was able to achieve remarkable results with vintage tools resembling chisels! There is clearly a deficit in the area of suitable training and ‘new age’ farriery equipment. The evening concluded with beers in the exquisite garden at the riding club and thence to an ‘Austrade’ hosted wine appreciation dinner at the 5-star Jinling Hotel in the city. It was very good to eat ‘western’, quaff some Hunter Valley brew and repulse the ‘Chinese Way’ challenge to ‘skol’ a few beers in the vibrant hotel night club!

Nanjing Agricultural University

Featured Image: Nanjing Agricultural University Experimental Buffalo

On Wednesday 29th September 2004 the ‘cluster’ was very warmly welcomed at the Department of Clinical Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the Nanjing Agricultural University. This is the second most prestigious such campus in modern China after its Beijing equivalent. We were greeted by seven Professors and five Academic Associates including Dr. Rong Rui DVM PhD and Dr. Kehe Huang DVM PhD. One elderly faculty member had spent two happy years in Sydney with Professor Cliff Gallagher. The physiology department was especially impressive with its leader an extremely erudite lady boasting esoteric credentials including time spent in Melbourne in human health research and many years in Germany. We enjoyed a fully escorted tour of the whole campus and shared morning tea with the faculty elite which included a power point presentation in English by a young and extremely enthusiastic academic with a passion for horses called Dr. Sun Junling.

Both he and Professor Kehe Huang went to great pains to explain the ‘marriage’ and incorporation of both traditional ‘Eastern’ and modern ‘Western’ veterinary medicine and surgery into the Nanjing clinical training curriculum. The author proposed a vote of thanks to the host faculty – fortuitously translated into Mandarin! – and presented an AEVA tie to the young academic. At this stage the facilities for clinical teaching in Western methods for both companion and production-animal streams is limited but improving. Mr. James Sun points out that due to exceptional historical circumstances there are as few as 10 ‘dedicated’ expert equine veterinarians in China. Most of them are ‘ageing’ and come from the State or Provincial-level agricultural colleges and combine both eastern and western disciplines. ‘Foreign’ veterinary expertise is being imported by the emerging race clubs [Beijing JC] and in 2002 the first international equine veterinary workshop was held in Beijing.