While Jeju may be better known for the horse race track or equestrian centers that cater to novice riders, the island has drawn the attention of an international equestrian organization.
At a recent symposium hosted by the Switzerland-based Federation Equestre Internationale (or FEI), Endurance Director Ian Williams called Jeju a “prime venue” for equestrian Endurance competitions, based on its international airport facilities, geographic location, climate and well-equipped horse industry infrastructure.
The FEI describes Endurance as a “competition against the clock where the speed and endurance of a horse is put to the test, but where riders are also challenged with regards to effective use of pace and thorough knowledge of their horses and cross country,” and that, “although the rides are timed, the emphasis is on finishing in good condition rather than coming first.”
In his evaluation Williams noted that Jeju has a good mix of steep uphill and downhill paths, and streambeds. This move would bring world-class equestrian competition to Jeju, as FEI events are officially sanctioned as Olympic Games qualifying equestrian events.
The Jeju government is following up on this favorable report by doing some obstacle jumping of its own. Plans are in the works to develop an equestrian competition arena suitable for hosting international events, such as the Endurance Championship of Asia and the World Endurance Championships in 2016.
This move would bring world-class equestrian competition to Jeju, as FEI events are officially sanctioned as Olympic Games qualifying events.
And for the more casual horse enthusiasts, Jeju is planning to develop “horse roads” for the use of tourist-oriented horses and wagons. Government sources said the horse roads and rides would be part of Jeju’s “green growth equestrian infrastructure.”
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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