There’s been a proliferation of equestrian magazines in China but top of the pile seems to be Horsemanship. Published by the China Railway Publishing House the magazine is edited by local horse enthusiast Li Yanyang and paid for by adverts for cars, interiors and jewellery. The magazine fills half its pages with content translated from American and European equestrian magazines.
Li says he started publishing the magazine in 2006 out of his own passion for horses. The magazine is distributed mostly in Beijing, free, “high class” leisure clubs and at equestrian clubs around China, says Li. Glossy, A4-size Horsemanship runs snippets of news from local equestrian clubs and competitions. But, not unlike hundreds of other glossy magazines battling for China’s middle class readers, it takes the lifestyle approach: content sways towards celebrities, travel and good living.
In the recent edition there’s a spread on local actress/model Ma Yangli – “The Beauty and the Horse” – whose spotless riding wear suggests this is a model casting some poses for the camera rather than any accomplished horsewoman. Another six pages of text and colour photos on Cai Meng, “the Bugler On the Horseback”: a local tycoon with a penchant for western style riding. Cai changes cowboy hats and chequered shirts a lot for the piece and also shows off his impressive collection of miniature horses.
There’s the practical too: “The Manufacturing Technicque of Riding Breeches And How to Distinguish the Fine” is an article perfectly pitched to draw advertising from the ever-numerous local manufacturers of breeches and other equestrian wear. Several equestrian clubs have their own inhouse magazines but the most ambitious publication is Equestrio, published monthly out of Hong Kong.