As the world’s largest trade fair, the “Mother of All Equestrian Fairs” also underscored its position as the most important international industry gathering. With customers from all continents: from America to Australia, Asia and Arabia to South Africa and large visitor delegations from Brazil, China and Russia.
Here, the best of the international show rider community come together every two years – for four exclusive performances. In the new production called “Festivallo” stars such as Lorenzo, Frederic Pignon, Oliver Jubin and Ana Ayromlou or the Kai Vorberg Vaulting Team take the audience on a journey to the cultures of the world, their traditions and festivities. With fascinating free dressage acts, acrobatics and stunts, “Festivallo” is a furioso spectacle combining top-class riding and grand show. Other participants this year are: the IG Fjord, Uwe Weinzierl, Kerstin Brein, Mangalarga Marchadores of the Brazilian Mangalarga Marchador Horse Breeder Association, the team of Excalibur Horse Shows and many others.
They generated enormous demand in the capital goods halls, despite talk by industry insiders of an economy that has cooled down a bit after the boom of the previous two years.
Klaus Reinken, the managing director of Waldhausen GmbH & Co. KG, emphasises that point: “After the good years, the climate in the equestrian market has cooled some. We’re at a level below the boom years of 2017 but above 2015. Nevertheless: quality sells.”
Klaus Böckmann, managing director of Böckmann Fahrzeugwerke GmbH, agrees with this assessment: “The registration numbers in the vehicle and transport sector have declined slightly, making it all the more important for us that EQUITANA continued to boost its level of internationality. That’s why we’re very satisfied; we had good sales.” Paul Spliethoff, managing director of Rampelmann & Spliethoff GmbH & Co. KG, confirms that view: “Compared to prior years, we closed many more deals. Important for us – and EQUITANA 2019 confirmed this again – is the high internationality of the contacts at the trade fair.”
With a total of about 33,000 trade visitors, EQUITANA recorded a slight increase of three per cent over the previous event.
It was EQUITANA’s birthday, and everyone showed up: greats like Ingrid Klimke and Isabell Werth, stars like Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and her brother Benjamin Werndl, legends like Ludger Beerbaum and icons like horseman Monty Roberts, web stars like Annica Hansen, and young female riders and trainers like Lisa Röckener. It all took place in EQUITANA’s typical atmosphere – up-close, palpable and eye to eye. Where else, after all, can you find all this: lessons, live training sessions and seminars with famous equestrians, national coaches and top trainers from all disciplines?
Christina Uetz, EQUITANA’s director for nearly 20 years, has the answer to that question: “The trade fair in this form is unique in the world. Despite its size as a world fair, EQUITANA creates these kinds of moments in direct exchanges, away from the arena where the tournaments take place. EQUITANA – that’s nine days and nights full of emotions.”
It’s a concept that’s as well received by visitors as it is by the top athletes themselves. Take Ingrid Klimke, for example, the two-time team eventing Olympic champion: “EQUITANA is a successful mix that has something to offer for everyone. I like that aspect particularly well. This merging of different interests and disciplines is unique and ensures that everyone feels comfortable at the trade fair. Similarly, Uta Graf, herself a Grand Prix trainer, simply considers EQUITANA an “educational holiday”.
Making the birthday party a little bit less grandiose than planned was an uninvited guest, which held a firm grip on EQUITANA on the first Sunday. Storm Eberhard raged over Essen with wind speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour, grinding to a complete halt all rail traffic in North Rhine-Westphalia and long-distance traffic across Germany. Additional cyclones and almost daily weather warnings followed.
With serious consequences for EQUITANA: counting 183,000 visitors, including 25,000 guests at the evening events and shows, EQUITANA trailed the result of the last event by 12 per cent.
“Starting with the next EQUITANA in 2021, the entire exhibition centre will be available to us again. This will give us new room to manoeuvre when it comes to planning the new EQUITANA, which will no longer take place ‘under construction’ at that point”, says Hans-Joachim Erbel, CEO of organiser Reed Exhibitions Deutschland. Due to the construction of additional space, this year’s EQUITANA was partially limited in the available area it could use.
Visitors can look forward to some 700 hours of programmes consisting of high-calibre training sessions, performances and competitions. Of particular interest this year are two special premieres in the EQUITANA Main Arena: Klaus Balkenhol presents a live training session with several of the world’s best dressage riders, Horsemanship legend Pat Parelli meets FN training ambassador Christoph Hess. Other attractions in the EQUITANA Main Arena: showjumping and dressage stars such as Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, Ingrid Klimke, Helen Langehanenberg, Kristina Sprehe and Jürgen Koschel, Horsemanship experts such as Alfonso Aguilar and Linda Tellington-Jones as well as almost all German national coaches. The programme includes more than 60 high-calibre training sessions.
From a water walker in live operation to horseboxes or nutrition through to the full range of equestrian sports accessories: every two years, EQUITANA offers the largest international overview of everything that’s new in the market. In nine product worlds, the 860 exhibitors at EQUITANA present their products and innovations. New this year is the “Competition Sports and Fashion Centre” where well-known brand manufacturers present their latest collections of high-quality riding fashions.
Particularly creative and, most importantly, useful new equestrian sports products are once again awarded the EQUITANA Innovation Award by EQUITANA in cooperation with the PFERDEBETRIEB magazine. The prospects for new products are promising this year: a total of 108 products were nominated for the award – more than ever before.
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