With access to riding schools, stables and competitions already severely curtailed by Covid, horse lovers in Germany were devastated when EQUITANA Open Air, Germany’s leading annual celebration of all things equestrian, was cancelled. However it wasn’t long before RX Global rode to their rescue. If attendees couldn’t come to EQUITANA Open Air in Neuss and Mannheim, the team would take the show to them!

A fun-fest for equestrian enthusiasts of all ages and skills, EQUITANA Open Air combines riding competitions, shows and demonstrations with a marketplace for equine sports products and services. And that’s exactly what EOA@Home delivered in digital format.

“We wanted to make it clear to everyone involved with popular equestrian sports that EQUITANA is here for you, even in these extraordinary times”, said Event Director Christina Uetz. “Many had been looking forward to the EQUITANA Open Air in Neuss and Mannheim and we did everything we could to recreate as much of the atmosphere as possible with EOA@Home.”

In the difficult economic situation in which the predominantly SME equestrian sports industry finds itself, we also wanted to create a digital platform that would enable our long-term partners to generate much need sales and leads” adds Christina. “For previous exhibitors, some of whom have been exhibiting at EQUITANA for decades, participation was free of charge.”

The response to EOA@Home was huge. More than 16,000 visitors attended the digital premier from 7-11 August, and the 115 hours of programming have received almost 200,000 views to date.

Attendees enjoyed lessons from renowned instructors, technical presentations, riding shows and competitions in live streams and videos. In the EOA@Home online exhibition area, 146 manufacturers, dealers and service providers from all areas of equestrian sports presented a comprehensive range of products for purchase. So eager were visitors to engage that the digital event, originally planned for three days, was extended to five. 

Among the video highlights was a unique compilation of the most beautiful moments from the last 20 years of the ‘Hop Top Show’, featuring world-class equestrian performers – viewers could vote for their favourite acts via social media channels. The live training sessions of eventing Olympic champion Ingrid Klimke, horse professional Bernd Hackl and animal trainer Kenzie Dysli, who took questions from the audience, were also very popular. And visitors worked up a sweat with the Werndls dressage fitness program, followed by cooling cocktails at the ‘snack bar‘ – mixed at home of course!

“We have been overwhelmed by the great response and the many enthusiastic reactions that have reached us,” says Christina. “We are really excited by the potential digital formats offer us to expand and supplement our events in future, and reach out to a wider audience. But ultimately, the need to come together and celebrate our sport face to face cannot be replaced online. We are now looking forward to offering the equestrian world another live event from 13-31 March 2021 with the EQUITANA World Equestrian Fair at the Essen exhibition centre.”