The world’s leading equestrian exhibition’s 50th birthday party proved to be the perfect venue where the industry could finally meet up again. Visitors and exhibitors alike relished being able to meet in person and enjoy a top-class event.
Equitana’s 50th birthday brought the international equestrian scene together in Essen again. The jubilee provided the ideal backdrop, with almost 101,000 visitors coming to the Ruhr district to attend the largest exhibition in the industry and to enjoy the evening shows. Footfall far exceeded the expectations of organizer, RX Austria & Germany. As COO Barbara Leithner emphasised, “We have been overwhelmed by the enormous response over the last few days and would like to thank all our partners for the trust and confidence they’ve placed in us.” Equitana 2022 has sent out a clear signal to the equestrian world, and indeed, the entire trade fair industry throughout Germany. “We have shown just how important this event is for the market – especially after the huge challenges presented by the pandemic,” adds Equitana director, Christina Uetz.
Turnover exceeds expectations
No less than 450 exhibitors, including many famous international brands and manufacturers, were present at the global equestrian trade fair, which once again provided the perfect platform for exhibitors to showcase their companies and new innovations. Visitor numbers and turnover greatly exceeded all expectations. “We are highly satisfied and were unable to tell the difference between this and previous events,” Dorina Weber, head of Horse Pferdesportsysteme reported. “We’ve managed to sell a stable building and two horse walkers at the fair. Visitors are really enjoying the exhibition and are definitely in a buying mood.”
Jan Stübben, CEO of Joh’s Stübben, announced, “Everything has been going so much better than we originally anticipated. We hadn’t reckoned with as many visitors and turnover has also been correspondingly good. Trade fairs are a big factor in our success because they give us the opportunity to showcase the company and generate customer enthusiasm for our products. This has a long-term positive impact on our business.”
Innovation prize rewards sustainability
Together with the equestrian magazine Pferdebetrieb, Equitana rewarded the top developments of the past two years with their Innovation Prizes. The panel of experts selected eight winners from 31 nominated products, with sustainability playing a key role in the prize-winning products. Svenja Kirsch from Weidemann’s marketing department said, “With our Hoftrac 1190e, we want to help reduce emissions levels for both humans and animals. This award shows that we have taken a big step in the right direction for a better future.” The Hoftrac 1190e received the prestigious prize in the Vehicle and Trailer category.
For the first time, consumers were also given the opportunity to vote for a visitors’ award, using social media. The winner in this category was a belt made of apple leather. As Robin Schuster, CEO of Royal Horsemen, stressed, “This prize is a huge endorsement for us. It’s very important that we be as close to the customer as possible and promote personal contact. Which is why we exclusively offer our products online and at trade fairs. The belt was a pilot project on our part to find out if this sustainable material works and how well it’s received.”
“It’s simply great to be here again. There’s so much to see and new things to discover. We’re so glad that Equitana is back again,” said one visitor. Another reported, “The agricultural section with all the machines and tractors are what particularly interested me.” “The horse shows were really great”, added another enthusiastically. “Meeting some influencers in person was a real experience for me,” added another. For others, the focus was on shopping, “There were so many bargains available on the different stands.” These statements are representative of what many of the other guests attending Equitana’s big birthday bash had to say.
Visitors to Equitana’s 50th birthday were treated to more than 400 hours of shows over the seven days of the fair. Many famous instructors were out there showing their expertise. Olympic champion Ingrid Klimke, horseman Bernd Hackl and the master of liberty dressage, Jean-Francois Pignon shared their knowledge in their feature-length coaching evenings. “Preparing the coaching evening was great fun and we received some incredibly positive feedback. Even Uta Gräf said that she wouldn’t have missed it for the world, and that’s a huge compliment,” said Ingrid Klimke. She had been looking forward to the event for a whole year. “It’s always so exciting because there are so many innovations, and it’s always a great opportunity to meet up with all the marvellous people from the horse industry again.”
Horseman Bernd Hackl was particularly impressed by all the effort that went into his coaching evening, from the lighting effects right through to the commentary. “Everything was so professional. I was impressed by the whole organisation. Everybody works hand in hand and the entire city of Essen looks forward to Equitana. I saw so many smiling faces and that was simply great.”
Sevenfold Olympic champion Isabell Werth also shared her expertise in a riding class. “It was amazing to stand in front of a full stand again and pass on tips to students on how they can improve their training at home.” Isabell spotlighted just why the show’s concept is so successful. “Equitana is the only event which manages to combine top-class sport and riding as a hobby, offering both categories an equal platform.” Olympic eventing champion Julia Krajewski could only agree. “It’s a great place for people from all disciplines to meet up. And although teaching is my job, it’s so much fun to do it in front of such a large and eager audience,” the junior national team coach emphasised.
The highpoint of the exciting exhibition was once again the three Hop Top shows, featuring artists from all over Europe. Audience favourite Lorenzo said that “Equitana is something that’s still very special to me, even today. My first appearance there in 1995 changed everything for me. It was the beginning of my international career. The range of top-class artists performing at the Hop Top show is really unique.” For the grand dame of horsemanship, Linda Tellington Jones, this was “the best Hop Top Show I’ve ever seen.” The 84-year-old came all the way from Hawaii especially to visit the show.
“Equitana is an extraordinary event in so many different ways. We hope that it will continue to be a success in the future, blending emotions and a sense of community, whilst still being a marketplace for the entire equestrian industry,” stresses Soenke Lauterbach, General Secretary of the German Riding Association (FN), the ideational sponsor of the global fair.
Friederich Witte, who has supported Equitana from its birth as a notionally crazy idea on the part of founder Wolf Kröber 50 years ago right up to today, was also inspired by the entire jubilee programme. “Equitana is not a fair, it’s a natural phenomenon,” says the former chair of the Rhineland Equestrian Association. He is inspired by the idea that an exhibition born out of a love for horses can survive so successfully and still look to the future.
Equitana will next take place in Essen from 9th – 15th March 2023.
The next Equitana Open Air is due to be held in Mannheim in August 2022.
“We are highly satisfied and haven’t noticed any difference to previous events. We have sold a stable building and two horse walkers. Customers really love the exhibition and are definitely in a buying mood. We’ll certainly be here again next year.”
Dorina Weber, head of Horse Pferdesportsysteme
“We’ve been very surprised at just how much we’ve managed to sell. It was a bit difficult to plan things beforehand, but it’s been worth it, and we’ll be here again in 2023. After all, we also provide the vehicles for the main arena!”
Lennard Schoppen, sales manager Rampelmann and Spliethoff
“We viewed the whole event very positively. We had a very good clientele who deliberately sought us out and hadn’t really reckoned with such a high footfall among professional customers. We’re certainly very glad that we decided to come to Equitana. Next year we’ll also be bringing our largest vehicle, no less than twelve metres long.”
Michael Terhorst, CEO Horseboxes Terhorst
“A very strong start on Thursday was followed by a Super Sunday and Marvellous Monday. It was absolutely the right decision to come here. It’s meant meeting customers in person again and the personal contact has done everyone a world of good. Many visitors have really taken time out to visit us and our whole team is over the moon. We’re looking forward to coming back in 2023 again because Equitana is simply the place where people in the industry meet.”
Friedhelm Donde, CEO Marstall
“The fair went very well. We’ve been very satisfied with both footfall and turnover.”
Gerold Reinwald, CEO Equusir
“After having been online for several years, this was our first offline event and was very definitely worthwhile. It gave customers the opportunity to try out the product themselves and get advice from our staff. Things went so successfully that we had to re-order products twice!”
Carolin Christmann, marketing manager Novafon
“Despite all the uncertainties surrounding planning beforehand, we are very happy to be here to be able to provide visitors with advice and support. People simply couldn’t wait to visit a fair again.”
Maximilian Ochs, company director Hofmeister-Pferdesport
“This is our first time, and we’ve never experienced so much reach or such an international audience at any other event. There were Spanish, Italian, French, Belgian, English and, in particular, Dutch visitors attending. There was also a great programme and we’ve made lots of new contacts and look forward to coming again.”
Pia Fertig, owner Horsefashion shop
“We’ve been highly satisfied with Equitana 2022 and can’t wait to see you again next year.”
Tim Biesemann, CEO Lederwaren Biesemann