After stop 3, I went to three barns, all next to a river. The first was a new place as I understood it. it was set up very functional and quaint. The office looks like a little cottage made of stucco with it's own walled garden. The stable looks nice and new. A trainer was teaching a student, and I overheard very good instruction. They seem to have good lesson programs, and will be an interesting place to ride. I saw a very beautiful horse there. He is smaller grey, may be 14.3 hands, 150 cm or so, but very nice conformation and well muscled. I asked about thebreeding, and he was a Chinese half-bred. I really think Chinese horse breeders don't need to aim for giant horses, but really try hard to develop horses with good conformation that are suitable for Chinese riders, who most likely are not too big in stature.
The second was a bit hard for us to get to as you actually need to drive on top of the dirt dike next to the river for several kilometers to get there. We arrived during lunch hour, so everyone was eating lunch, all the horses in the barn and people in their riding attire outside the rustic "club house", sitting or squatting around. It is not a fancy place, but offers beautiful natural scenery of river banks and woods. The golf course next door is not that bad looking either. It is a wonderful place for trail riding. The lady who showed me around said only experienced riders they would allow to ride out on the dike. I consider their horses very thin. They can certainly use some grains or perhaps just enough hay to fatten up a bit.
Next riding club is several kilometers away along the river. This is one fancy place, but
unfortunately I don't know how much business they are really getting. It seems to be mostly a
boarding stable for some private horses. The office manager lady showed me around and told me it is basically an exclusive membership club, and the membership fee is quite significant, but the club members get to enjoy a luxurious club house in addition to the horse facility. They do also offer individual riding sessions, but it is not clear if they really have a rental string or school horses. They were rebuilding the barn, so all horses were staying either in a covered corral or
out at the pasture on the river bank. The horses don't look particularly high quality though some of them were pointed out as privately owned. The club owner has an imported FEI mare that could perform Prix St. George movements, but unfortunately no one is riding her at the moment and she is out in the pasture. The lady told me if I wanted to ride there, she would ask if I could ride this mare. I will definitely take on the offer if I have a chance to visit Beijing again soon.
OK, three more places to report. Stay tuned...