Summer is here and naturally thoughts turn to unbridled fun and horsing around outdoors. In addition to being an enjoyable form of exercise, horseback riding can help kids develop a sense of mastery and self-sufficiency, and cultivate patience, respect for animals, and emotional discipline.
Equuleus International Riding Club opened in 2000 and is the only British Horse Society (BHS) approved club in mainland China. With 180 stables, it houses around 130 mostly imported European horses, including warmbloods and thoroughbreds. There are six arenas in total, five of which are Olympic-competition standard, with three each of indoor and outdoor arenas. Additionally, four grassy areas are used for competitions and events.
Twelve of the club’s 19 Chinese trainers can teach in English, and all trainers are qualified British Horse Society (BHS) instructors. The club also regularly hosts visiting foreign trainers.
Children as young as 4 years old take lead-rein lessons. From 6 years and above,. they can ride independently without a lead. In addition to English-style riding lessons, show jumping and dressage lessons are available. Families can also take stable management classes covering topics such as safety around horses and horse grooming. Both private one-on-one and group lessons are available, depending on the level and experience of the riders. Group lessons are generally made up of two to five riders. Typically a first lesson is private; when riders demonstrate they have progressed enough they are encouraged to participate in group lessons. Beginners start with flatwork and progress to dressage and jumping. For members, lesson fees range from RMB 240 to RMB 630. All lessons must be reserved in advance.
While lots of fun, horse riding is 20 times more dangerous than riding a motorcycle, according to the website riders4helmets.com, and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons reports that 20 percent of horse riding injuries are head injuries. Your children should always wear a helmet.
Basic equipment such as helmets, chaps, and boots are available to rent at an extra cost of RMB 50 per lesson. Avoid wearing glasses, earrings or sharp jewelry, and be sure to wear suitable pants.
Each lesson fee includes basic accident insurance for riders, but
Equuleus suggests that families have the appropriate insurance to cover high-risk sports.
If you’re in need of your own nosebag, try the onsite restaurant Equ Dining, which serves mostly western food such as pizza, sandwiches, salads, and horse-shaped cookies, as well as some local Chinese dishes. It also provides a rest area for parents accompanying their children, or non-riding family members. Other dining options in the neighborhood include The Orchard and Green T. House Living.
Equuleus International Riding Club 天星调良国际马术俱乐部
Tue-Sun 8am-6pm. 91 Shunbai Lu, Sunhe Town (north of and parallel to Xiang Jiang Beilu), Chaoyang District (400 075 0808, 135 2233 9691, email@example.com) www.equriding.com 朝阳区孙河镇顺白路91号香江北路北
The Orchard 果园西餐厅
Tue-Sun noon-2.30pm (lunch), 6-9pm (dinner).
Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang Town, Chaoyang District (6433 6270) 朝阳区崔各庄乡何各庄村
Green T. House Living 紫云轩茶事
Daily 11.30am-11.30pm. 318 Hegezhuang Village, Cuigezhuang, Chaoyang District (8456 4922 ext 8, 136 0113 7132) 朝阳区崔各庄乡合各庄村318号
This article originally appeared on page 38-39of the beijingkids August 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.