On a ride past the greens of Shunyi’s golf fields, Beijing parents and kids can find the gates of Equuleus International Riding Club full of prancing horses. I rode horses for seven years, and I swear, I have never seen horses so sleek before.
Established in 1999, Equuleus remains the only horse-riding club in mainland China approved by the British Horse Society (BHS). The members of the club come from more than forty countries, and as a reminder to that, forty flags hang in the main indoor arena. The Club prides itself for hosting several international competitions with the support and the recognition of the Chinese Equestrian Association (CEA) as well as the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) .
The next upcoming competition is named Equuleus Jumping Open, held in the late fall and early spring, is well-known in horse show jumping circles. Equuleus Jumping Open will be held on October 14 – 16 this year.
Selena Wang, a general manager assistant and a marketing supervisor, showed us around and introduced us to the culture of horse riding in China.
Equuleus International Riding Club is focused on providing first-class services, such as show jumping and dressage training lessons (available for all levels), help with horse purchase and import, and horse healthcare. The classes they provide are based on the BHS training system, including show jumping, dressage training, as well as riding tests. Equuleus can give young riders the Junior Progressive riding test, and adults the regular Progressive riding test, that when passed, proves the rider’s qualification and awards a certificate. Observers from the UK regularly to check the Club’s compliance to BHS standards.
The youngest students of the school are aged 4-6. Due to their young age and the shorter class length, the class fees are discounted at around RMB 240-400 per session. Beginner students start with theory classes that teach kids everything from horse body constitution to the different types of brushes. When the coach thinks the rider is mature enough, riders are allowed to care for horses as this quality time improves the relationship between horse and rider–moreover, there is no animal happier than a horse under a cool shower after work. When we were walking around the stables, I noticed a girl pouring cold water over her pony that was acting like an oversized puppy begging for a scratch on his belly.
Parents considering entering their child into the horse riding world should be prepared to invest time and money. In the beginning, all pupils can ride the Club’s horses and participate in competitions with them. If a rider wants to be more professional, they could choose to be a horse owner, which will require additional investment.
Being a member of the Equuleus International Riding Club doesn’t only mean enjoying long rides over flourishing fields, but requires hard work every day. However, sport professionals are famous for their multitasking abilities and great time-management, so all it comes down to is a choice between horseback riding or other hobbies.
Equuleus International Riding Club has many options for its clients. You can become a member in which case the the cost of a single lesson will become lower, and you can enjoy access to the club’s other facilities. They also offer a special “Happy Hour” package, which enables people who are not planning to stay in Beijing long-term to enjoy discounts on Tuesday and Friday classes. The average fee for this kind of lesson is RMB 600, with additional coaching fees depending on the level and experience of the rider. All Equuleus riding coaches are qualified by the British Horse Society (BHS).
Although the full-time coaches are Chinese, some of them can teach in English.
Equuleus International Riding Club
Tuesday-Sunday, 8am-6pm. No. 91, Shun Bai Road, Sun He Zhen, Chaoyang District. 朝阳区孙河镇顺白路91号。(firstname.lastname@example.org; 400 075 0808; 135 2233 9691)
Photos: courtesy of Anastasia Levina