Beijing’s Riding Clubs ‘Demolished’

There’s been a bunch of articles in the Chinese press lately about equestrianism in Beijing. One that caught my eye in particular is a piece in the China Daily about the closure of local equestrian clubs due to real estate expansion. District governments across the city compulsorily purchase land (which technically all belongs to the ‘people’ and can only be rented for 70 year periods – if the government doesn’t want it) which they sell to real estate developers who build yet more apartment or villa complexes for ever-wealthy locals and speculators playing the Chinese frothy property market.

Owner of the DD Club, Liu Di at his soon-to-disappear riding club. photo courtesy China Daily

Two things to note: I never came across the DD Horse Farm, which the article locates in Dongba, near the Sunhe River. The photo that accompanies the article shows the owner looking into what looks like a piece of fenced-off scrubland with a rough track around the edges. I’m afraid the DD is one of so many dodgy ‘equestrian clubs’ that have sprung up on bits of land around Beijing. These are quick-buck merchants with little knowledge of horse welfare. Most interesting quote in the piece though is from Li Ning, who runs the nearby Yingchen International Riding Club: he says that soon all clubs within the city’s sixth ring road will have to move to the “countryside.” That means a lot of fine establishments like Equuleus – which says it’s staying put – will have wasted expensive refurbishments.

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