I’m well accustomed to getting random calls and SMS messages from equestrian clubs in Beijing, promising to be the best in the business. Often, sadly, they’re Johnny come lately types seeing a way to turn a quick buck off a piece of land before it’s given over to real estate development. That’s too often my experience, and not a happy situation for horses.
Things are different in Kyrgyzstan. Outside the country’s capital, Bishkek, there’s one of the more impressive equestrian centres in Asia. Since Bishkek doesn’t have much of China’s rushing-mad breed of new rich (to whom the mass of equestrian centres in Beijing are pitched) there aren’t many riding clubs in town- none but this sprawling farm-like complex where Kyrgyzstan’s national equestrian teams train under what looks to be a mostly ethnic Russian management. I’ll post more exact details later but for now compare:
Beijing equestrian centres on average charge RMB300 per hour (if you buy a 10-lesson card, otherwise they’ll charge up to RMB380). That’s 30 to 40 euros. In Bishkek I was asked the equivalent of 10 euros for an hour on one of the centre’s locally bred horses (they also stable Akal Teke and several competition horses described to me as German-bred.
Of course Kyrgystan, whose population (today about four million) was nomadic before the country came under the USSR sphere, retains a natural equestrian scene in the villages and pasturelands where herders still herd on horseback. Better to speak Russian though.
take a look at this: http://aucajournalism.wordpress.com/