Reading www.yingshimahui.com (‘Hero Knight Horse Club’) I had high expecations of the equestrian facility in Beijing’s northern hinterlands and spent two hours finding it in a taxi: I’d have ridden my bike but I find equestrian clubs and most other places in Beijing looking for business seriously underestimate the distance and time to their facility from a downtown address.
Anyway, the Yingshi we found bore very little resemblance to the photos on its website, which I now realise were simply lifted off various Chinese and foreign websites to make the Yingshi look like the first-grade international centre it isn’t. The Yingshi has 50 local horses for a local clientele of kids and bemused one-time riders demanding the thrill (and photos) of a gallop before going back to the city for dinner and drinks.
The friendly management keep the place well – though I don’t understand why every Chinese equestrian club needs a massive, invariably empty clubhouse – but surely there’s no need to be lifting photos of the Olympic equestrian event in Hong Kong to give the impression you host big-time equestrian events and horses.
A lesser offender in the imaginative website game is the Ying Chen (what is it with all the ‘knight’ fever in Beijing equestrianism?) club which is a modest facility with a large outdoor arena (and very large clubhouse) in northern Beijing.