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Giddy-Up: Three Places in Shanghai for Horseback Riding

SmSh is hot to trot for these equestrian venues
2021-11-26 12:00:00
Photos: Angela Leung

Betcha didn't know you could go horseback riding in Shanghai! 

(Well, maybe you did.)

But did you know all the places you could go horseback riding in Shanghai? These are them. With a rundown on who they're good for and how much they cost.  Still a bit of time to squeeze in an autumn activity before the weather turns. 

Saddle up! 

Shanghai Westend Equestrian Club

Good For: Serious riders, horse-riding camps, horse rights activists, English or French speakers

What It Is: Genuine, enormous and pastoral. The Shanghai Westend Equestrian Club has been around since about 2017, part of the Changxing Island development. They’ve got multiple green paddocks for training English-style riding and a riding course.

The stables hold around 60 horses, from ponies up to competition breeds. The club reportedly got its start with a score of Akhal-Tekes imported on a whim. The owner didn’t know much about horses back then, but knew they wanted to have a horse club.

That kind of cavalier attitude isn’t evident: one of the draws here is how well they seem to treat their horses. That, and the instructors who can teach in English and French. They regularly host 3-4 day riding camps.

Changxing is a solid hour’s drive from downtown, but if you’re serious about equestrianism (or serious about getting serious about it), this one’s definitely worth checking out. Maybe make a day of it by visiting the go-karting next door.

Prices: On Dianping, they have a first-time price of 498rmb for a 30 minute trial class.

Shanghai Forest Knight Equestrian Club

Good For: Pony rides, regional championships, people who don't mind taking the metro

What It Is: The oldest horse club we could find. Apparently they’ve been open since 1986. The horse club occupies roughly 1.5 km2 of green space in the (very) popular Gongqing National Forest Park. They have a decently sized training paddock, a riding course, and a longer, more scenic walking path. To give you an idea of how popular the Forest Park is, they had closed the riding course to horses because people kept taking wedding photos in there.

They have about a mix of 65 breeds in the stables. A handful of competition horses are kept in good condition in nicer stables behind the clubhouse. The club is the Yangpu District’s training center for regional competitions in English style riding (they also have a location in Jinshan). Training, however, is only in Chinese.

Significantly shabbier and less well-brushed ponies are kept on the walking course. We are not horse experts, so it’s not on us to judge, but sleek and energetic-looking, they were not.

Prices: On Dianping, classes are 390rmb for 30-minute lessons. Pony rides for kids are 180rmb for 50 minutes around the track, as well as interacting with the ponies.

Sun Island Horse Riding Club

Good For: Pony walks, parents and children.

What It Is: Part of the Sun Island Resort out near Zhujiajiao, Sun Island Horse Riding Club is located on a spit of land in the Mao River, covering roughly 4 sqkm of indoor and outdoor training areas. It’s been around since 1997, and rivals Westend for its scenic appeal. They have a covered paddock for training and a walking course. Courses,

The stable has a pretty wide variety of breeds, from Shetland ponies to English thoroughbreds. For experienced riders, renting out horses works on a token system: the closer to competition level the horse, the more tokens they cost to take out per session. However, it mostly seems to be for children of the wealthy to take riding lessons, and for parents taking a trip out of the city to take their children on one of the nicer pony rides in town.

Prices: On Dianping, it’s 388rmb for a 30-minute lesson. A go around the pony track for one adult and a child is 68rmb.