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vbx000 Hebei - A travel report by Veronica
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Hebei,  China - flag China -  Hebei
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vbx000's travel reports

A Day in the Grasslands of Hebei

  19 votes
Page: 1 2
My friend Nikki and I spent the day at the grasslands just outside of Beijing province, in Hebei. It wasn't near a city, but just outside Yanqing County in the Khangxi Grasslands.

Just Another Day in the Grasslands...
Just Another Day in the Grasslands...
We arranged for a private car and riding through a place called Highclub, they go to this place for riding every Sunday. Or, every sunday they have people that want to do it. Lucy was our contact, her email is Contact her if you are interested, its a pretty fun day trip! We were picked up at school at 8:30 am by a nice man named Mr. Liu. It was about a 2 hour drive out of Beijing. It's a scenic drive as well, you follow along the Badaling expressway so there are really nice views of the Great Wall. As I've stated previously, horses in China are small sturdy creatures of Mongolian stock. Horses of the mountains. As lovely as these little creatures can be, or can't be, it leaves a lot to be desired for those of us who ride the big, American stock of horse. I'm 5'2, but prefer a larger horse- but this place is perfect riding for tall, large males because they have horses big enough for you. If you are tall, muscular, or just big I wouldn't suggest trying the poor Mongolian horses, it will be uncomfortable for both of you.

Favourite spots:
The Cowgirls and Hell Fiend, before I rode him.
The Cowgirls and Hell Fiend, before I rode him.
The people that work there seem pretty honest, or maybe that was because we had Mr. Liu. It's hard to tell. We got there a little late, most of the horses were gone. They put us on two tall, muscular sturdy creatures. My first horse was a mama and her little foal ran around with us. I say first because these two men had to lead us all the way out of the large pasture, our horses (specifically mine) refused to start work otherwise. Once at the gate we started our journey, trotting and running along the water. But, we reached two points where my horse just refused to go any further. Instead, despite the switch and the kicking, she just backed up. I've never been on a horse that could back up for so long. We got over the first tough spot by having Nikki grab the reins and lead us forward but the moment we let go she was backing up again. All the switching, kicking, and tight cirlces in the world couldn't get her to move forward.

What's really great:
Grasslands, water, mountains... picture perfect!
Grasslands, water, mountains... picture perfect!
Since Mama biatch was not cooperating with our planned exploration, we called Mr. Liu and he told us to come back and get a new horse. This time, Mama Biatch ran like the devil was in her. We galloped 80% of the way back, her little baby bucking, braying, and frollicing along side of us. It was a great feeling, running with the wind whipping around, hearing the horses hooves beat steadily and that adorable baby speeding along with the energy of youth. The horsemen tsked but new this was going to be a problem, since they led us so far out. They only had one horse left and I heard them saying in chinese 'this ones not okay, but we'll let her try it. By this one they meant this beautiful but mean bastard in the corner. I dismounted Mama Biatch and remounted Hell Fiend. He was a problem for the get-go, kicking out his back legs whenever I would urge him forward. They gave me a sturdy stick and one of the men mounted to do this leading thing again, this one wasn't budging either.

Me & Mama Biatch.
Its funny, we are turning our heads the same way
Me & Mama Biatch. Its funny, we are turning our heads the same way
I talked to the guide a lot but I think he only understand about 25% of what I said and vice verse. There are so many accents in Mandarin and sometimes I just can't understand, especially if they speak quickly or with a heavy Beijing arr, which this man did a lot of.

The really pretty horses we were seeing all around were owned by wealthy Chinese who paid these places to take care of them. I think he said a horse was 10,000rmb. But, I'm not sure was yi wan is. I think its 10,000.

There is a huge difference between the way we ride, the guides rode, and these wealthy Chinese men rode. We sit straight, post, and pay a lot of attention to posture. Our guides hunch over at what looks like the most uncomfortable angle ever, and stand up in the stirrups when the horse trots, leaning forward and onto the horses neck almost. The wealthy Chinese mix those two forms and just race back and forth over the field.

Nikki & Little Bastard
Nikki & Little Bastard
Hell Fiend is kicking and being a jerk, especially when Nikki and her horse get close. I'm already feeling nervous about giving this new one a try, and pointing to any other horse I can find and saying What about that one? That one? Not this one...

We get almost to the fence, struggling all the way. Me asking the man if I'm riding wrong or the horse is wrong, and he reasured it was definitely the horse. These Chinese men on absolutely beautiful creatures that had been flirting casually previously raced up to me, my guide barking at them to get away.

I soon learned why because the moment they approached my horse started getting angry. Then, they raced off and something about that put my horse in a frenzy and he started bucking. I just held on and hoped this wouldn't be my first fall.

Hell Fiend stops bucking, the man looks at me like hey, she's still on... and starts moving forward. I, probably very white and definitely afraid just said No, this isn't working. If I fall...

Another Scenic Picture.
Another Scenic Picture.
Hell Fiend gets returned to his precious post and they put me back on Mama Biatch. Promising she's a good horse, but that she just is stubborn and something about the baby.

Originally, Nikki and I refused a guide because it was extra- but I learned a lesson today. The horses know the guide, they know they can't be shits with the guides lurking and ready, so they behave.

This is how we finally accomplished a successful exploration of the grasslands. Giving in to having a guide. Regardless of where he rode, far away, next to us, or behind both horses started behaving a million times better.

Don't get me wrong, you are still in control of the horse. They moved on our commands, but they just didn't try their tricks to get back home. Mama Biatch still spazzed once in a while, doing her frenetic backing up and kicking out her back legs, but not as often and we went forward more than backward. That's quite the accomplishment.

Mama & I again. She was a pretty girl.
Mama & I again. She was a pretty girl.
Nikki's horse was gorgeous, he was a beautiful red chestnut with a blonde mane and tail. He was fairly well behaved but every once in a while would run away with her at a trot and she would have to struggled to bring him back around. But, other than his outburts of trotting in whatever direction entered his horse brain he was well behaved. Nikki was a saint for putting up with all my crazy horses, going back and forth with me until Hell Fiend chased her horse off.

Lets recap our cast of zaney characters: Mama Biatch and Brat Jr. (I loved that foal though), Hell Fiend, Lil' Bastard (Nikki's Horse), Nikki, Myself, Our guide and his sturdy little Mongolian mount.

Follow your Internet Tour Guide...
Follow your Internet Tour Guide...
Lunch was included in the package. It was actually really tasty even though we didn't get to order. They gave us potato/green pepers, tofu (eck, I don't eat tofu, but Nikki liked it), bean sprouts/pork, and chinese cabbage. Plus white rice and hot tea.

It was actually really cold day, so by the time we got done riding for four hours we were ready for hot food and tea.

Of course, after riding for that long when we dismounted we walked like umm, not all that lady like.

And, my back is killing me from Hell Fiends bucking episode, it jarred my whole body in all the wrong ways.

Other recommendations:
Riding Into the Sun
Riding Into the Sun
I asked him if he prefers small horses and why. They had a lot of large, sturdy 'western' bred horses but all of the guide rode the Mongolian breed.

He said this was because smaller horses are: more intelligent, better behaved, more comfortable and have better footing. He said he didn't understand why foreigners liked the big horses so much. After my struggle with Hell Fiend I started wondering if maybe he was right. He told me I could ride his horse no problem because small horses are just better behaved and don't fight so hard.

My experience in Inner Mongolia screams otherwise. Except if a horse Hell Fiends size laid down on me in the water my leg would have been crushed, while the Mongol was little enough for me to slip away with only a bruise.

My advice: pay extra for the guide as a garauntee against horse problems. They know these horses like best friends.

All in all, it was a great day. We raced with the wind through the grasslands and you can't ask for much more than that.

Published on Sunday November 13th, 2005

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Thu, May 11 2006 - 02:55 PM rating by st.vincent

Great story and well written, I enjoyed reading it, thanks

Mon, Nov 14 2005 - 03:19 PM rating by toribio


Mon, Nov 14 2005 - 11:42 AM rating by jesusferro

You are very brave!

Mon, Nov 14 2005 - 05:04 AM rating by mkrkiran

Excellent Report

Mon, Nov 14 2005 - 02:14 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

nice report

Sun, Nov 13 2005 - 05:41 PM rating by nedkelly

Sounds like a great Ride!!!!!!! I may know of a better one.....maybe I should write a report......!!!! But for now.... this was a cool report... made me smile Thanks!! F.M.

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