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Youngsters reign

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2015-08-14 07:36

Youngsters reign

Equestrian coaching for children at Huanglin Horsemanship in Daxing district, Beijing.

"I sent him to learn horsemanship to exercise his body and cultivate his temperament," Ma says.

"There's a charm to horsemanship that especially appeals to kids that may provide a sense of fulfillment."

Stables generally charge 150-500 yuan ($24-80) per lesson for packages of 30-50 sessions.

Ma spent more than 10,000 yuan on 70 45-minute classes. The fee does not include tutorship, which costs an additional 200 yuan per session.

Ma believes it is money well spent, since her son can ride by himself after two months of training.

Typically, children can start at age 5 and need 10-20 lessons before independently mounting and riding.

After mastering the basics, teens can tackle hurdle races and dressage, in which the horse and rider "perform from memory a series of predetermined movements", according to the International Equestrian Federation's definition. The federation calls dressage "the highest expression of horse training".

While Chinese literature romantically paints riding as a literally unbridled adventure, contemporary equestrians observe a "safety-first" motto.

Injuries are usually caused by improperly trained horses and riders, says Liu Jianhe, a senior Huanglin member.

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