Site Meter Streets of Shanghai / Riding
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Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 1 month ago


Riding in Shanghai


Riding is immensely popular amongst Shanghailanders. The horses in China are more accurately described as ponies, though for all their small stature they are still strong – a pony of twelve hands can carry a man weighing 140 pounds. The ponies are driven down once a year from Mongolia and sold in horse fairs as far south as the Yangzi.



The prospective rider must tame his pony himself. This is not easy, as the ponies fear people and the Chinese grooms, called mafoos (mafuare afraid of both ponies and foreigners. It takes a month to subdue a pony enough to mount, and even then you need two men to hold its head while a third holds a hind leg to stop it bolting. The function of the rider to stay upright no matter what. In fact, Europeans galloping in no particular direction, resolutely concentrating on staying in the saddle, are a common sight in China. Similar things happen when a pony is harnessed to a carriage. In a narrow Shanghai street, an out of control carriage can be a serious business.




At any rate, people persevere, as the ponies exhibit excellent qualities, particularly in terms of their stamina. After a few months’ training, they resemble miniature racehorses, though they do tend to have slightly short necks. If a horse proves a winner, the owner may ask ten times what he paid for it. Of course, the satisfaction gained from this profit may be offset by the prospect of having to break in another pony.



Livery Stables


Shanghai is well supplied with livery stables. No place in the world has more carriages to the population. There are three foreign-owned stables, "in which satisfaction can be guaranteed".




The Shanghai Horse Bazaar – Bubbling Well Road (opposite the racecourse). This company has a branch stable, 20A Foochow Road.


The Dallas Horse Repository – 2 Mohawk Road (next to the Race Club). Owned by George Dallas.


The George Dallas Stables – 1 Bubbling Well Road (opposite the Metropole Hotel).



The charges for carriages at these three stables are very much alike. Rubber-tyred victoria or brougham and one pony, morning or afternoon, $4; all day, $5; with pair of horses, $7. A carriage may be hired for a month for about $60, including a driver. Riding ponies are $3 a ride, or $40 for a month. Livery for riding ponies is $24 a month, for horses $26.

Auctions of horses and ponies are held periodically at the Horse Bazaar and Dallas Repository. A newly arrived pony will typically fetch about £25. One may end up with an exceptional racer, and at the very least £25 is a fine price for a good riding pony.


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