Equestrian Projects from the Year of the Horse

February 3, 2014 / Tiric Chang

As the lunar year transitions this week, Populous would like to reflect on the significant equestrian projects that were designed in the year of the horse. In traditional Chinese culture, firecrackers (bian pao) were used to scare off evil spirits to make way for good fortune in the coming New Year; these spirits evolved into what is now the Chinese Zodiac, or Shēngxiào, which literally means “birth likeness.” It is only fitting that in the Year of the Horse, Populous designed a breeding farm near Xanadu that will give new life to the Chinese equestrian landscape. Other projects include work with a client on a racecourse in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, a private equestrian club along the Yangtze River north of Shanghai and a Polo Club in urban Beijing.

Hohhot International Racecourse

Along the Yangtze River, the brand new 6,000 acre Chongming Island is being built from an unsuspecting sandbar, which will feature the Xincunsha Equestrian Club. Populous’ design creates an exclusive equestrian experience inside of the entertainment and commercial center of the new city. The club offers very high-quality stabling for up to 46 horses, an indoor riding arena, 60m X 90m outdoor event arena, and a luxury clubhouse with dramatic views of the outdoor show ring and across the golf course to the new city center.

Xincunsha Equestrian Club

In Beijing, the Zhonghong Polo & Equestrian Club features indoor and outdoor facilities for polo, show jumping and dressage.  Two outdoor polo fields plus outdoor polo arena and stabling for 120 polo ponies support polo operations.  Clubhouse facility includes three levels of VIP club spaces, restaurants, event rooms and boutique living spaces that overlook the 45mX90m indoor arena.  Member locker rooms, spa, pool, and health club facilities are located in the basement level and below the arena. Another 38 stalls for show jumping and dressage horses are directly connected to the indoor arena.

Upon his first visit to the fertile, green valley near Zhenglanqi, in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Todd Gralla, equestrian expert and designer, stacked stones at the location where millions of foals would be born. This equestrian club and breeding farm is being developed as part of a larger 1,200 hectare horse development zone near the summer retreat of former ruler Kubla Khan.  The breeding farm accommodates 80 broodmares and stallions on 40 hectares.  The equestrian club houses 50 show and recreational riding horses, indoor and outdoor arenas and a 1,600 square meter VIP clubhouse.

Xanadu Equestrian Club Site
Xanadu Breeding Barn with Clubhouse in the distance

While the tradition of exploding fireworks (fang bian pao) will be in abundance during the lunar new year celebrations, they are also commonly used at holidays, festivals, and groundbreaking ceremonies, to bring good fortune for new projects and adventures. Populous is also providing planning services for the horse development zone which includes light industry, commercial/retail/trade, equine estates, education and eco-tourism components.

Fang Bian Pao at Xanadu Breeding Farm Groundbreaking
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Meet the author

Tiric Chang

Principal, Architect / Beijing


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