A student hugs her riding companion at a private school in Shanghai Baoshan district. The school has set up an equestrian team to popularize the sport of horse riding.
Students dressed in riding suits and equipped with riding gear prepare for their equestrian class.
While riding a horse is nothing fancy for many foreign children, equestrianism largely remains a novelty for most little urban dwellers in China. To popularize the sport of horse riding here, a private school in Shanghai Baoshan district has set up an equestrian team comprising of over 40 students. The team offers regular training to its members and encourages them to participate in various equestrian competitions.
The Global Times spoke with a female member's mother waiting in the school's playground where the team holds classes and training sessions.
"My daughter has changed a lot since she took up horse riding two years ago. She used to be shy and timid, but now she is becoming braver," the mother surnamed Cui said.
Cui recalled an incident when her daughter once fell from the horseback, bruising her body.
"She was frightened at first. But she managed to overcome the fear of getting hurt and resumed her training very quickly," Cui said.
"And now she has learned how to descend safely, even from the back of a huge stallion."
Although the sport is beneficial for student riders' psychical and mental development, it also poses potential dangers. According to some equestrian coaches, children can get easily hurt while riding a horse without proper, professional guidance.
Furthermore, the budding sub-industry is also in dire need of more certified trainers along with standardized regulations.