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Xinjiang farmers breed racehorses

SOME farmers in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region now raise horses to compete in local races rather than use the animals for transport. But it is not cheap.

Maoyidong Bawudong, a 62-year-old pear farmer, has spent a relative fortune raising and training 12 racehorses.

"The most expensive one in my stable is a British-bred racehorse, which I bought for 150,000 yuan (US$22,000) last year," said the farmer in Heshilike Township, where 400 of the 1,500 households raise horses for sporting events. Bawudong is considered an expert in pear and cotton growing and sheep breeding which are the sources of his family's income.

"As roads are built and pastures are protected, horses are no longer trekking tools. They are treasures for my dream," said the farmer, who hired a professional trainer for his stable.

In Bayanbulak Grassland, the second-largest grassland area in China, the Uygurs' nomadic lifestyle exists now only in folk stories. Horses are kept for racing in farming's off-seasons.

Wulun Bayier is Bawudong's trainer from Xinjiang Zhaosu Horse Breeding Farm, once China's largest army horse farm in the 1970s.

Bayier said five of Ba-wudong's horses have won awards at local equestrian events. However, the money is trivial compared to the owner's investment in raising the horses, which costs about 6,000 yuan each annually. Bawudong also spent 25,000 yuan to build a horse training ranch.

Farmers such as Jieensi cling to a hope that raising good racehorses may one day become a new industry.

"A businessman from Zhejiang Province recently bought one of my racehorses for 45,000 yuan," said Jieensi.

It's more than enough money to pay his family's expenses for a year, he added.





 

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