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Heilan Horse Museum, China: palatial dwelling for elite equines

Posted by
on March 05, 2018 at 04:15 PM

Luxurious marble floors, handsome detailing on walls and ceilings, sweeping carpeted staircases, glittering chandeliers, sprawling gardens, lavish pools, sparkling fountains, fine statues – all sound like elements of a palace, or a museum. And that is what it is! The only difference here, is that it is a museum of horses!!

The Heilan Horse Culture Museum, located in Xinqiao town of Jiangyin, Wuxi, is the only living horse museum in the world. Located a little over an hour’s drive north of Shanghai, the museum was founded as part of an effort by the Heilan Group, a menswear manufacturer in China, to expand into the tourism industry. It is one of the components of a “Luxury Town” project that is slated to include a water park, university, and cultural center.

© Courtesy of internet resources

Covering an area of 8,700 square meters, the grandiose museum has four floors, three above ground and one below. After the museum was built, the Heilan Equestrian club moved in to manage the facility – including training the horses, and conducting performances and competitions. It has thus developed as the first comprehensive equestrian facility in China. The museum was opened to public in May 2016.

The basement displays a variety of artwork related to horses. Visitors can see an interesting collection of artefacts including tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty, Terra Cotta Warriors and models of ancient carriages.

The first floor houses the horses of Heilan International Equestrian Club. On display here are some of the world’s finest horses - over 400 high-end breeds, some native to China and others procured from over thirty countries and regions, including Germany, Netherland, Spain, Portugal, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and the United States. There are about 50 breeds of horses including the famous Hanoverian, Friesian, Andalusian, Lusitano, Lipizzan, American Quarter, PONY and Orlov Trotter.

The horses live in stables of course, but when on display in luxurious marble pens in the museum they are dressed for the occasion. Some of them have their manes braided, or styled in ripples or waves. 

There is also a glorious performance space for dressage, in which the Equestrian Club broke the Guinness World Record for the largest horse dressage ever in 2015. The show included 30 black horses, 30 white horses, and a riding team of all women.

The club has 100 members and employs about equine coaches and professional equestrian trainers from around the world. There are also onsite veterinarians to take care of the horses.

The second floor brings visitors to a time gallery, which gives interesting information about the birth and development of horses, and narrates excerpts from history about how horses encountered human civilization across the world, and how they have been used in activities from farming to fighting through the ages. Modern technologies such as 4D film and automatic sensors are used on this floor.

The third level depicts the 30-year corporate history of the Heilan Group. The group believes that it would “build a spectacular enterprise as broad and profound as the ocean and sky”.  With an enterprise spirit that enables them to strive for excellence, innovation serves as the group’s enterprise soul.

A mall and a resort are some of the other facilities on the premises. So, a trip to China's unique horse museum should be added to the bucketlist of any horselover! 

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