The Shandan Horse Ranch is located in Qilaian Mountain’s Damayin pastureland. It is 55 km away from the Shandan County in Zhangye prefecture.
The ranch has a 2000 year old history and is the largest of its kind in Asia. More than 10,000 horses are herded here and these are used by the army of China. It is definitely a very unique and an interesting location to visit and a great place to observe these magnificent creatures in their full glory.
Things to Do
The Shandan Horse Ranch has lush grass, plentitude of water and has earned itself the reputation as the largest horse ranch of its kind in Asia. The rare landscape of Zhangye Danxia, the colorful hills and the beautiful scenery is thrilling because of the glorious colors, magical feel and magnificent horses.
This horse farm has introduced Turkestan horses, Mongolian horses and Shandan horse hybrids popular throughout the country since the well known Western Han Dynasty. This horse ranch has therefore been the base of the military and royal horses through several dynasties in the past. The Shandan horses are strong, well shaped and very easy to feed. They excel in endurance, strength, speed and adaptability and are therefore ideal for pulling, riding and carrying loads. The total number of these magnificent Shandan horses today exceeds 10,000.
In Popular History
Shandan horses from this ranch have found a place for themselves in history as well as popular culture. They can be found in various parks throughout Lanzhou, at the Xi’an Amusement Park as well as the Shanghai Forest Park where visitors can take pictures and ride on the horses.
Featured in Movies
Shandan Horse Ranch has also been featured in several movies. During the 80s, a movie known as the Wrangler had been shot by the Shanghai Film Studio and allowed audiences throughout the country to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the horses of the ranch. Various foreign and domestic film studios have since then used this ranch for documentaries and movies. Over 30 films are so far shot at the ranch including Wang Zhaojun, Princess Wencheng, The Wrangler and Mongolian Flower.
The Shandan Horse Ranch is extremely popular and a huge tourist attraction today. It is a breeding farm for the army and is 55 km from Shandan, a historical town. It lies east along the 312 Highway. The farm itself is located on the Damayin pastureland at a height of around 2600 meters and is surrounded by the Yanzhi Mountain.
The History of the Ranch
The Shandan Horse Ranch has a very fascinating, 2000 year old history. Various historical documents have mentioned the Shandan Farm to be raising horses even during the Sui Dynasty Era in 581 AD. However, the region itself were already known for the sturdy horses and grasslands during the older Han Dynasty. The Shandan Horse Ranch, in fact, is believed to be a relic of the legendary Silk Road. It had been here in Hexi Corridor when the first sturdy horses had been discovered by Zhang Qian in Wushan and Dayun which were the homeland for the nomadic tribes. The horses had been interbred with Central China species which led to improved and stronger horses for China’s Imperial Armies.
A Beautiful Place
Shandan Horse Ranch is not just popular for its strong horses but is also an extremely beautiful place with rolling grasslands and surrounded by beautiful, magnificent mountains.