Horses are owned by people all over the world, whether it’s for work, for sport, or as a hobby, as we cover in our posts. Yet, the opportunities to see horses or spend time with them vary from one country to the next. For example, you might wonder whether there’s any chance of seeing an equine culture when you visit the Asian country of Vietnam.
The Basics of Horses in Vietnam
While Vietnam isn’t particularly known for its horses, you’ll see them being put to work in a variety of roles across the country. This is especially true in rural locations, while in cities they’re often owned by wealthy families who ride them at equestrian centres.
One of the interesting things about horses in Vietnam is that they have a breed known as the Vietnamese Hmong. These animals are white with blue eyes. They are descended from Mongolian horses, which played a big part in the history of horse riding. They’re small and sturdy, without a lot of maintenance needs, but capable of growing bigger if they’re looked after well.
How to See Horses Here?
One of the simplest ways to get in close contact with horses is to take a trip to a rural location. You’ll see them in many villages, while there are also some large horse breeding farms dotted across the land, such as the breeding centre at Song Cong town which is in the Thai Nguyen province.
Many working farms also use horses to help with daily tasks. Some visitors complain that their horses are often poorly looked after, but the truth is that many farmers see their animals simply as work tools. Hippo Farm in Bien Hoa is a more relaxed setting as it offers the chance to take part in various equestrian activities while staying in bungalows. They offer one-hour riding classes as well as a variety of group activities.
The Pony Club in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is another place where you can enjoy riding well-looked-after horses on a variety of different trips. Another option to consider is that of a riding tour, which is one of the best ways of getting to see the natural beauty of the country.
The atmospheric Cu Lan Village – Làng Cù Lần is one of the options you’ll see online. Classed by UNESCO as a heritage site and increasingly popular with travellers, it’s an ideal setting for getting out on a horse to explore the rolling countryside and soak up the traditional feel of the area.
Horses for Sports and Festivals
Like in many other parts of the world, Vietnam has a strong sporting tradition linked to horses. Horse racing began towards the end of the 19th century and while it’s been interrupted several times for various reasons, it remains a hugely popular activity among the Vietnamese people.
Most of the horses that take part are bred nationally, although a few dozen thoroughbred horses were imported from Australia at the start of this century to help them begin a thoroughbred breeding program in Vietnam.
There’s currently a single horse racing track here, which is the Saigon Racing Club. Renovated in 2005, it’s witnessed steady growth in recent years and there’s a thoroughbred racing meeting at the weekend just about every week of the year. Only thoroughbreds use a handicap system, with local ponies not having weight added to them before races.
Betting on international horses races is also permitted, as we can see on this site that introduces cá cược thể thao trực tuyến, which is the name for online sports betting in the Vietnamese language. They list a selection of global betting sites like 22Bet and 1XBet, that can be used by people in Vietnam looking to bet on horse races across the globe. A variety of local payment methods are accepted in Vietnam, and a welcome bonus is added when a new player signs up.
The future of horse racing here seems bright, with the Olympic horse-riding club in Lam Dong opening a couple of years ago. This is part of the country’s efforts to join the International Governing Body of Equestrian Sports so that they can take part in international equestrian competitions. For the moment, the annual horse racing event held in Bắc Hà town is one of the highlights of a trip here, with a traditional feel as the Hmong riders race around the track in front of an excited crowd.
As we’ve seen, there’s an interesting variety of ways of seeing the equine culture in different parts of Vietnam, ranging from the traditional to the modern.