Wall Street Journal – From the outside, there doesn’t appear to be anything special about Ren Ningning’s farm southeast of Beijing, tucked among plots of lotus root and other crops. But once beyond the redbrick wall and locked iron gate, a visitor enters into a rich man’s fantasy land—a sprawling, 100-acre equestrian estate with row after row of stables and some of the priciest horses in China.
There is a clubhouse filled with racing paraphernalia: saddles emblazoned with Chinese flags, medals and trophies from past victories, and an odd enormous floor lamp—in the shape of a horse, of course. Outside, there’s space for Ren’s 150 Australian, Japanese and Irish horses to exercise, as well as a 900-meter training track surrounded by wooded groves. Some of the stables are air-conditioned to make sure the thoroughbreds stay comfortable, and there is a swimming pool the horses can use to cool off in the summertime.
Ren, who built his wealth through a medley of businesses selling everything from car parts to concrete, has spared no expense to ensure his farm turns out the best-trained animals around. He set up a breeding station with an $800,000 Japanese black stallion and hired a full-time staff of 30 keepers and 15 jockeys. He has his own brand for his animals: A stylized “R,” for “Ren,” with a horseshoe underneath. Sometimes Ren wanders out himself for a ride, dressed in traditional riding attire, with a riding cap and whip.