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A young man in Xinjiang chases his dream on horseback

Shiliuyun-Xinjiang Daily (Reporter Wei Hongping) news: A young man riding a tall horse galloped along the mountain road. As he approached the mountain peak platform of the Haxiongou scenic area in Baiyanghe Kazak Township, Midong District, Urumqi City, he lightly stepped on the stirrup, slightly clamped his legs, pulled the reins tight, and stopped the galloping horse.

This young man, whose name is Aernati Abudulimanlanpu, hails from Yuxibuzao Village, Baiyanghe Kazak Township. He is currently attending Yili Normal University and is about to graduate this June. During the May Day holiday, he led his own team of horses to provide customized tourism services for tourists at the scenic spot. Through this, Aernati and his teammates made a profit.

Photo taken on May 4, 2024 shows Aernati Abudulimanlanpu at Haxionggou scenic spot in Urumqi City, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. (Photo by Shiliuyun-Xinjiang Daily/ Wei Hongping)

"During the May Day holiday, many tourists showed a keen interest in horse riding." To attract more tourists, Aernati made reservations for riding routes and introduced the condition of the horses in his WeChat group in advance, providing personalized services for the tourists. "Many members in this group are my previous customers who like my services."

Each morning at sunrise, Aernati tends to his four horses and then loads them into a rented vehicle for the trip to Haxiongou. His home, nestled at the mountain's base, is a 10-kilometer drive from the summit. Given the demanding day of work that the horses will have serving the guests, he opts to drive them up the hill.

Aernati grew up in a pastoral area, and his father was passionate about horse racing. Hence, their standards for horse breeds are quite high. Each of their horses is well-fed and robust. Just like his father, Aernati loves horses, considering them his best companions.

During university, every winter and summer vacation, Aernati has a part-time job at the Haxiongou scenic spot, earning some income with his horses. "I haven't asked my family for money for a long time. I pay for my university education mainly by renting horses and guiding tourists," Aernati said. This May Day holiday, the number of tourists exceeded Aernati's expectations, with each horse earning him four to five thousand yuan. This has given him more confidence to start a business in his hometown.

In November 2023, Aernati found a short video of "Wild Ranch" on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. This horse farm located in Nanshan scenic spot in Urumqi, and the account continuously posts videos of various horse-riding activities, attracting tourists from both inside and outside Xinjiang. Aernati was inspired by this, "There are many young people who love horse riding, each having a dream of being a knight errant. I also want to establish my own horse team."

Aernati shared his idea with his friends in the village, and some of them, who also liked to ride, responded positively. Soon, Aernati had his own horse team. He gave the team a cool name, "Wind Chaser," and started designing a logo. Today, the team has eight members, the oldest being 24 and the youngest being 18.

Aernati, who studied electronic information technology at the university, gave up the chance to work in a big city after graduation and decided to start a business in the village. Aernati believes that "I'm still young, so I'll try everything and do the things I like to make myself not regret it."

Aernati has been exploring and experimenting with ways to enhance the horseback riding tourism experience. Being familiar with the surroundings of the Haxionggou scenic spot, he has been taking his tourists on wilderness trips from Duopozigou to Tianshan Tianchi Lake. This journey involves crossing four to five mountain ranges and includes eight to nine hours of riding. Aernati's innovative exploration not only caters to the desires of adventurous tourists but also provides him with an additional source of income.

Aernati has set his sights on an idle horse farm situated not far from his home. "This place used to offer horseback riding services. However, the operator had to shut it down due to some family issues. And I want to take it over," he explained. Aernati mentioned that the site is spacious, complete with a hotel, and he believes that by establishing his "Wind Chaser" brand there, he can undoubtedly attract more tourists to come and enjoy themselves.

"I have a WeChat group with over 80 members now, all of whom are horse riding enthusiasts," Aernati said. "My dream is to have my own horse farm in the future, owning more quality horses, attracting more tourists to my hometown, letting them experience galloping through the vast open land like me, and falling in love with our Xinjiang."

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