Wu sent a force to Dayuan, a country in the valley, to capture horses for future breeding but was defeated. The emperor tried again with a stronger force and this time was triumphant. The expedition returned with dozens of high-quality Akhal-teke horses and 3,000 medium-quality specimens.
Chen said his effort to import the horses was expensive, long and troublesome. Sometimes it resulted in the animals’ death.
More than 100 staff attended to the horses, which had been on public display since 2016 at Chen’s horse culture park, he said.
He said he aimed to expand the herd to 1,000 horses within eight years.
He had yet to reap any financial return from the endeavour because he had been unwilling to sell the horses, he said.
Chen, 55, said he sought to bring the best of the Akhal-teke horses back to China to “realise the emperor Wu’s dream” of making the country more “combat-effective”.
“If the dragon is the totem of China, the horse represents the spirit of the Chinese,” Chen said.
“Our children learn arts and piano and dancing while foreign children learn taekwondo, equestrian [skills] and karate.