August 2017 / Amdo-Tibet ~ we went to another nearby region of the Gannan Prefecture (Amdo Tibet) called Maqu to meet up with long time local mates for a relaxed "grasslands" picnic lunch, stopping over to have a quick walkabout checking out the heavy preparations and horse training for the Gesar Horse Racing Festival 2017. Maqu County is an administrative district in Gansu, the People's Republic of China. It is one of 58 counties of Gansu. It is part of the Gannan Prefecture. Its postal code is 747300, and in 1999 its population was 36,213 people. The area of Maqu County is 10,191 km2 with an average altitude of 3,700m. Maqu County receives high rainfall and is located at the northern edge of the Zoigê Marshes on the Yellow River where conditions are optimal for alpine meadow vegetation. Gansu goes to the Races ~ seemingly unending grasslands and the captivating landscape of the Maqu Prairie in Gansu province is often a serene and tranquil affair, only interrupted by the occasional bird call or whistle of wind. However, as summer begins to end each year, that silence is broken by a tremendous rumble of thunder, the ground vibrating as hundreds of horses from across the country take part in the Gesar Horse Racing Festival. Maqu county has been dubbed the “Home of Horse Racing” by the China National Sports Bureau and Chinese Equestrian Association and has hosted the Gesar Horse Racing Festival for the past 10 years. The 11th. Gesar Horse Racing Festival Maqu County (Gansu Province / Amdo Tibet) August 2017 event had a total of 643 riders of 40 delegations from 31 counties engaged, including Gansu Province, Qinghai Province, Sichuan Province, Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province and Tibet Autonomous Region.The festival (carnival type with food & beverage stalls, entertainment & amusement, etc.) each year will attract tens of thousands of spectators and tourists from across China, its an absolute traffic mess and we had other commitments that particular weekend and have been to quite a few Tibet / Mongolia horse racing festivals before.