For the last few days we have been riding along the floodplain between the Huang He and the desert. Sometimes along earth tracks through fields of maize and sunflowers, sometimes across areas of fallow sandy grassland where little chunky Chinese swallows follow us, swooping right under the horses noses. At one point we rode along the embankment right beside the swirling waters of the Huang He itself, with our retinue of swallows darting around us - a magical experience. To the south we can almost always see a low line of sandhills, and at one point rode through them on the road.
However we have also had quite a bit of rain. The day before yesterday we had to abandon riding after only 11kms due to the wind and rain, though Peng found us a very clean and comfortable fish restaurant to take refuge in and spend the night. And this is supposed to be a desert area!
We are grazing the horses as much as possible as Peng is worried the hay supplies will not last a couple of weeks until we can pick up more in Yinchuan. However, if the worst comes to the worst, we can always buy maize stalks.