Boyd Martin’s Seminar on Retraining Off-the-track-thoroughbreds, Northern Horse Park, Hokkaido, Japan

Boyd’s first day of teaching in Japan included both a seminar and a ridden clinic. Boyd shared a gallery of photos on Facebook, and following is a press release:
After Boyd introduced himself and his experience, he spoke to the 70 interested attendees on the advantages of utilizing the retired racehorse as a potential sport horse and giving these wonderful animals a second career. Boyd spoke very highly of the Japanese thoroughbred and all of its wonderful attributes that make it the perfect horse to work with in redirecting its life after finishing its racing career. He then spoke on the important techniques and considerations when retraining retired racehorses. With the aid of footage of him in competition, Boyd then focused on the success he has had with retired racehorses which he has retrained.
There was then a discussion session where Takeshi Shirai (former Olympian rider), Sayaka Nakagaki (Makomomai Riding Club representative) and Toshihiro Momose (Momose Riding Club) talked with Boyd about their personal experiences of riding off-the-track thoroughbreds. This was followed by a Q&A session in which attendees had an opportunity to ask Boyd directly on specific aspects of training and redirecting the former racehorses.
Following the lunch break, the clinic moved to Northern Horse Park’s indoor riding arena where Boyd was presented with three off-the-track thoroughbreds in different stages of their careers. The first horse had just finished racing and had never jumped previously. Boyd gave great insight on how he would show a thoroughbred how to jump its first fences. The second horse was a little bit further along in his training and the session was more focused on improving the horse’s jumping style and technique. Boyd built a number of gymnastic exercises to gently improve the horse throughout the session. The final horse was a nine-year-old thoroughbred even further on in his career. The session was much more focused around competition ring riding. The clinic auditors helped build a complete jumping course in the arena. After warming the horse up after some simple exercises, the session was purely focused on jumping courses in which this horse will be challenged with at shows in the future.
It was an extremely productive day in which all of the participants felt like they had benefited from the education. Everyone was extremely appreciative to Boyd Martin, the JRA, Godolphin, the Riding Club Association of Japan and Northern Horse Park for arranging the clinic.
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