Postcard from Japan: Riding Clinic Begins

The first day of the retired racehorse clinic in Japan, sponsored by the Japan Racing Association, the National Riding Club Association of Japan and Godolphin was very productive. We are very lucky to have the clinic at the Miki Horseland Park. The Miki is an unbelievable facility that has everything we need, including great indooor and outdoor arenas, classrooms and lecture rooms and a sensational stable.

We kicked the clinic off in the classroom where we spent some time discussing race horses in Japan. I believe Japan has a huge opportunity with over 7.000 race horses bred here every year. From what I saw at the Hanshin racetrack, these horses had the looks of top class sport horses. There are many more longer distance ‘staying’ races in Japan than in America, which suits a much more impressive, bigger-boned, rangier horse, that is also perfect for eventing, dressage or showjumping.

We worked about 20 off the track thoroughbreds in the indoor this afternoon. The riders were impressive: even some of the Japanese Olympic riders have joined the clinic on their young Japan-bred thoroughbreds. We started with some very basic flat work and rails on the ground since all of the horses were pretty excited to be at the clinic. We spent most of today’s session getting them relaxed, soft and supple.

I am very lucky to have my own translator by my side at all times. ‘Kozi’ is a Japanese steeplechase jockey who lives in Australia and has come over to the clinic. He is doing a superb job of translating everything I say all day….. I think!

Tomorrow we start jumping the horses a little higher.


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  1. So Cool
    What an incredible opportunity

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