Uma-harashi horse racing held in Okinawa Zoo & Museum

<em>Uma-harashi</em> horse racing held in Okinawa Zoo & Museum

In uma-harashi, two horses run at the same time, competing on the beauty of their running style and the accuracy of their rhythm. At the Okinawa Kodomo no Kuni, Zoo & Museum in Okinawa City on December 1.


December 2, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

Okinawan traditional horse racing, known locally as uma-harashi, was held at the Okinawa Kodomo no Kuni, Zoo & Museum in Okinawa City on December 1. Participants competed on the beauty of their running style and the accuracy of their rhythm. A total of 30 horses, including native Okinawan breeds and others from the West, took part from various parts of the prefecture.

A Yonaguni uma horse called Dunan, which belongs to the Okinawa Kodomo no Kuni, won its third consecutive title.

The horses run parallel to each other using a unique Okinawan style of moving their right front and rear legs at the same time. The jockeys wear clothes made of Chibana hana-ui with characteristic white patterns against an indigo blue background. They also wear traditional Kumejima Island folk articles.

Ryuta Goya, who rode Dunan, said, “I practiced going as fast as I can. I’m happy and relieved to win.”

First-time participant Shinnosuke from Kumejima Island took second place. Keiko Inoue, who rode the horse, said, “I’m a bit surprised. I didn’t expect to come second. I’m glad that he performed so well.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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