In Hokkaido, the people who organize a slow horse race and the horses finish the fastest do not necessarily win. In horse races around the world, speed is always the most important thing.
But for Banei, a form of horse racing on the island of Hokkaido, Japan, strength and endurance are considered above all, according to Odd. Banei race horses that’s also known as banba unlike other fast-running thoroughbred horses.
They weigh up to 1,200 kg and are twice as big as the small breed Dosankos, native to Hokkaido. Banba is a crossbreed horse from France and Belgium, appearing in Japan since the late 19th century to help farmers work in the fields.
Currently, it is considered a Japanese horse breed and is capable of carrying, pulling large loads. It is also used in paradoxical horse races on the island called the slowest horse race in the world. To participate in the game, Banei race horses have to pull sleds weighing 450 kg to one ton on the sand race. They must also cross at least two steep ramps.
The horse trainer also participates in the race. But they don’t have to push their animals to run fast. Simply, they just need to encourage the horse to come forward. They can even ask the horse to stop to rest when having to overcome two obstacles.
The winning animal does not depend on how fast or slow it is, but whoever has the strength to pull the sled to the finish is the champion. During the heyday of 1991, the slow horse race was held in the cities of Obihiro, Asahikawa, Kitami, and Iwamizawa. Ticket sales amount to over 32 billion yen.
However, shortly thereafter, the Japanese economy entered a period of recession, leaving only one horse race in Obihiro. The Banei slow horse race is recognized as an important cultural heritage in Hokkaido. Large sponsors of many companies have invested and spent money to preserve and develop this heritage.