The Japan Racing Association (JRA) opened its new Rehabilitation Research Center in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture on May 26, with five thoroughbreds taking a swim. The facility is specially designed for rehabilitating injured horses so that they can return to the racetrack.
Under beautiful blue skies, Meisho Dassai, JRA's best horse which was injured in 2020, was led around a donut-shaped outdoor pool by a trainer. Occasionally snorting and drinking water, the horse swam 3 or 4 laps in the pool, which has a 40 meter circumference and is about 3 meters deep.
Training in a swimming pool helps enhance cardiopulmonary function without straining the horse’s legs. These exercises are done almost every day during the week until mid-October, and visitors are welcome to watch it for free.
"I feel the power of horses swimming and breathing," said manager and veterinarian Kazumichi Kodaira, eagerly promoting the center.
A 42-year-old office worker and a horse racing fan from Kashiwa City in Chiba Prefecture, said delightedly, "I didn't think I could see a horse swimming in front of me!"
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(Read the article in Japanese at this link.)
Author: The Sankei Shimbun