The blue skies and searing heat of the Okinawan summer have finally given way

to brightly coloured leaves and cool breezes.

Why not bask in the joy of the Fall season and try your hand at horse back riding?

Located in the highlands of Uruma City Mihara lies “Mihara Riding Club”.

Their horses are visible from the road,

and anyone who lives in Uruma City has seen them on their way to work or around town. Recently,

I had the chance to visit this riding club- it was one of the most luxurious experiences I’ve ever had,

with a view of the sea that stretched beyond as I rode horseback.

When I stepped food into the stables,

I was greeted by a wide arrange of horses, from thoroughbreads,

to Miyako horses, ponies and more.

Amongst the thoroughbreads are horses that have competed in Grade I races such as the Arima Memorial Race and the Emperors Award Race.

There are even horses who’ve been ridden by internationally acclaimed Japanese jockys.

The horse I rode on was a thoroughbread named Big Nakayama.

He’s raced in several GI races, and has taken first place at both the Nakayama and Tokyo race course!


Even now reporters and fans travel to Okinawa just to visit him. He’s currently 23 years old (around 80 years old in horse years),

but he has maintained his dignified gate, and is still the active horse he has always been.

His calm personality makes him a wonderful riding horse as well,

says instructor Yukio Yamashita.

Riding is about communication- it’s important for the horse and rider to get to know eachother.

Since horses remember a riders voice,

I make sure to feed him snacks and speak to him gently before I saddle up.


After this, I grab the horse’s reins and lead him to the arena.

Horses will walk in the direction the rider is looking,

so if you look at their face while walking or wander aimlessly the horse will get confused.

Remember to look face forward and walk straight!

After walking around and getting to know one another,

it’s finally time to ride my horse!

When I climb into the saddle my perspective completely changes,

and suddenly there’s over 2 metres between my eyes and the ground!

I start slowly, syncing with eachother as we walk and gently elevate the pace.

Even if you start to pick up speed your instructor will be there telling you exactly what to do,

so there’s no need to feel nervous. Apparently,

riders with a sense of rythm and a strong core improve the quickest.

Most people assume that ponies are just smaller horses,

but do you know the difference between these two breeds?

A horse is measured from it’s withers (the raised area at the base of a horse’s neck)

to the ground. An animal that measures shorter than 147 cm is classified as a pony,

while anything taller is a horse.

There’s even more trivia to learn!

What do you think this is? It’s a horse’s certification booklet,

the horse equivalent of a human’s health insurance card.

Listed inside is the horse’s birth place, travel history,

vaccination and medical history, which are used as a basis for maintaining a horse’s health.

Horses also recieve yearly shots similar to humans, such as influenza,

Japanese encephalitis, and tetnas vaccines.

These horses are in constant contact with their riders,

and so are raised under very careful conditions.

What makes this experience so much fun isn’t just riding horses,

but the chance to learn all about these complex creatures.

The barn is filled with several veteran instructors such as Ms. Yamashita,

so no matter what your experience (or lack thereof) with horses may be,

you can ride safely and comfortably.

“Riding horseback with a view of the sea is just out of this world,” says Mr. Yamashita.

So come on over for a taste of ocean breezes and fall riding.

Horse Back Riding in the Wind Mihara Riding Club

Mihara Riding Club

Location / Uruma City Ishikawa Higashionna1495-7

Telephone | Fax Number / 098-973-6288

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