I have wanted to visit this “retired race-horses’ haven” since it was broadcasted in a news NHK one day last Autumn.
According to the news, this ranch holds 90 horses, more than quarter of which being retired race horses.
The owner, Naoki Fujiwara had been bothered by the fact that in Japan, about 20,000 race horses retired are usually slaughtered every year.
So he made it one of his job to rescue those horses and give them their lifelong care.
Practically, the ranch encourages people to become an owner of a retired horse, and with monthly charges from them, takes care of the horse.
I was a bit worried about whether they are open or not, because since the big earthquake in Tohoku region, all Japan ( and many people overseas,too, to our gratitude )is mourning for the victims and many fun places are closed.
Encouraged by a friendly tone of the owner when I called , I drove a 15 minutes drive up from residential areas in Saku city.
There were a few other guests visiting the ranch to see and pet the horses and other small animals.
The dogs are very friendly, and so are the staff.
The owner has just finished instructing the horses for their morning exercise, and I could ask some questions to him.
How long have you been running this farm? ” About 25 years.”
Oh, I wish I knew about your farm when I was raising my kids. Kids must love this place.
“Yes, we have a small animals’ zoo for seeing and also for lending. We also have a delicious ice-cream cone starting from April.”
“We lend our small animals’zoo when local festivals are held, like at the local horse race in Mochizuki.”
Oh, I went to see the race before. I am from kawakami village.
“You are? just today one of your villagers came here to buy our manure.” Wow, it might be my neighboring farmer, which reminds me, by the way, of MY farming this year.
So how do you make this nursing care job your business, I mean how do you earn money?
“I don’t do only the nursing care job. I also breed horses along with other small animals, sell them , lend them. We also have horse riding lessons for both beginners and those who are experienced.”
Do you have a kind of restaurant and coffee shop in your farm?
“Yes, we open a restaurant from April, when it gets warmer. We can also accomodate people who want to experience horse riding and taking care of the horses.”
Here is a HP for the ranch in Japanese;http://www.bokujo.co.jp/
To get there, it is a 30 minutes drive from JR Sakudaira station.