People organized a sluggish horse race in Hokkaidō, and the quickest finishing horses would not have won.
Pace is still the most important thing in horse racing around the world. But for Ban’ei, a form of horse racing on the Japanese island of Hokkaidō, strength and stamina came first, according to Odd.
Ban’ei racing horses (also known as banba) are distinctive from other fast-running purebred horses. They weigh up to 1,200 kg and are twice the size of the tiny Dosanko ponies, native to Hokkaidō. Banba is a hybrid horse from France and Belgium, which originated in Japan at the end of the 19th century to support farmers with farming.
It is actually considered a Japanese breed and is capable of bearing and pulling large loads. It is also used in reverse horse racing on the island called: the slowest horse racing in the world.
In order to compete in the game, the Ban’ei race horses must pull sleds weighing between 450 kg and a ton on the sand track. They could pass at least two steep roads, too.
So they don’t have to push their animals to move quickly. Simply put, they only need to inspire the horse to go on. They can also ask the horse to stop relaxing because they have to clear two obstacles. The animal that wins does not depend on how quick or slow it is, but the winner is the one that has the power to drag the sled to the finish.
The game dates back to 1887, but it was not until the 20th century that the sport became popular in Hokkaidō. At its heyday in 1991, sluggish horse races took place in the cities of Obihiro, Asahikawa, Kitami and Iwamizawa. Ticket purchases totalled more than 32 billion yen (6,853 billion dong). However, not long after the Japanese economy entered a period of contraction, only one horse racing track existed in Obihiro in 2006.