Jeju Island hosts 1st international horse riding marathon

November 7, 2013

By Park Si-soo

The country’s first international horse-riding marathon will be held on Jeju Island Nov. 16-17 with some 300 participants, including 60 from China, Japan, Malaysia and Mongolia, vying for the inaugural championship.

Winners of the 80-kilometer and 40-kilometer race will earn a ticket to compete in other international races, according to the event’s organizer. Professionals in the 80-kilometer race are required to cross the finish line within 12 hours to have their time recognized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, while the deadline is set at six hours for the 40-kilometer race, it said.

For amateur riders, the organizer will offer 20-kilometer and 10-kilometer races.

“The domestic demand for horseback riding continues to increase. The upcoming event is expected to give additional momentum to it,” the organizing committee said in a statement. “The competition will also provide an opportunity to promote the excellence of horses bred on Jeju.”

The island is the country’s biggest habitat of racehorses. As of the end of 2011, 2,477 racehorses were bred at 220 stock farms across the country, with nearly 80 percent of them raised on Jeju, according to the Korea Racing Authority (KRA).

“Jeju horses are said to be more powerful ­ and faster than horses raised in other parts of the country,” said an organizing committee official. In fact, a Jeju-born racehorse, named K-pop, won a Malaysian race in May, the first event of this kind that could lead to rising demand for domestic horses in the Southeastern Asian country. K-pop was born in 2009 on Jeju and exported to Malaysia in 2011, according to the KRA.

For more information about the upcoming event, call the organizing committee at 064-740-6791 or visit its website cafe.naver.com/jier.

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