Katsuji Takashima experienced a tragedy early in his jockey career at the age of 23 before he had a single victory. Unfortunately, Takashima fell from his horse and sustained rather serious injuries forcing him to retire from the Japan Racing Association. Although he’s a former jockey and racer he has always loved working with horses and has decided to change his focus towards equestrian.

After recovering from his injuries he was quick to get back on a horse and is setting his sights on local equestrian meets with the hope of representing Japan in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. The biggest challenge that he faces in guiding horses is with his grip. Due to paralysis caused by his fall it’s difficult for him to handle the reins on any course and is a resort he compensates for this loss of control by shifting his body weight to guide the animal through equestrian events.

He continues to work with a number of different horses placing emphasis on the speed of the gait using his own unique style of riding. Because of his experience in high-speed horseracing he is extremely comfortable controlling horses at top speed even with his disability.

Takashima has a goal of bringing home a big victory in the form of a metal at the Paralympics. He’s been riding since his first year of middle school. He had nearly given up hope when he retired from horse racing at the end of September 2015 unable to control the reins on the horses. Since then he has been building up his confidence and strength in his thighs and knees. By working with a specialty riding club in Ichihara he is hoping to make the grade 2 disability qualifications for the Paralympic games. With no obstacles to jump in this classification Takashima should be able to use his unique style of riding to generate impressive results in competition.

Source: The Japan News

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