A fresh fodder bank, or Nama Bokuso Bank, has gained popularity among horse racing fans who want to give retired horses something good to eat.
Chuo Bokuso Center Corp., a Yotsukaido, Chiba Prefecture-based company that produces animal feed, is operated by Chuo Bokuso Center Corp. Fans can purchase fresh fodder online and have the company deliver it to their favorite horses.
More than 200 retired racehorses have been registered on the service, and more than 2,000 people have registered themselves to be donors.
The service also helps ranches, which are having to deal with the surging price of animal feed. A company representative said that everyone would be happy with horses, ranches, horse racing fans.
Their fodder consists of grasses and legumes, according to the company. Fresh stuff just after harvest makes for a special treat for herbivores, compared to hay.
Fresh fodder can't be kept for long and is costly. The company, which was established in 1975, has produced feed for racehorses competing at such venues as the Nakayama Racecourse in Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture.
The company increased the production of near-naturally grown fodder. In 1990, the company labeled this offering Nama Bokuso, and began retail sales.
The company cultivates various kinds of fodder at six production sites in and outside Chiba Prefecture, making it possible to provide year-round fresh grass, which is usually grown in summer.
In the midst of the novel coronavirus crisis, imported animal feeds shot up in price in the summer of 2021 due to disruptions of maritime transportation. Ranch operators came to the company for help.
The company gave fresh fodder free of charge, but it wasn't clear how long it could keep it up.
Joko Masuda, 43, senior managing director of the company, then drew inspiration from how owners of racehorses had purchased fresh fodder as gifts for their horses. The company began its online service in October of last year from a desire to assist both ranches and horses without burdening anyone. Those who wish to donate may choose their favorite horses registered on the Nama Bokuso BankNama Bokuso Bank website, and then purchase fresh fodder.
One box contains about five kilograms of fodder, serving as two meals for a horse and costing 6,000 with tax.
Donors can choose to have a designated number of boxes delivered every month, or purchase a bite-size portion for 2,000.
When the company registers a new horse on the website, it confirms whether the operators of the horse ranch are ready to accept fresh fodder. The volume sent is adjusted to avoid surpluses and burdens the ranches.
More and more horses are being registered on the site in order to meet the wishes of horse racing fans, according to the company.
A social media account for Yogibo Versailles Resort Farm in Hidaka, Hokkaido, features videos of famous racehorses devouring fresh green grass delivered through the service. The horses include Tanino Gimlet, who won a derby title in 2002.
Fresh fodder is also delivered to Urakawa Yushun Village Aeru, a tourist resort where visitors can take a ride on horseback in Urakawa, Hokkaido.
Atsushi Ota, 37, manager of the resort, welcomed the scheme, saying it's unbelievable that we can provide fresh fodder in winter. It is a wonderful project. Masuda said that we hope lots of fans will use our service to deliver a box of good will to the horses.