A new international forum that will bring together the official and national operations based around the world that facilitate and promote the retraining of racehorses has been formally unveiled at the ‘Lifetime Care for Thoroughbreds: Godolphin Forum’ in Newmarket, United Kingdom.
The International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) will include representatives from Australia, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan and the United States.
Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of the leading equine charity, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), introduced the concept for IFAR on the final day of a three-day conference, organised and hosted by Godolphin.
In recent years a number of initiatives in various international regions have been successful in promoting the versatility of racehorses and their ability to adapt to alternative careers after racing. The establishment of an international forum will enable these experiences to be shared, for best practices to be adopted and for advice to be given to all racing jurisdictions regarding caring for and the retraining of former racehorses.
IFAR will work alongside the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) and act as an assembly for discussion, recognising geographical and industry differences, to help take racing aftercare to a new level all around the world.
Paul Roy, Chairman of Retraining of Racehorses, said: “RoR has developed into a vehicle for the practical retraining of horses for different disciplines and works to pursue this proactive approach with benefit of consulting like-minded international bodies while recognising cultural differences across the globe. IFAR is a natural next step in our journey.”
Diana Cooper, Strategic Advisor, Charities at Godolphin, said: “As one of the largest racing stables and breeding operations in the world, Godolphin works tirelessly to take the lead in both the lifetime care of horses and in the professional development of people working in our industry. The passion for the sport extends beyond the racetrack as Godolphin aims to have a positive long-lasting impact on the industry and racing communities worldwide.”
“Godolphin organised the ‘Lifetime Care for Thoroughbreds Forum’ in Newmarket to build on the progress made in Kentucky last year, when we first brought key advocates together to discuss these important issues. We are still very much at the start of a journey but we are greatly encouraged by what has been achieved in the last few days and that it has culminated in Retraining of Racehorses unveiling IFAR. We want to continue on this journey and we look forward to supporting IFAR when it hosts its first international conference in October 2017.”
Jamie Stier, Chairman of IFHA’s Horse Welfare Committee, welcomed the launch of IFAR: “Encouragingly, there is now a better understanding and greater recognition that our shared responsibility for the welfare of racehorses extends beyond their career on the racetrack. With awareness of the versatility of former racehorses increasing and more success stories being promoted, the time is right to pool learnings from around the world so that best practice and standards can be applied internationally.”
From the United States, Jim Gagliano, President of The Jockey Club and Vice Chairman of IFHA, said: “Through initiatives such as the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Thoroughbred Incentive Program, The Jockey Club is playing an active role in promoting the retraining of racehorses in North America and we are delighted to be one of the founding members of IFAR.”
“Promoting equine welfare both during and after a horse’s racing career is vital in ensuring the public’s confidence in the sport is maintained and is integral to the future health of horseracing. I would also like to thank Godolphin for hosting this forum and for bringing together like-minded parties from around the world.”