The International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) will hold its first conference in Washington, D.C., on May 17 and 18, 2017, coinciding with the Pan American Conference.
“This aftercare conference provides horse racing representatives from around the world with the opportunity to discuss the aftercare of our Thoroughbred racehorses,” said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club. “In addition to the major racing nations, we hope to include racing and aftercare representatives from smaller countries and emerging racing nations who share our mission to provide proper care of Thoroughbreds during their lifetimes.”
Speakers will represent many aspects of Thoroughbred aftercare and welfare, from promoting and retraining to connecting aftercare to bettors and developing non-racing agreements for owners.
Boyd Martin, a three-day event rider, is the keynote speaker on Wednesday. He has finished in the top 10 at every four-star event in the world except Badminton (England). Originally from Australia, Martin moved to the United States in 2007. One of his best-known horses is Blackfoot Mystery, an off-track Thoroughbred.
Thursday’s keynote address will be given by Michael Blowen, founder and president of Old Friends and former film critic of the Boston Globe. Old Friends is a Thoroughbred retirement facility consisting of two farms, one in Kentucky and one in New York, that provide homes for pensioned stallions and other Thoroughbreds whose careers in racing and breeding have come to an end.
Representatives from prominent groups such as the American Association of Equine Practitioners (Kathleen Anderson), Au-delà des Pistes in France (Lisa-Jane Graffard), International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, Japanese Racing Association (Takahiro Nishio), Racing Queensland (Dr. Eliot Forbes), Racing Victoria (Raelene Harrison), Retired Racehorse Project (Steuart Pittman), Retraining of Racehorses in the United Kingdom (Di Arbuthnot), The Humane Society of the United States (Wayne Pacelle), The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program (Kristin Leshney), and Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (Stacie Clark Rogers) will provide their perspective insights on Thoroughbred aftercare.
IFAR is an independent forum that recognizes geographical and industry differences among racing countries and is designed to enhance Thoroughbred aftercare worldwide. Working with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, IFAR will raise awareness of the importance of welfare for Thoroughbreds, improve education on lifetime care, and help increase demand for former racehorses in other equestrian sports.
Attendance at the IFAR conference, which is hosted by The Jockey Club and supported by Godolphin, is open to all racing jurisdictions, aftercare organizations and other interested parties.
“We hope to promote the versatility and adaptability of Thoroughbreds globally,” said Di Arbuthnot, chief executive, Retraining of Racehorses. “We want the world to know that Thoroughbreds can excel in other equestrian sports as well as they excel in racing, and they also make fantastic companions, hacks, therapeutic horses – the list goes on.”
IFAR has also announced the launch of its website, internationalracehorseaftercare.com, which is a resource for anyone interested in the welfare of Thoroughbreds. The website features the IFAR Principles of Aftercare, which have been developed in collaboration with IFAR steering group members and welfare specialists drawing on the expertise of international governing bodies. It will also provide educational resources, expert support, and updates on IFAR and its members.
“IFAR is committed to bringing together the organizations from around the world that facilitate and promote the retraining of racehorses to share expertise and best practices,” said Dr. Eliot Forbes, CEO, Racing Queensland, chair, Racing Australia, Retirement of Racehorses Committee. “In addition to information and resources focusing on aftercare, the website will provide inspirational content and showcase achievements on a global scale.”
The Pan American Conference, hosted by The Jockey Club and the Latin American Racing Channel, is a mix of business and social events that will take place in Washington, D.C., May 17 - 20, 2017, in the days leading up to the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. Attendance of the IFAR Conference includes the social events of the Pan American Conference on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. For more information on the Pan American Conference, visit panamdc2017.com.