The second International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR), held during the 37th Asian Racing Conference in Seoul, South Korea, concluded Monday with discussions of global aftercare efforts and the significance of these efforts as part of the racing industry.
With representatives from jurisdictions across Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and the UK, the topic of responsibility for horses bred and raced around the world was unanimous.
Lyndon Barends, the chief executive of The National Horseracing Authority of South Africa and the keynote speaker at the forum, stressed the significance of aftercare as being a priority to the racing industry. “Everyone in the racing and breeding industries derives their salary from the horse,” he said. “Aftercare cannot be an afterthought. It’s critical to the industry as a whole.”
“Every jurisdiction in the racing industry should take steps to develop infrastructure to assist horses when they retire from racing, and IFAR is there to assist by providing insight, education, and expertise,” said Di Arbuthnot, the chair of IFAR and the chief executive of Retraining of Racehorses, an aftercare organization in the UK.
Representatives from Japan and Korea spoke of the advances and newly developed work regarding aftercare of Thoroughbreds within the racing industry in their regions.
Jock Hutchison of Horseback UK spoke of the intelligence and sensitivity of the Thoroughbred that makes it the ideal breed to assist war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. He noted that Thoroughbreds can be just as beneficial for humans as humans can be for Thoroughbreds.
Erin Crady from Thoroughbred Charities of America described the efforts to rescue horses affected by Hurricane Maria and the means through which the organization was able to raise the necessary funds to assist these animals, while Martin Burns of New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing touched on the traceability of all Thoroughbreds and the importance of capturing data. He predicted that strong welfare guidelines will be in place in New Zealand by 2019.
Godolphin’s head of global charity and one of the founders of IFAR, Diana Cooper, commented that “the horses we breed give us such pleasure, and they deserve a good life from cradle to grave. Aftercare is non-negotiable.”
On Thursday at the ARC’s Equine Welfare seminar, Frances Nelson QC, the chair of Racing Australia, will talk about Australia’s initiatives involving early foal registration and the emphasis on increasing the traceability of racehorses. James L. Gagliano, president and COO of The Jockey Club, will delve into IFAR’s strategic goals and the significance of the Man O’ War Project, which aims to determine the effectiveness of equine therapy on helping military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The 2018 IFAR conference was hosted by the Asian Racing Conference and proudly supported by Godolphin Lifetime Care and The Jockey Club.