Ex-racehorses are getting a new advocacy group with the establishment of a international forum to help protect and retrain thoroughbreds after their racing career.
The International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) will include representatives from Australia, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan and the United States. It was formally unveiled at the ‘Lifetime Care for Thoroughbreds: Godolphin Forum’, late last month in Newmarket, Britain.
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 international racing giant Godolphin.
In recent years several 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.
IFHA’s Horse Welfare Committee chairman Jamie Stier said there was now a better understanding and greater recognition that the 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.”
IFHA vice-president and US Jockey Club president Jim Gagliano said the Jockey Club was delighted to be a founding member of IFAR. “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,” he said.
“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.”