A conference on racehorse aftercare is to be held next month in Washington, DC, with US eventer Boyd Martin one of the keynote speakers.
The May 17-18 event will be the first conference of the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR), and will coincide with the Pan American Conference (May 17-20).
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.
Australian-born eventer Boyd Martin is the keynote speaker on Wednesday. Martin, who moved to the US in 2007, has finished in the top 10 at every four-star event in the world except Badminton. 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.
Jockey Club president and chief operating officer James Gagliano said racing and aftercare representatives from major racing nations would be joined by delegates from smaller countries and emerging racing nations “who share our mission to provide proper care of Thoroughbreds during their lifetimes.”
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.
Representatives from prominent groups including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Au-delà des Pistes (France), International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, Retraining of Racehorses (UK), Japanese Racing Association, Racing Queensland, Racing Victoria, Retired Racehorse Project, The Humane Society of the United States, The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program, and Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, will provide their respective insights on Thoroughbred aftercare.
“We hope to promote the versatility and adaptability of Thoroughbreds globally,” said Di Arbuthnot, Retraining of Racehorses chief executive. “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 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.