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news Norway hosts Europe's first international aftercare conference

16th May 2019
  • Third IFAR conference gets underway today in Oslo
  • Three representatives from RoR selected as presenters

The third conference of the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) takes place today in Oslo, Norway, the first time it has been held in Europe. Among the keynote speakers are three representatives from Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), British racing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses.

The conference, at Øvrevoll Racetrack in Oslo, is being held in conjunction with the European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation’s (EMHF) General Assembly.

Di Arbuthnot, RoR Chief Executive and chair of the IFAR steering group, will present an “aftercare toolkit” for racing authorities, providing practical strategies for the challenges faced by racing jurisdictions seeking to implement an aftercare programme.

Also speaking to the IFAR delegates will be Paul Jepson, RoR Welfare Consultant, and Richard Ramsay, the Berkshire based showing producer.

Paul Jepson will present on Equine Welfare, sharing his experience from four years as RoR’s Welfare Consultant, while Richard Ramsay is hosting an open forum on the versatility of the thoroughbred for other equestrian disciplines. Ramsay has overseen the retraining of many racehorses for successful second careers, including What Of It, who in 2018 won RoR championship showing finals at both Hickstead and Aintree.

The conference also features case studies from Greece and France, countries that have recently established aftercare programmes. Dr. Niki Markogianni of Hippolysis Equine Therapy Center will represent Greece, and Alix Choppin of Au-Delà Des Pistes will speak on behalf of France.

Diana Cooper, strategic advisor of charities for Godolphin, will conclude the conference with a discussion on owners’ responsibility in aftercare.

Di Arbuthnot said: “We are excited to be bringing the third IFAR conference to the European region, and we thank the EMHF for inviting us to be part of their annual general assembly. It is so valuable being able to learn about what other jurisdictions are doing and to share best practice. More and more countries are appreciating the importance and benefits of having a proper aftercare programme.”

James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club (USA) said: “IFAR conferences are increasingly providing racing jurisdictions across the globe with a forum to better understand the welfare needs of Thoroughbreds and their aftercare requirements. I look forward to sharing progress that has been made by IFAR over the past two years as well as learning about welfare strategies that are working in Europe.”

Gagliano and Andrew Chesser, secretary general of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, will lead a discussion on challenges facing racing’s regulators when it comes to aftercare.

The first ever IFAR conference was held in 2017 in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the Pan American Conference, and last year in Seoul, South Korea, the second conference took place alongside the Asian Racing Conference.

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