03/30/2017 12:39PM

IFAR to hold aftercare conference in May in Washington

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The International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses will hold its first conference in Washington on May 17-18.

IFAR, which also has announced the launch of its website, is an independent forum recognizing geographical and industry differences among racing countries, designed to enhance Thoroughbred aftercare worldwide by raising awareness, improving education on lifetime horse care, and increasing the demand for former racehorses in other equestrian disciplines.

The organization’s inaugural event coincides with the Pan American Conference, hosted by The Jockey Club and Latin American Racing Channel in Washington from May 17-20 leading up to the Preakness Stakes in nearby Baltimore. 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.

"This aftercare conference provides horse-racing representatives from around the world with the opportunity to discuss the aftercare of our Thoroughbred racehorses," James Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club, said. "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 at the event will include Olympic event rider Boyd Martin and Old Friends founder and president Michael Blowen. Martin, the keynote speaker for May 17, has finished in the top 10 at every four-star event in the world except one. He rode the off-the-track Thoroughbred Blackfoot Mystery in the London Olympics last year. Blowen, who will give the keynote on May 18, founded Old Friends, which operates Thoroughbred retirement facilities in Kentucky and New York, more than a decade ago.

Speakers at the conference will represent many aspects of Thoroughbred aftercare and welfare, including retraining horses, promoting Thoroughbreds as competition mounts, connecting aftercare to bettors, and developing non-racing agreements for owners. Other prominent groups and organizations represented will include the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Au-delà des Pistes in France, International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, Japanese Racing Association, Racing Queensland, Racing Victoria (Raelene Harrison), Retired Racehorse Project, Retraining of Racehorses in the United Kingdom, The Humane Society of the United States, and The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program.

"We hope to promote the versatility and adaptability of Thoroughbreds globally," said Di Arbuthnot, chief executive of 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."

For more information, visit the newly launched website at internationalracehorseaftercare.com.