The Federation will share best practice in horse racing education and training between countries. A most important aspect of the Federation will be the development of an international standard of skills for the various career roles within the industry for jockeys, trainers and stable employees. These standards will form an International Horse Racing Industry Skills Passport that will create a baseline in international standards for workers within the horse racing industry. The creation of a Student Exchange Program between countries will be a bonus to all of the students and trainees.
“The second of January is a memorable day in the history of horse racing,” said Ms Lara Sawaya, the newly elected president of IFHRA. “All arrangements have been completed to register the federation with the authorities pursuant to the decree issued under law No. 7 of 1980. We are targeting the future by creating a strong base for horse racing including both Arabians and Thoroughbreds to serve the new generations.”
“Our immediate objective is to ensure the establishment of racing academies in all the 18 member countries and beyond and to support the countries that wish to join the federation. So far, we have received calls from ten countries that have shown their interest in joining the federation,” Ms Sawaya added.
The General Assembly meeting on 2 January approved the bylaws and technical aspects of the organization including the 2015 priorities-action steps, setup of new ideas forum, the issuance of the international horse racing industry skills passport, the work of the IFHRA digital media, and the proposed student mentorship program.
The elected Executive Committee is: Chairman Lara Sawaya, (UAE); Vice Chairman Susanna Santesson,(Germany); Secretary Remi Bellocq, (USA). Other members attending: Pat Buckley (UAE), Melissa Weatherley (Australia), Chris Watson (Turkey), Gary Watson, (South Africa), alongside observers Alhan Ahmed, Treasurer, Saeed Al Shamsi and Jiryr Habibian from the Abu Dhabi International Sports Court, and Mohammed Yahya, Digital Media Officer.
The 18 founding member countries of IFHRA are: Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, United Kingdom (represented by two academies; The British Racing School having voting right and Northern Racing School).
“The Federation is looking forward to serve all the persons involved in the industry by providing training to jockeys whether apprentice or professionals as well as trainers and other connections of the stables,” Sawaya confirmed.
Yousuf Saeed Al Abri, undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department commented: “Under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, representatives from 18 countries came to Abu Dhabi to attend the first general meeting of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies. The meeting was also attended by Saeed Al Shamsi, representing the Judiciary Department as member of the executive committee of the new body to review and implement the laws and legislations as part of the contributions of this department to support the sports activities in all fields and to ensure that the governing rules and regulations are keeping pace with the international trends and standards and to implement the vision, role and message of the Sports Court in this respect.”
The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in association with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR and Emirates Arabian Horse Society, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by National Archives, Invest AD, Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Al Awani General Enterprises, Kabale, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, the HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2014, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Abu Dhabi Sports Channel, and Racing Post.