30 May 2015, Warsaw, Poland ~ With interesting sessions on Rules, Conditions and Regulations and Media, PR & Communication, the highlight of the three sessions held on Friday were ladies involved in various aspects of Arabian racing. This was the second day of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival’s World Arabian Horse Conference at the Ufficio Primo in Warsaw, Poland.
Women in Racing
Moderated by one of the few lady race callers in the world, Victoria Shaw of Australia, the panel members included Lara Sawaya (UAE), Joanna Majewska (Poland), Nadine Frampton (Australia), Karin van den Bos (The Netherlands), Denise Gault (USA), Izeta Selimanjin (Croatia), HE Lulwa Alawadhi (Bahrain), and Denise Hearst (USA).
While some of the panel members agreed that there were a lot of work to do to succed,as flat racing was still a man’s domain, others shared their experiences and progress in their respective field.
“One has to just believe in one’s ability and move forward despite any adverse comments from our male counterparts,” said Ms Sawaya, a view echoed by Selimanjin, who attributed her strength to the fact that her parents boosted her self esteem from a very young age.
However all of them felt that though most of the countries had a majority of women working in the racing industry in various capacities, it is worth noting that there are not many who have succeed into the top group as trainers.
Lulwa Alawadhi shared her experiences that catapulted her to the Shura Council and many Women’s Rights bodies in the Gulf country of Bahrain while Dutch trainer Karin van den Bos explained briefly on how she works with horses as a therapist and recommended other trainers/owners to use this method to heal their horses of muscle and bone injuries.
American duo Denise Hearst and Denise Gault also batted for women in racing and said it was their love for Arabian horses which played a major role in their success.
Rules, Conditions & Regulations
At the top of the challenges that face the horse racing community, according to Moroccan horse breeder and owner Dr. Mohammed Machmoum, are the fact that races in different parts of the world are governed by different national bodies and the rules and conditions which regulate and control the sport vary greatly, in some cases even within the same country.
“Do we have sufficient laws and is there any kind of harmony between the laws which govern the sport around the world?” Mashmoum asked his panel members Genny Haynes (UK), Saeed Al Shamsi (UAE), Council Yasir Al Mehri (UAE), Ian Williams (UK), Remy Bellocq (USA), Richard Lancaster (UK), Kathy Smoke (USA), Jakub Kasprzak (Poland), Nelly Philippot (Belgium), and Jean Pierre Deroubaix (France) during the first session on the second day.
Yasir Al Mehri brought forth recent developments in the UAE which eventually led to the setup of the Sports Court in Abu Dhabi in collaboration between the Judicial Authorities in the country and the International Federation for Sports Arbitration in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“The purpose of the move was originally to help in drafting a realistic law which should be clear and straight forward, but this is not the case in other parts of the world,” he said.
Kathy Smoke added, “The unification of the laws around the world is far beyond the reach of the current governing bodies since nothing has been done to harmonize the laws which control racing in the US as an integrated entity.
“Regulation and control of racing in the US is highly fragmented. Each state that conducts races license owners, trainers and others involved in the industry, also enforcing drug restrictions and other rules, including pedigree matters according to its own bylaws.”
Meanwhile, the general look seemed to be a bit uphill about the ability of the national associations to work together with open minds on technical issues because they think differently on how to protect the public betting and how to attract people to the races.
MEDIA & PR and Communication
In the session on Media, PR & Communication, Martin Stevens (UK), Jean Claude Allies (FR), Debbie Burt (UK), Stephanie Corum (USA), Saad Al Masoudi (FR), and Philip Brannann (UK) were almost unanimous in their belief that more information had to be put out by the Arabian racing connections. “There is a constraint on how much news can go in our print editions but the other electronic media come in handy,” said Stevens of the Racing Post. The Post is putting out full race cards of Arabian racing in the UK and make a great use of online and social media as does Mr. Allies.
Stephanie Corum of the 27-year-old US Arabian Finish Line magazine, prints race information and popular racing statistics and stated that they will soon have an online edition.
IFAHR member country representatives of Arabian racing were urged to provide as much information as possible on their races and statistic in order to assist the media in giving more and accurate coverage to Arabian racing.
The HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival is sustained by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and coordinated by Abu Dhabi Sports Council in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, General Authority of Youth and Sports Welfare with The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carriers and sponsored by 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 2015, Dr. Nader Saab Switzerland, Al Wathba Center, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Eastern Mangroves Suites-Abu Dhabi by Jannah, Yas Channel, Omeir Travels and Racing Post.