IFHA Global Summit on Equine Safety & Technology at Woodbine

May 21, 2024

Racing action at Woodbine Racetrack. (Michael Burns Photo)

Mark McKelvie/Sr. Manager Communications, Woodbine

The International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities (IFHA) will hold its Global Summit on Equine Safety and Technology from June 12 to 14 in Toronto, Canada, at Woodbine Racetrack. 

The Summit is part of the IFHA’s ongoing commitment to improving equine safety and welfare, a key strategic priority of the organization. It follows the IFHA’s 57th International Conference of Horseracing Authorities in October 2023, which focused on safeguarding equine welfare and shifts in societal expectations.

World-leading research scientists, clinicians, veterinarians, and racing regulators from around the globe will come together during the Summit to examine the most critical horse welfare issues as well as recent technological advances. 

“Equine welfare is racing’s single most important priority, and it is at the centre of all decisions we make,” said IFHA Chair Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges. “That is why the IFHA has invested significantly in delivering an event that will bring about meaningful enhancements to horse safety and further incorporate cutting-edge technological advances into our systems.

“We recognize the integral role science and innovation plays in safeguarding the wellbeing of our equine athletes, and I am excited that we will bring together world-leading experts at this IFHA Summit to explore how we can continue to protect our horses now and into the future.”

Fracture prevention and exercise associated sudden death (EASD) are two of the priority issues slated to be investigated, with leaders in these fields delivering both scientific and regulatory workshops throughout the three-day, invitation-only event.

The outcomes from the Summit will be analysed by the IFHA leadership, with a view toward developing a roadmap for the racing industry to further minimise the risk of fractures and EASD going forward.

“Woodbine Entertainment is proud to host the IFHA Global Summit on Equine Safety and Technology, which promises to be a momentous event in the racing industry’s efforts to improve equine welfare outcomes,” said Executive Chair of Woodbine Entertainment Group Jim Lawson. “We are fully supportive of this great initiative, and Woodbine looks forward to welcoming experts and racing administrators from around the globe who are similarly committed to this cause.”

The IFHA is grateful for the support of Harry M. Zweig Memorial Fund for Equine Research (a program at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine), The Hong Kong Jockey Club Equine Welfare Research Foundation, and Woodbine Entertainment Group, which have made the staging of the Summit a possibility. 

About IFHA

The IFHA is a federation of more than 60 racing authorities from different countries and regions in the world. ​ It is the global leader for the international sport of Thoroughbred racing, seeking to promote all facets of the worldwide sport; protect the welfare of the equine and human athlete; and protect and grow its global social and economic significance for current and future generations.

Major areas of the IFHA’s activities include:

  • Making and amending the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering
  • Policy development relating to welfare and safety of horses and riders
  • International race planning and grading (“black type”)
  • World rankings
  • The fight against equine prohibited substances and practices
  • Harmonisation of racing rules
  • Certification of IFHA reference laboratories
  • Fostering commercial development of the racing industry globally

The IFHA is a foundation member with Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) of the International Horse Sports Confederation and is affiliated to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).

Email: achesser@jockeyclub.com

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