The IFHRA, which is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE, comes under the umbrella of HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival.
Ms. Lara Sawaya, Chairperson of the International Federation of Horse Racing Academies (IFHRA), Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, General Manager of Wathba Stallions and Chairperson of Ladies & Apprentice Racing Committees in the International Federation of Arabian Horse Racing Authorities (IFAHR), in her opening address, urged member countries to identify more apprentice jockeys so as to enable them to participate in the Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship race series.
Several member countries including Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Morocco, Peru, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, US and UK, and the UAE, attended the meeting while four representatives interacted via Skype in the highly interactive discussion.
Ms Sawaya said that IFHRA was aware that several issues were preventing the member-countries from sending more apprentices owing to travel and visa restrictions, but nevertheless, efforts have to be made in this direction. She said there are already ten apprentice races scheduled under the Festival, with each race having ten riders, bringing the number of riders to 100 and said more needed to be done to attracted different countries, other than those who normally take part.
Ms Sawaya welcomed the presence of two representatives from the Abu Dhabi Youth Council and Abu Dhabi Police Youth Council, who as observers will attend all IFHRA meetings and events to cooperate and coordinate their functioning.
Regarding the Mentorship programme, where youngsters get to travel to other countries on a scholarship under RSF, Ms Sawaya stated that ten students have been finalised for the year 2018 and the first student had already begun his programme.
Ms Sawaya sought more coordination among member countries to make the races more successful. She also added that one more race will be held exclusively for South American region. She underlined that each rider should have completed five wins to be able to participate in the Festival races.
Representatives from Brazil, Malaysia and Italy stated that they were encouraged by Festival and Arabian racing has seen an increase in the recent past. Malaysia is planning to hold a race for Purebred Arabian horses, first of its kind in the region, during September this year which will be followed by more races in the coming year.
Suggestions were put forth by members regarding the selection of apprentices and how to prepare them to take part in the races by selecting three or more jockeys from each country before the season began.
The meeting was moderated by Chris Watson, New Zealand representative.
The next meeting will be held in Abu Dhabi in November 2018.
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, with National Feed and Flour Production and Marketing Co. LLC as associate sponsors, The National Archives as the official partner and Emirates airline as the official carrier, in cooperation with Emirates Racing Authority, IFHRA, IFAHR, Emirates Arabian Horse Society, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abu Dhabi Youth Council, General Authority for Sports and sponsored by Ayadi LLC, Global United Veterinary Services LLC, Nissan Middleast Al Massood Automobiles, Nirvana Travels and Tourism LLC, Equicare Veterinary Services, Alawal Stud, Cavalos Equine Care & Supplies, SET Sustainable Environmental Technologies, Al Awani General Enterprises, Omeir Travels, Kabale, YAS Channel, Abu Dhabi Falconers Club, Emirates Falconers Club, Mohammed Bin Zayed Falconry and Desert Physiognomy School, Racing Post, Paris Turf, Al Wathba Centre, the UAE’s General Women’s Union, The Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition 2018, Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Spa and Resort.