Global Summit on Equine Safety and Technology Highlights Recent Research

Jim Lawson at Woodbine | Michael Burns photo

The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) Global Summit on Equine Safety and Technology took place at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Canada June 12-14. The Summit was attended by approximately 90 international research scientists, clinicians, veterinarians and racing regulators from at least 13 countries.

“The Summit has been a major achievement for the Federation and our ongoing commitment to improving equine safety and welfare,” said IFHA Executive Council Member Jim Lawson, who delivered the Summit's closing remarks. “Scientific research and technology are cornerstones of the IFHA's efforts to protect our equine athletes, and this Summit has provided the industry the opportunity to discuss and build upon the significant body of research that has been carried out around the world.”

Scientists, veterinarians and regulators participated in dedicated workshops throughout the three-day event to investigate critical issues relating to, and recent technological advances in, fracture prevention and exercise associated sudden death (EASD).

“This is an important first step in enabling us to go even further in detecting horses that are at risk of injury,” said Dr. Christopher Riggs, Director of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Equine Welfare Research Foundation, who chaired the Summit's fracture prevention workstream. “We are appreciative of the IFHA's support in encouraging collaboration between scientists, scholars, veterinarians and administrators in the global racing industry.”

Dr. Celia Marr, Associate Veterinary Specialist at Rossdales Equine Hospital and Diagnostic Centre and Chair of the Summit's EASD workstream, was similarly cognizant of the event's significance.

“The Summit has generated and refreshed collaborative efforts to address the most critical horse welfare issues,” said Marr. “We are energized by the innovative research that has been presented, and optimistic of its potential to positively impact equine welfare going forward.”

The outcomes from the Summit will be analyzed by the IFHA Executive Council, with the goal of developing recommendations for the IFHA membership on addressing the risk of fractures and EASD in the future.

The IFHA Global Summit was supported by Cornell University's Harry M. Zweig Memorial Fund for Equine Research, The Hong Kong Jockey Club Equine Welfare Research Foundation, and Woodbine Entertainment Group.

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