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Post Time with Dan Gall

Post Time

In late May, the International Trotting Conference (ITC) was held involving several countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and the USA.

As Standardbred Canada played host to the 2016 ITC and 2017 World Trotting Conference both in Toronto and PEI, Canada was instrumental in providing context to the discussions regarding the upcoming WTC and World Driving Championship being held in 2019, in which Canada will have two representatives participating in the Driving Championship including defending champion, James McDonald, and this year's winner of the National Driving Championship.

There were several discussions the ITC had regarding follow-up on action items that were agreed to at last summer's conference in PEI, including:

Foreign Data Exchange: An international agreement is to be developed outlining the process for data exchange. Currently, all countries have differing data collecting systems and it has been recommended that a process be developed to provide each country's respective data information, to be stored and accessed by every country. This will assist those countries in exporting and importing their horses along with ensuring consistency with data collection.

Genomic Research: In an attempt to enhance the quality and performance of our equine athletes, the need to assist one another by sharing genomic testing protocol is an absolute necessity. This sharing of information could also be accessed by a shared portal which will be further discussed in the upcoming months.

Electronic Export Certificates: The committee agreed to accept electronic means in the issuance of Export Certificates. Currently, hard copy documents are required by the various countries. In an attempt to expedite the process, electronic transmissions of all registration documents are now being accepted

Microchip location: The location of the microchip shall be indicated on all registration documents. For example, nuchal vs nasal implant site. Further to this, USTA and Standardbred Canada communicated at the international conference that both countries have accepted and agreed to implant in the nuchal area as per the international standard for harness racing.

Racing & Wagering: Each country would contribute to a Pick-8 wager, with the races 5 minutes apart, for an International co-mingled promotion. Sweden has undertaken to examine the feasibility of this event.

Marketing and Business Development: Connect our various social media platforms to strengthen communication, interaction, and engagement among harness racing/trotting fans across borders. Standardbred Canada will embark to begin this during the summer on social media networks.
Establish an international poll that will recognise and rank the top horses worldwide.

Health and Welfare: Unless there are local legislative impediments, each Member of the International Trotting Association will reciprocate, recognise and enforce the penalties of another Member.

Whipping: The ITC was very encouraged to have Canada and the USA report that both countries are having discussions regarding rules of racing and both countries advocating for stronger regulation with regards to whipping that is in alignment with the international body. The discussions include;
All Drivers must keep a line/rein in each hand beginning when the horse is behind the starting gate and continuing through the finish of the race - unless adjusting approved gear; and whipping is restricted to an action which ensures the whip is not raised above the shoulder height of the driver; and, Drivers should not move their whipping arms in an exaggerated manner, and the lines/reins must remain reasonably taut during the race; and, Penalties for breaches of whip rules should be severe as the use of the whip is a welfare and not a performance issue.

This meeting of the international industry was not only informative but extremely beneficial in hearing best practices that other countries have adopted and/or are entertaining. Not surprisingly we are all facing the similar concerns and challenges, some more, some less, than other countries.

Having noted this, there is a solid commitment to work on the projects outlined above, and a real want and desire to close the gaps on an international level to ensure that we are competitive, co-operative and working together to further the promotion and awareness of the harness racing industry world-wide.

Dan Gall, President & CEO, Standardbred Canada
[email protected]

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