P. Sergelen: Hybrid horses and Mongolian horses will not race together
The following interview is with P. Sergelen, Secretary-General at the Mongolian Union of Race Horse Trainers.
-What is your strategy on expanding your international cooperation at the Mongolian Union of Race Horse Trainers (MURHT)?
-Yes, we are paying particular attention to this. We attended the 34th Asian Racing Conference last year in July. During this Conference,Mongolia was chosen as a Board Member of the Asian Racing Federation. This Federation oversees horse racing activities in the Asia Pacific and consists of 27 members including; Australia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.
We first became a member of this Federation at a previous conference held in Paris.
-What are the advantages of becoming a member of Asian Racing Federation?
-There are many advantages. The most important one is that we can organizethe Asian Horseracing Competition in Mongolia, in addition to having the right to organize the Conference in Mongolia as well. We will also have the right to get involved and have a say in the important decisions the Asian Racing Federation makes. We will also be open to receive or give assistance on developing horse-racing rules and regulations here in Mongolia.
Currently, Mongolia only organizedtraditional horse racing games. So we are planning to develop international horse-racing in the near future, which will allow us to race in other countries. To do so, we need to have a general registry of all race horses in Mongolia – they all need to be more organized and standardized and then, we will be able to race in larger races abroad.
-Are you saying we can express our views and strategies on Asian horse raceing?
-Of course. We can also collaborate with other horse riders around the world and exchange our culture and experience in this field.
-Can we understand that we now can build a circular racing track for horses?
-Yes, we are looking into it – we are looking into what exactly a horse-track racing is and what pure-blood horse racing is. We are expanding our foreign relations to help us understand the different and new methods of racing.
On the other hand, we are showing and introducing Mongolia and our horses to other countries.
-Will we require a horse-track racing stadium for international racers to come and race in Mongolia?
-Yes. We should have a horse-track stadium that fits every standard and follows every accepted international regulation. In order to race in one of those tracks we should also prepare our racers (jockeys) and horses as well.
We are talking about this matter to a lot of parties and we have developed a construction plan with Japanese companies. We are now into how we can; finance the construction and adoptthe track racing rule and regulations.. We also have a lot of workin terms of jurisdiction and law. Many international horse-racing unions expressed their support for improving Mongolia’s horse-track racing. Nevertheless, this project will require a lot of money and time, so it will take time. But, I think we can finish this soon and Mongolia will definitely have an internationally recognized horse-track racing stadium in the next four years.
-Where will this be built?
-We have 3 – 4 locations that can suit the track andthere will be a large management team working on this. When we choose a location, we should consider the; people who will come here for the race the marketing and the convenience should be kept in mind too. Mongolia will have a horse racing track in the future and this is what we are working for.
-Is it true that Mongolia will register its horse-racing in the Guinness World Records?
-Yes, we have requested it on our traditional racing events and met with concerned parties in person twice already. Khubilai Khan established the world’s first “Ministry of Horses” in 1263. It has been 750 years since then. We should celebrate this historically important date. Mongolia will celebrate the day of all horses and riders this year. In addition to discussing Mongolia’s horse-racing games, we will also organize a forum. Aside from this, we will distribute a catalog of Mongolia horse breeds. Even to this day, Mongolian horse breeds are not registered internationally. This means that no one will see a word of Mongolian horses in any horse racing related publications. It means that we are providing our horses with registration and a passport.
We are also acknowledging the effort and work of previous people who contributed to the expansion of horse racing in Mongolia. We will register Mongolia in the Guinness World Records by racing 3,000 horses at once.
-The Avargar Union said it will race 1,500 horses in Mongolia and register it in the Guinness World Records. What’s the meaning of this?
-We are talking about the same thing from two different sides. Of course, our union will cooperate with other unions to do this. But, for the exact location of the race our Unenburen branch proposed an offer, saying that it is better to be organized in Uvurkhangai. I will take this matter into our discussion during our next Board meeting. Since we haven’t discussed this with the leaders of other unions we cannot talk about the location.
Also, it is not 1,500 but 3,000 horses. What if we race 1,500 and somebody beats this record in a few years?
-There are many controversies surrounding the ranks of race horse trainers. Will there be any changes relating to this?
-It seems we have huge problems surrounding which; contribution, effort or achievement should be considered a State or Provincial honor. The State honors for race horse trainers are running within the laws. Whatever the problem is, we uphold what the State law.
Previously, our union awarded the honors and ranks to race horse trainers and it is true that we did go easy on the awards to help support this sport. Since the law went into effect we are bound within this law.
We sent requests to make certain changes to the laws on Games for State Celebration Events. We respect the efforts of our horse trainers and we made changes that can best value their work. For example, we needed to formalizecertain agreements made between the owner of the horse and it’s trainer. For example, if my horse was trained by Onon, I will choose whether to give honor for the horse’s achievements or not.
-What can you tell us about hybrid-bred horses?
-We made decisions from the union – hybrid horses and Mongolian horses will not race together. It was a very important and right decision for all Mongolia traditional racers and trainers.
-It seems that there is a difficulty distinguishing the two – one horse was eliminated from a State celebration game for being a hybrid, but it was seen competing against Mongolian horses in a smaller, provincial race, despite it being banned there as well.
-Yes, it is very difficult indeed. Even with scientific examination, it is difficult to determine whether a horse is Mongolian or not. We cannot even distinguish people, let alone horses. Since this is the case we had come up with a “Mongolian horse standard” and measure the horse’s crest height to determine whether it is Mongolian or not. If it is higher than the set standard, they are eliminated.
Generally speaking, Mongolian fast-horse racing regulations should be changed. The current regulations are designed for horses that are from large herds. It means we need a standard for race-horses, specifically. Our union proposed this, change or rather, addition. If we measure Mongolian horses and come up with a race-horsing standard, we will have something that may be closer to being right.
This is all because we cannot take blood samples from every horse in Mongolia to determine its origin and breed.
-I think it is right to talk about very young jockeys. What is your focus on ensuring the safety of children riding horses?
-This is MURHT’s main goal. We all have the duty to protect our children. We should provide safe means to train and practice our traditional sport. To have safe racing games, we should first improve the condition of the racing tracks – they should be free of mud, too much uneven terrain and should not be slippery. In short, they should be as flat as possible.
In nearly all cases, the chances of children’s injury decreases when the road is better.
Second, there is the question of the race’s organization. The races should be very well organized and should uphold all the regulations. A team of police, medical and veterinary people should be assembled and monitor the race throughout its course. The permission to organize a race is granted when all these above perquisites are met. We have strenuously warned that we will not permit a race if they haven’t prepared what they are supposed to. Not only do we send warnings to various Race Horse Union branches all over the country, but the provinceadministrations received them too.
Overall, young jockey injuries do not occur in large race competitions organized by the MURHT.
-It looks like the child horse riders’ work and effort is undervalued. People are always criticizing this. What are your efforts towards improving this situation?
-We are doing a lot to help improve valuing the work of young jockeys. For example, we began to rank them and honor them with sportsman/sportswoman awards. We have now 9 sports masters. We also began to honor their mothers and created a council of young jockeys. They get together in the council to express their; opinions, views and develop their own regulations.
Young jockeys are young sportsmen who are practicing Mongolian traditional horse-riding races – that’s why we began to award 20 percent of the cash reward of any race winner straight to the jockey.
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