It was on 1st of June in 2010 the European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation (EMHF) started its activities with a founding meeting in Stockholm – the same day as the Gr 3 race Stockholms Stora Pris (Stockholm Grand Prix) was run. By the way, the race was won by Norwegian trained but French bred Tertullus by the German sire Monsun.
At the founding meeting a proposal for by-laws was presented by France Galop. It was adopted and in October the same year at the Arc weekend the first board, the Executive Council, was elected.
Brian Kavanagh, chief of Horse Racing Ireland and vice president of IFHA was appointed as chairman.
The background to EMHF was a small, informal organisation called European Racing Development Conference (ERDC), which also was set up in Stockholm, ten years earlier June 7th 2000. It was started as a mild sort of protest to the IFHA meetings which were dominated by the leading racing countries and did not encourage much interaction from the minor countries.
In Stockholm 2000 nine racing countries were represented: Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine. The writer was appointed as chairman (a little bit surprisingly by a proposal from the Russian delegate Boris Antsev).
From 2002 the annual meeting was held in Paris at the Arc weekend and in the head quarters of IFHA. It was thanks to the Belgian delegate Michael Puissant (who passed away to soon very tragically) who used his connectins in France Galop).
In the men dominated global racing world it was with some pride ERDC appointed Karin Brunold from Switzerrland to its secretary.
The metings grew in importande and raised interest from the outside. So in both 2004 and 2005 as well as in 2008 the writer was invited to speak at the IFHA annual conference about the ideas and achievements of ERDC by chairman Louis Romanet.
Another strong reason for the founding of EMHF was the big importance of the Asian Racing Conference. Why should there not be something similar in Europe? So more and more the thoughts grew to amalgate ERDC with big European racing countries, England, France, Germany, Ireland and Italy (at leat they were big at that time…).
The occasion in 2000 was celebrated by a reception at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, hosted by the Swedish Jockey Club. Both Louis Romanet and Brian Kavanagh made speeches
Combinated with these ideas came the thoughts, specially from France, to involve North Africa and other mediterranean countries outside Europe in the organisation. And the result was the European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation.
As another side of the new broadening ideas of IFHA you could mention the election of rotating members to its Executive council which gave the writer a seat as representing the European developing countries (2008-2011) and Alan Freeman a representative of the Asian Racing Conference. He was from New Zealand
The writer was proud to be member of EMHF’s Executice Council until 2014 and then as Honorary Life President – and still is.
Some of the Executive Council members at Kincsem Park in Budapest in 2013. From left Paull Khan, secretary general, Behcet Homorlu, Turkey, Björn Eklund, Dominique de Wenden,France, Brian Kavanagh, Ireland and , Zsolt Hegedus, Hungary.