Economy, Domestic Economy

Horse Industry Affected by Irregular Imports

Horse Industry Affected by Irregular ImportsHorse Industry Affected by Irregular Imports

The horse industry is regarded as a million-dollar industry throughout the world and in Iran too; however growth is hampered by a number of factors, among them equine imports from neighboring countries which threaten to reduce the purity of Iranian horses by cross-breeding.

Lack of sufficient financial support by government authorities, the ban on export of Iranian horses, high costs of horse training and maintenance, and import of foreign horses are seen as the main causes of reduced vigor in the sector.

A report by Mehr news agency explores the challenges faced by the horse industry in the northeastern province of Golestan, which is home to Turkoman horse strains including Akhal-Teke and Yomut breeds.

Over the past years, Golestan Province has become the leading province in horse training and racing, with spring and autumn horse racing competitions held in Gonbad-e Kavus, Bandar Turkaman, and Agh-ghala cities of the province.

“The horse industry in Golestan has high potential due to its suitable climatic conditions and the availability of indigenous horse training knowledge,” says governor of Kalaleh County in Golestan province, Nosrat Barzegar, noting that Kalaleh is home to 350 thoroughbred Turkoman horses. According to head of Agricultural Jihad Organization of Golestan Province, Mokhtar Mohajer, as many as 3,000 thoroughbred Turkoman horses have so far been trained in the province.

 Affected by Imports

Meanwhile some experts believe that importing horses from neighboring countries threatens to change the characteristics of thoroughbred Turkoman horses by cross-breeding.

Ayyub Shirmohamamdli, who is active in horse training and maintenance, says large sums of money are spent each year by Iranian buyers for importing foreign horses.

“The foreign horses which are imported to Iran with huge investments are often not fit for racing. This is because we do not have a suitable monitoring system for horse imports,” he added.

 Export Ban

The ban on export of Iranian horses is another obstacle to generating revenues from the sector. While the authorities claim the ban has been imposed to protect the thoroughbred Iranian horses, people active in the sector believe lifting the ban could increase revenues and generate more employment opportunities.

Spokesperson of Iran Horse Breeding Society, Rassoul Araghi, had announced earlier that the ban on export of Iranian horses is expected to be lifted in a few years, noting that the move would double the number of job opportunities available in the sector.  

The horse industry provides various job opportunities, directly or indirectly. These include race horse breeding, training and maintenance, organizing horse shows and exhibitions as well as manufacturing horse racing equipment. Organizing festivals to introduce Iranian horses can also help boost tourism in areas where such programs are held.