WF in Austria

Very surprisingly, Clive Phillips had resigned from WorldFengur (WF) development work in 1999. This was at the Annual FEIF meeting of national Breeding leaders, Hotel Ísland, Reykjavík, Iceland.

Very reckless and fascinated by the breeding activities, I stood up together with Kati Ahola from Finland to the election as a member of the FEIF Registration group. Other members in this working group were Jens Otto Veje, FEIF breeding leader, Ágúst Sigurðsson, breeding leader of Iceland and Jón Baldur Lorange, project manager of WorldFengur.

To be honest, at that time I had no idea at all what the WF was supposed to be for and, due to missing documents (like in many other countries, the breeding associations in Austria were rather disputed than cooperative), I saw no possibility at all to ever enter Austria’s horses into this database. One of the biggest challenges was the implementation of the international unique life numbers, the so called FEIF ID numbers for horses as well as Id’s for persons. I can remember that at one of the countless working meetings this was the main topic and it actually took two days. Unforgettable remains a joint ride with Jón Baldur (a non-rider !!! ) and Kati Ahola with Icelandic horses.

WorldFengur – Round table – defining the rules! From left: Reinhard Loidl, WF-Registrar Austria; Kati Ahola, WF-Registrar Finland and Chair of the FEIF Registration Group, Jens Otto Veje, FEIF Breeding Leader; Jón Baldur Lorange, WF Project Manager.

Frami von St. Oswald [AT1997160415 ], rider: Carina Mayerhofer – FEIF world record holder 100m SpeedPass
Photo:  Peter Niess

When, at the request of Jón Baldur, the system was tested in countless trial entries, however, a very clear way of working crystallized, which had to be laboriously entered by hand from old breeding documents as there were no digital data available. I remember that time fondly, and Hallveig Fróðadóttir’s expression, ” hunting the missing sheep” was not only a motivator, but also exciting and very educational.

Of course, this way of working also resulted in many errors, supposed Icelandic horses turned out to be Austrian and birth dates were very often given AT19AA because they were not written down anywhere.

The strength to achieve results at that time was the almost daily mail collaboration with other registrars, mainly from Iceland, Germany and Switzerland. Looking back, I am amazed at the countless hours spent “hunting” for horses and this would not have been possible without the enthusiasm of the registrars at that time. “FEIF ID request” was one of the most frequently found terms in mail subjects and – in order to finally be able to enter the “missing sheep” – one waited eagerly for an answer.

One of the most difficult tasks was to convince “ignorants” but also the board of my country association that this database can become enormously important. As a former breeding leader of one of the Austrian provinces, printing an equine passport via WF for the first time was the most uplifting moment and reaching the summit, so to speak.

I still find myself discovering errors in WF and reporting them, getting annoyed when sometimes nothing happens, remembering that one or the other idea was contributed by me and can still be found, and somehow being proud to have been part of a database that has now become indispensable.

Text: Reinhard Loidl

Rauðhetta vom Stefanihof [AT2005220547], photo: Christian Unden