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Interview: The World Of Feeds
In conversation with Dr Jawad Al Afif from Eurovets Veterinary Suppliers
Q: Could you please tell us a bit about Eurovets and your own role in the company?
A: Eurovets Veterinary Suppliers represent multi-national brands in nutrition, veterinary equipment, medicines and consumables for not only Equine but also avian, wildlife- production- and companion animals.
We have been operating for over a decade and provide warehousing, distribution, marketing, training and sales recourses for the products and brand we represent here in the region.
Our mission is to deliver quality products and feed to improve animal health and provide excellent service to our clients. I’m the Sales Manager responsible for Saracen Horse Feeds here at Eurovets and form part of a 30+ team.
Q: What changes in racehorse feeding techniques have occurred in the recent past especially through SHF products and what changes do you hope will occur in the next 10 years?
A: We have recognized significant changes in racehorse feeding techniques over the last few years here in GCC. Traditionally it used to be a family (father-to-son) operation and the horse owner would manually mix raw grain (as a protein source), then add oil and molasses on top (as an energy source) adding an open quantity of green forage. With time, the racehorse owner’s passion and will to win was the main reason for they started improving their knowledge of nutritional programs.
Nowadays, in many stables the nutritionist has been replaced by a very well-informed owner who understands the vital role that nutrition plays with an equine’s performance and fitness. That is why you find very specialized mixes for each kind of sport - where it fits the needs of each specific horse (different horses has different needs), an example is the difference in protein & starch levels, different energy resources (slow/fast released energy).
Saracen Horse feeds through Eurovets Veterinary suppliers played a main role in these changes by providing the stables with quality feeds, continuous educational seminars and personal aftersales service.
It’s difficult to say what will occur in the next 10 years, but the brands that we supply to our clients will continue to invest in research programmes in order to provide the best quality nutritional program feed.
Q: Who (designation types) are your customers and what industries are they from? How many countries do you work with in Eurovets?
A: Our customers are stable owners, veterinarians, nurses and trainers. We serve the whole of GCC.
Q: Who was/is your most memorable client?
A: I have met an Emirati in Abu Dhabi, who has many horses, camels & falcons. When I’ve asked him what he loves the most - He told me: “I love them all as my children, maybe more, as if my children get into a fight, I would let them solve it themselves, while if someone else touch one of my ‘animal children’ there will be big problems!”
I admired the love he has shown for these animals, as a veterinarian I can relate.
Q: Do you travel around the GCC to meet horse and/or camel owners? If yes, what was the most interesting client you have met till date and where?
A: Yes, part of my job is to travel and meet our clients in GCC. Here in GCC its part of their culture and tradition to have horses & camels, so I promise you there are MANY interesting clients.
For me, MRM Stables in Dubai, is always the most interesting one, where you see top condition horses, won most of the big races “globally”, well-educated trainer, with an open mind who is always keen to enhance his horse’s condition and result by trying new techniques.
I like the way they treat their horses, with Passion and Love!
Q: Do you prefer Thoroughbreds, Arabians or camels?
A: There is uniqueness in each breed. Thoroughbreds has always been used for races, where camel wasn’t. You won’t find camels in many places out of GCC, which caused limited research, that’s why we found ourselves sometimes preferring camels, we can still learn so much from them.
Q: What book would you recommend your customers read?
A: First, I will advise our clients to go through Saracen Horse feeds’ brochures, it contains a lot of informative nutrition data, this can be supplemented by the array of Equine Nutritional and Feeding Guides in the market.
‘Study cases’ are also one of my favorites and these you can even now find on YouTube
Q: What part of your work do you enjoy most?
A: I do enjoy visiting and meeting with our clients, stable members & clinics…but being at a race is off course the most enjoyable.
The competitiveness, emotions and passion in this industry is what drives me! Seeing that your efforts have paid off and that you contributed to improve animal health, that’s what really counts.
Q: What is most challenging about your role in educating your customers about SHF?
A: In general, people don’t like “change”, so can it can be a big challenge to change over to a new feed, but once Saracen Horse Feeds new nutrition techniques proves that it leads to much better results - then all falls in place.