Equine bodies consider proposals

THE Equestrian Federation of Ireland (EFI) executive has been issued with draft proposals on the setting up of an umbrella body for the equine industry as the initiative gains momentum.

The proposals, drawn up by the implementation group under chairman Michael Dowling, are also being considered by the Irish Horse Board (IHB).

Yesterday, Mr Dowling, the former Dept of Agriculture secretary, said the proposals differed little from the [Liam] Connellan Report. This report, which received broad support, was compiled by an EFI appointed taskforce a number of years ago.

It outlined the framework for the umbrella body, which carries the notional title Horse Sport Ireland.

“Our proposals do not differ enormously in outline from the Connellan Report. There are some differences ... there will not be a council, as envisaged by Connellan. A governing board will run the organisation, along with two sub boards, one on the breeding side and one on the sport side. It will be a company limited by guarantee,” he said.

He said it was proposed that there would be 15 seats on the board, with an independent chairman appointed by the minister for sport.

Mr Dowling said Sports Minister John O’Donoghue and Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan had also been given copies of the implementation group's proposals.

He said the next step would see the draft document distributed to the individual boards of each of the 15 EFI affiliates: “We will be asking them to endorse it by the end of the month, or, by mid-July.”

“We hope to gather representatives of each organisation to thrash out any problems, if any, and will then ask them to go back to their respective boards.”

The EFI executive is expected to discuss the proposals at its meeting on June 12.

Crucial to agreement on the setting up of Horse Sport Ireland will be the representation of each organisation on the board. In the Connellan Report, it was envisaged that the Show Jumping Association of Ireland and the IHB, with 12 seats each, would have the greatest representation on the 59-seat council, as against, for example, six for Eventing Ireland and three for Dressage Ireland, the Association of Irish Riding Clubs and the Association of Irish Riding Establishments.

Under the new proposals, with the board replacing the council as the controlling authority, much discussion will centre on the make-up of the former.

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IRELAND’S show jumpers will endeavour to continue their upward movement in the Samsung Super League when they line out in Lucerne, Switzerland, today.

Shane Breen (World Cruise), Cameron Hanley (Hippica Kerman), Marion Hughes (Heritage Transmission) and Edward Doyle (Effective) will aim to at least match last week’s fourth place in Rome, which elevated Ireland to sixth place in the eight-country league. Fifth squad member Jessica Kurten remains on the sidelines today in a competition that sees Ireland drawn first.

Psychologically, the Rome result was significant, as it lifted Ireland out of the relegation zone.

Crucial to that result was the double clear of Hanley – one of only two in the competition - and chef d’equipe Robert Splaine will be hoping the Mayoman can continue his rich vein of form today.

At the half-way stage of the eight-round league, Ireland stand in sixth place on six points. The Netherlands are seventh on 5.625, with Sweden last, half a point further back.

At the top, Germany, with 21.625 points, will aim to re-establish their dominance after a poor result in Rome allowed the US to peg them back, the title holders moving to 20 points.

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RYAN CRUMLEY rose to the challenge of his five-star grand prix debut last Sunday when placing a creditable 11th with Baltimore in Rome.

The Derry-born, Meath-based rider produced a first-round clear to make the jump-off, but eight faults on his return with the 13-year-old stallion kept him out of the top 10 in a competition of 55 starters.

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SJAI Chairwoman Patricia Furlong has said the association will transfer to new offices at Goffs by the end of July. The association is currently based at Goffs, but must move to a different area of the Kildare complex and Ms Furlong said the SJAI was considering taking up the option of staying at Goff’s in the long-term.

“The lease on our office in Goffs is up on June 30, but it has been extended for another year,” said Ms Furlong.

“Changed circumstances entail us moving to a new office in Goffs, which should take place by July. This office will be occupied by us on an interim basis as the SJAI has agreed, in principle, to purchase a building somewhere, rather than continuing to lease. At the moment, Goff’s is planning an equine-related complex and the SJAI will look at the possibility of situating its offices there. This, of course, is subject to suitable terms being agreed,” she said.

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EIGHT faults in the jump-off saw Billy Twomey and the 11-year-old bay gelding Killy Jones finish fourth in the derby at Eindhoven, the Netherlands, last Sunday.

Indicative of the testing course was the fact that it allowed only one clear round, with Dutchman Mathijs Van Asten (VDL Groep Odalinda) unique among the field.

Further proof came with Jessica Kürten, who finished with 16 faults on Castle Forbes Bolivar, but still managed to place eighth of the 28 starters.

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CONOR SWAIL won the Rolestown Grand Prix last Sunday to move to joint third in the Boswell Equestrian National League.

Second last to go in a 12-horse jump-off, the Down rider joined forces with Nepomuk to take the top prize in a competition that had been relocated to the Kill Equestrian Centre.

“I couldn't have asked for more from the horse, he gave 100 per cent,” said the Malahide-based rider.

Fifty-eight starters had lined up in the competition and, as it neared its completion, Capt Shane Carey and Lismakin looked to be on course for victory with a time of 34.46 seconds.

However, Swail proved a worthy winner when knocking almost two seconds off the target, coming home in 32.80.

Paul O’Shea retains his league lead on 36 points, with Greg Broderick 10 points behind. Swail is tied for third with John Floddy on 23. Waterford’s Francis Connors’s third place last Sunday on Auto Cruz has seen him move to fifth place on the league table with 14 points.

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