With around 3,000 entries for this weekend’s Owners Pony and Young Riders Charity Show, in Millstreet, Co Cork, organisers expect the total funding raised for good causes to top €280,000.
The event has been a major attraction since it was launched 28 years ago, and this year is nothing different, according to committee member Keith Griffin.
“Last year brought the money raised for charity up to €270,000 and we are confident of adding another €10,000 to that this year,” said Griffin.
“Even though we are clashing with another great show in Cavan, we are maintaining our numbers. Cavan suits many of the northern families, as there is no Bank Holiday in the North, making it difficult for them to travel to Millstreet.”
Again, the show boasts a new initiative.
“This year, the top two pony riders in the grand prix, who took part in development training organised by the HSI high-performance committee, will win a bursary worth €500 each to travel to Neeroerteren in Belgium.
“This is also on offer to the top two in the pony grand prix in Cavan this weekend.
“However, winners must also be eligible for pony riding next year.
“The purpose of the bursary is to allow us to assess up-and-coming riders, plus it will provide invaluable experience to the winners.”
Griffin said he is also “expecting hot competition” in the team challenge, where competitors take on an invited team that this year features Mikey Pender, Grace McHugh, and Nicholas Connors.
“It’s a strong team, but the handicap system this year should even things up, as they will have to jump a higher course,” said Griffin.
The show runs from today until Sunday and as per usual in Millstreet, entry is free.
* Teagasc economist Cathal O’Donoghue is hopeful the strategic report for the industry it has compiled with the RDS and Horse Sport Ireland will be published before Christmas.
Deliver of the report is well behind time, but O’Donoghue yesterday said it was practically complete.
“We have a draft report, and a committee comprising senior managers from Teagasc, the RDS and HSI. will meet next Tuesday,” said O’Donoghue, head of Teagasc’s rural economy research centre.
He explained that, following Tuesday’s meeting, they intended to revert those who had made submissions under the consultation process, before agreeing a publication date with Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney.
While unwilling to give a timeframe for publication, when pushed O’Donoghue said he was hopeful it would be prior to Christmas.
“We have substantial recommendations about breeding, marketing and how to generate income with the aim of getting Ireland back into the premier division of breeding and increasing income share.
“The report is substantially there and we have loads of ideas, but we want to ensure these will happen.”
* High-octane performances from Jessica Kürten and Marion Hughes saw them drive away last weekend with a car apiece.
Kürten’s grand prix win in Odense, Denmark, earned her the key to a €40,000 Subaru, while Kilkenny woman Hughes won a Smart car with her victory in the small grand prix in Vilamoura, Portugal.
* Cameron Hanley tackles the second leg of this season’s World Cup series in Helsinki, Finland, this weekend on the back of an unlucky four faults with Antello Z in the opener in Norway last Sunday.
Hanley picked up two points and lies in 15th place on the Western European League table.
Shane Breen also lines out in Helsinki.
* Last weekend’s World Breeding Federation eventing championships for young horses in Le Lion d’Angers, France, saw the Cruising-sired Irish Sport Horse Cooley Dream Extreme ridden to third place by Britain’s Piggy French in the contest for six-year-olds.
Best of the Irish-bred horses in the contest for seven-year-olds was Cooley SRS, steered to ninth place by Britain’s Oliver Townend.
Both Irish horses came out of dealer Richard Sheare’s Cooley Sport Horses in Co Wicklow, with Extreme Dream bred by Frank Gordon, Co Mayo, and Cooley SRS bred by John Fitzhenry, Co Wexford.
The top Irish rider/horse combination in the class for seven-year-olds was Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua in 16th place. In the six-year-olds, the best Irish pairing was 21st-placed Aidan Keogh on Pride of Tredstep. Overall, the Irish Sport Horse studbook finished fifth of 11 challengers.
* Horse Sport Ireland chairman Pat Wall confirmed yesterday that the organisation’s annual report for 2013 is due to be published soon.
In an email, Mr Wall said that the annual report was not prioritised due to the focus put on the World Equestrian Games and the development of a new strategy for the sector.
Mr Wall is in China due to his academic role with UCD, which coincides with HSI’s participation in this week’s China Horse Fair in Beijing.
* South Munster Dressage will tomorrow present a seminar titled: How To Keep You And Your Horse Sound For Riding And Competing.
Described as a “holistic approach for all disciplines”, it will feature demonstrations from rider and coach Ann-Marie Dunphy, and saddler Phillip Richardson, as well as physiotherapist Emma Robertson, who has worked extensively with horses, but also spent two years helping Cork City FC deal with injuries.
The venue is The Paddocks, Midleton, Co Cork, and the start time is 7pm. Entry is €8 for adults, and €5 for those aged under 16.
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