SJI set to change rule on imported horses

Showjumping Ireland (SJI) chairman Tony Hurley yesterday said the organisation is to correct a situation whereby imported horses are automatically given 70 points when first registered here, regardless of their actual performance history.

Responding after the issue was raised in the Dáil, Mr Hurley said the SJI rule would be changed by next year.

“We are aware there is concern at this issue and this month we fully intend to address it and bring in the appropriate change.

“In October, we traditionally make changes to our rules for implementation in the following year. So, we expect that from 2015 the owners of imported horses will have to produce performance documentation from the country of origin of the horse before they can register with SJI,” said Mr Hurley.

The Corkman said the number of imported horses registered with SJI would generally amount to between 10 and 15 per year.

He said the the SJI’s national competitions committee will bring their recommendation to the October executive meeting for ratification.

The Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow-Kilkenny, John McGuinness, raised the issue in the Dáil last week, asking Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney “if he plans to establish a database of such sport horses which have been imported [and] if he will introduce regulations for the importation for classification of sport horses”.

Coveney said the SJI intended to deal with the matter, but noted “it is not envisaged that a separate database will be set up for horses to which the deputy refers”.

* The allocation of the 2016 European Show Jumping Championships for Juniors, Young Riders and Children on Horses to Millstreet in Co Cork is another stepping stone towards the Duggans’ ambition to stage the 2022 World Equestrian Games.

The 2016 event was originally allocated to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, who had put in a combined bid to also stage the 2017 European Show Jumping Championships, according to the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI). However, when the senior championships were allocated to Gothenburg, Sweden, the Royal Dutch Equestrian Federation said they were no longer interested in putting on the junior/young rider/children championships.

A date has yet to be confirmed for the Millstreet extravaganza, which is destined to top the hugely successful staging of last month’s European Pony Championships.

* The Furusiyya Nations Cup Series final takes place in Barcelona, Spain, next week, but Ireland will not be among the 15 nations battling for the €2,363,000 prize fund.

We have, nevertheless, good reason to be interested in the event and, in particular, the performance of Norway. In essence, we do not want a good performance and, in fact, we do not even want a reasonable performance from the Scandinavians. The reason: Under FEI rules, if Norway, as the runner-up in the Furusiyya Series second division, finishes in the top eight at Barcelona, Ireland will be relegated from division 1.

* The aforementioned Tony Hurley was enjoying the renowned hospitality at the recent Ballindenisk Horse Trials in Co Cork, having completed his course-building duties to good effect.

Asked if he would consider another year as SJI chairman, he paused, before replying that he “saw no reason at this stage” why he shouldn’t.

The 2014 SJI AGM will take place on Nov 4, at 7pm in the Mullingar Park Hotel, though it will be January before the new executive decides on its chairman for the year. Who’d bet against Hurley again filling the seat?

* The Irish polo team were denied a place at the World Championships this week through goal difference at the qualifiers in England.

The team of Seb Dawnay, Mike Henderson, Max Hutchinson and Niall Donnelly beat France 7-6 on Tuesday to claim second place in the four-country contest.

Ireland had already beaten Spain, but lost to England and, while Ireland and England finished with a similar points tally, the latter had a better goal difference. Tuesday’s game against France was 1-apiece after the first chukka, with France taking a 6-4 lead in the third chukka.

However, Ireland fought back with a brace to even matters, before hitting the winning score in the last 45 seconds.

* Special prizes will be presented to the riders closest to the optimum time in a number of competitions at Sunday week’s Templemartin Hunter Trials in Cork.

The prizes will go to riders in training and novice classes, for both ponies and horses.

The programme also includes training and novice classes for horse and pony pairs, along with an Open class.

Competition begins at 11am. See templemartinhuntertrials on facebook.


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