Particular interest was shown in the Irish Horse Board-sponsored breeders championship, which had a €20,000 prize fund.
That was quadruple last year’s in a bid to encourage more people to show their mares and foals, and to recognise those who keep such quality produce stock that they inevitably rise to the top in showing classes.
Winner of the €5,000 top prize was Jim Tempany, a veterinary surgeon from Screen, Co Sligo, with Leader Star, an 11-year-old grey bred by Luke Morley in Knock, Co Mayo. The reserve champion was exhibited by Desmond Gibson, Dromara, Co Down.
West Cork, a stronghold of the Irish Draught breed, had a big success when Patrick Hennessy, Timoleague, won the foal championship. Edward Corbett, Thurles, Co Tipperary, took the reserve rosette.
“I am thrilled,” said Patrick, whose filly has had a string of successes this year.
Suzanne Finlay, Augher Castle, Tyrone, won the mare championship, with Julia Crosbie and Rebecca Osborne, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, being chosen as the reserve champion.
The Irish Draught stallion championship went to Martha DuPont, c/o Antony Gordon, Ballina, Co Mayo, with Timothy and Helena O’Regan, Ballygarrett Stud, Mallow, Co Cork, taking second place.
Meanwhile, Irish Horse Board chairman Michael Osborne said there is no fear of the Irish Draught horse disappearing from the land.
He made the prediction at the show following recent concerns that the country’s primary indigenous horse breed was under threat due to falling numbers.
The status of the breed is given in the World Watch List for Domestic Animal Diversity as “endangered maintained”.
This means that while it is not in immediate danger of extinction, its survival will require a concerted effort.
Mr Osborne said the Horse Board’s philosophy is that if Ireland is to go anywhere in the sport horse world it will have to go back to the basics - the Irish Draught horse and mare.
“The last thing we want to see is people getting out (of that),” he said.
Mr Osborne was launching an illustrated history of the Irish Draught horse by Mary McGrath and Joan C Griffith, published by Collins Press in Cork.
For a full list of results see Thursday’s Farm Exam.