Equine sector to undergo strategic review

A strategic review of the infrastructure governing the equine sector is to be undertaken, with the Department of Agriculture issuing a tender shortly.

Equine sector to undergo strategic review

The review will include Horse Sport Ireland, along with its major affiliates, such as ShowjumpingIreland and Eventing Ireland.

The decision to undertake a review was made on Tuesday night at a meeting of the implementation group set up following the publication last January of Reaching New Heights, the HSI strategic plan. The review was recommended in the strategic plan.

Tuesday’s meeting was chaired by Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney. Along with HSI, the following organisations were represented: Teagasc, Irish Sports Council, Fáilte Ireland, Dept of Education, Northern Ireland Dept of Agriculture, Army Equitation School, ShowjumpingIreland, Eventing Ireland, Dressage Ireland, Association of Irish Riding Establishments, RDS, Irish Horse Board, and the Connemara Pony Society.

Mr Coveney previously commissioned similar reviews of Horse Racing Ireland, Bord nag Con and Bord Iascaigh Mhara. It is intended to have the review commenced before Christmas.

No decision was made on a proposal in Reaching New Heights that a levy on entry fees, sales returns, or registrations be introduced.

Meanwhile, the Dept of Agriculture confirmed that in relation to knowledge transfer discussion groups, funding of up to é3m is available over three years to provide for up to 750 participants.

As part of Dept of Agriculture funding announced in the recent Budget, €1.87m was allocated to HSI, along with €850,000 under the Equine Infrastructures Scheme.

Sophie Richards may have won bronze at the World Breeding Federation Eventing Championships for Young Horses last weekend, but her score did not count towards the Irish Sport Horse topping the studbook leaderboard.

The Wexford rider won in the competition for six-year-olds with SRS Adventure, which was bred by Billy Daly in Newmarket, Co Cork.

However, six-year-olds are handicapped when it comes to determining the studbook result, in that a multiple of 1.25 is applied to their score, which made her 47.3pens worth 59.1pens.

Thus, the Irish Sport Horse studbook victory came courtesy of three seven-year-old horses.

Two were ridden by Australians: Cooley Lands (Christopher Burton, fourth individually) and Fernhill Tabasco (Emma Dougall, fifth individually), plus Morswood, ridden by Britain’s Piggy French, who placed 12th.

All three have demonstrated their form in Ireland in the past year. Fernhill Tabasco won the CCI one-star class at Camphire International Horse Trials in Co Waterford in July and placed third in the CIC two-star at Millstreet in August. Cooley Lands finished second in the CCI two-star at Camphire, while Morswood was ridden to victory by French in the CCI one-star at Ballindenisk International Horse Trials in Cork last April.

HSI chief executive Damian McDonald said the ISH studbook victory augured well for the future.

“It’s a positive sign for Irish eventing. It gives optimism for the future. It shows the next tranche of Irish eventing horses are very competitive in their age group, which is encouraging,” said McDonald

Horse Sport Ireland has yet to receive the results of an audit on its distribution of Irish Sports Council (ISC) funding

The audit was commissioned by the ISC following its appearance before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in February.

The audit followed correspondence sent to PAC regarding the distribution by HSI of council funding for international events.

It was expected that the audit would be completed by July.

Yesterday, a slightly-exasperated HSI chairman Pat Wall said: “The next board meeting is on November 17. I’m hopeful to either have the report, or have the auditors address the meeting to explain what’s in their report.”

Briefing notes compiled by HSI chief executive Damian McDonald following last month’s HSI board meeting said: “The primary cause of the delay was because Deloitte were engaging with recipients of the ISC international hosting grants to seek their views. Deloitte intended to have further engagement with Millstreet and some of the other recipients of this funding before signing off on their report.”

Briefing notes compiled by HSI chief executive Damian McDonald following last month’s HSI board meeting said: “The primary cause of the delay was because Deloitte were engaging with recipients of the ISC international hosting grants to seek their views. Deloitte intended to have further engagement with Millstreet and some of the other recipients of this funding before signing off on their report.”

Meanwhile, a second audit regarding equine support grants was conducted by the Department of Agriculture on Sept 16, but Wall said:

“There was nothing to worry about in the Department audit. It was routine.”

A Dept of Agriculture spokesman said “no issues arose from the inspection”, but he said “a check in respect of the annual grant is to take place before the end of the year”.

The annual Owners Pony and Young Riders Charity Show takes place this weekend in Millstreet, Co Cork, boasting over 3,000 entries.

For the first time, the show has international status.

It is the 29th staging of the event and the 18th time it has been hosted by Millstreet. It has raised close to €300,000 for various charities.

A great day out is promised at Templemartin Hunter Trials on Sunday, November 8, with courses to suit all levels. The organisers also say there will be an array of great prizes, while the Open course is described as “challenging but enjoyable”.

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Discover the

Install our free app today

Available on

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox