Young Breeders

The Young Breeders programme is a joint programme between Teagasc and Horse Sport Ireland. The programme is aimed at those between the ages of 14 to 25 years who are interested in assessing, exhibiting, and breeding performance horses. They do not have to be breeders themselves or come from an equestrian background. An avid interest and an eagerness to participate and learn is all that is required.

Spring 2012 Graduation: Back row: Connor Higgins & Patrick Hester Middle row: John McGearty & Sarah Camon Front row: Iris Brazil with FETAC certificates

Spring 2012 Graduation: Back row: Connor Higgins & Patrick Hester Middle row: John McGearty & Sarah Camon Front row: Iris Brazil with FETAC certificates

The skills and knowledge transferred through training serve as a foundation for those with an interest in developing their knowledge of the horse. These skills come into focus for varied uses including purchasing a new horse/pony; deciding about which mares/stallions to use for breeding; assessing offspring; presenting horses for inspection, sale, show or competition.

The Young Breeders Programme is a wonderful opportunity for young people to meet with their peers and make contacts in Ireland and throughout the world who share their interest in horses.

The main activities of the Young Breeders Programme involve training days and national and international competitions.


The concept of Young Breeders was first introduced in Ireland in 2005 and has since been encouraged and developed by Horse Sport Ireland and Teagasc. The first national Young Breeders competition took place in Ireland in June of 2006 and in July 2009 the WBFSH Young Breeders World Championships took place in Kildalton College, Co. Kilkenny. A world championship competition occurs every second year, with the most recent taken place in Sweden 2013 and the next planned for England in July 2015.

Young Breeders Competitions

Young Breeders Competitions are open to everyone aged between 14 and 25 years of age that have an interest in horses. Competitors will be divided into two age groups (junior and senior) and the competition will consist of five different sections:

1. Theory (stable management, the sport, breeding, feeding, health and welfare)
2. Assessment of Conformation
3. Assessment of Loose Movement and Loose Jumping
4. Presentation of horses in hand using the triangle system
5. Turnout of horses

Young Breeders with Ballypatrick Stables

Young Breeders with Ballypatrick Stables

Upcoming Training Events for 2016

New participants in the programme are always welcome. Given the Young Breeders World Championships take place in Canada in 2017, the 2016 programme of events will focus on preparing for the National Competition in the autumn of 2016 providing the first stage of selection for participation in the World Championships 2017. Competitions are based fundamentally on assessment of conformation and athleticism traits and also presentation of horses in hand. These skills will be developed over the course of the year. Training days provide a fantastic opportunity to engage with some of the best professionals in the business.

Training events and national competition for 2016 are open to those aged 12-24 years on the 1st of January 2016. As always the programme is also open for educational purposes also to those who don’t necessarily wish to pursue competition goals.

Training at Gurteen Agricultural College

Full Day 10am – 4pm on Saturday 15th October

To be involved just contact Wendy Conlon or 087 9879083. ISH Young Breeders are also on Facebook.


Arena Party Training

There is opportunity for the senior young breeders (19-25yrs) who have actively attended training sessions to partake in further training to become an arena party member for loose jumping at HSI mare and stallion inspections. This aspect of training begins in the spring time with Declan McArdle of Teagasc. Participants are trained in all aspects of arena party activity. Successful candidates can achieve FETAC minor award accreditation. The training is integrated with the HSI mare inspections and participants must pass an exam to get onto the arena party panel.

Spring 2012 saw the graduation of the first qualified Irish arena party at a presentation day in Abbeyleix in the month of February. Horse Sport Ireland CEO Damian McDonald presented the participants with their Fetac certificates on the day. Those who received certificates had undergone training to be part of an arena party for loose movement and loose jumping of horses under the tuition of Declan McArdle, Teagasc Equine Specialist Advisor.

Horse Sport Ireland CEO Damian McDonald congradulated the young breeders on achieving their FETAC awards saying:
‘’Guiding horses during loose movement tests is a real skill and it is a great step forward to have qualified people in Ireland to carry out this work. I want to thank Teagasc and Declan McArdle for their work on this programme’’, he said.
Patrick Hester is now qualified as an arena party leader, while Conor Higgins, Iris Brazil, Regina Daniels, Sarah Camon, Eileen Murphy and John McGearty are qualified as arena party members. They were presented with a FETAC minor award.

The young people engaged in the process will continue to gain further experience at the HSI stallion and mare inspections and must commit to a refresher training day annually to remain on the panel. The skills they have gained are applicable not only as arena party at inspections and competitions but also in training horses for themselves or others.

Contact information

If you are interested in participating at any of the Young Breeder training days or for further information please contact the organisers:

Wendy Conlon, Galway: 087 9879083/ 091 845291
Declan McArdle, Meath: 087 6831876/ 046 9026718

The ‘ISH Young Breeders’ are also on Facebook – ‘like’ the page and be kept up to date
Visit the ISH Young Breeders Facebook page

To be kept informed please contact Wendy Conlon to ensure your details are included in the Young Breeders database. You will then receive text alerts and receive any relevant emails. New members are always welcome and all levels of experience are catered for. The Young Breeders Programme is a fantastic way to meet new friends from all around the country with a similar interest whilst improving your horse knowledge.