Horse Sport Ireland publishes Annual Report
- 7 August 2015, 00:52
HORSE Sport Ireland, the body responsible for the sport horse sector in Ireland, has today (7th August 2015) published its Annual Report for 2014.
Amongst the key statistics in the document is a drop in the number of foals registered in the Irish Horse Register. The number fell from 5,160 in 2013 to 4,548 in 2014, a 12% drop. The peak number of registrations in recent years was 7,633 in 2008.
Horse Sport Ireland Chairman, Professor Pat Wall, said that the reduction in the number of foals being born was welcome, as there must be an emphasis on quality rather than quantity.
“The increase in foal numbers up to 2008 coupled with a drop in demand as a result of the economic downturn, led to a drop in the market value for horses which was not good for the industry. There are signs that the market is now picking up, which is encouraging” he said.
“Over 145,000 entries were made in national equestrian competitions in the Olympic disciplines alone (show jumping, eventing and dressage) which demonstrates the huge levels of activity there is in the sector.”
“These figures come from the Olympic disciplines alone and do not reflect the huge activity levels in the leisure sector, with over 6,000 people participating in Hunting, approximately 4,000 members in Riding Clubs and around another 4,000 in Pony Clubs. Together with lots of activity in the other smaller disciplines, the sector is booming in terms of activity” he explained.
The year of 2014 was also very successful for Irish riders in international competition. A total of 584 different licensed international riders competed for Ireland in 29 different countries during 2014. At the end of the year, Ireland had nine show jumping riders ranked in the world’s top 100. Bertram Allen, who is currently ranked fifth in the world, led the way following a string of victories during 2014. The senior eventing team qualified for the Olympic Games, while Ireland won seven underage medals in show jumping and eventing.
“Our riders continue to do us proud on the international stage” said Professor Wall. “Our young riders have been a consistent highlight in recent years and it is great to see some of these now coming through at senior level.”
The Irish Sport Horse Studbook once again topped the world rankings for the production of three day event horses but the Studbook finished outside the top ten in show jumping.
“The lack of top Irish-bred show jumpers has been a persistent problem for the last three decades. There are signs of improvements with our younger horses having medal success in the world championships for their age groups.” “The problem is not all about breeding, as we also need to improve production standards. A big investment has been made in this area in recent years with the Studbook classes for young horses and young horse classes at the RDS being restricted to Irish bred horses. The recently published Sport Horse strategy ‘Reaching New Heights’ will give further impetus to our efforts to breed more top class show jumpers in Ireland,” he said.
Horse Sport Ireland itself recorded a deficit of €100,000 off a total income of just over €5m.
“Since our inception in 2007 our emphasis has been on supporting the industry through tough economic times and we have run minor deficits in some years rather than making cuts. However, this is not something we can continue to do. We need to be returning a modest surplus year on year to improve our balance sheet,” he said.
The Horse Sport Ireland 2014 Annual Report can be downloaded by visiting the ‘Publications’ section of the HSI website or by clicking on the link below.