HSI and Minister McConalogue opens applications to €2m in breeders initiatives

  • 24 June 2022, 12:41

Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) and Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D have opened the applications process for the equestrian governing body’s national breeding initiatives in 2022, which are funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to the tune of close to €2m.

At the opening of applications for the 2022 Breeding Initiatives, (L to R) are: Denis Duggan, Chief Executive Horse Sport Ireland, Julianne Gaffney, JAG Equestrian Centre, Naas, Co. Kildare (Recipient of Breeding Grant support), Minister for Agriculture, Food & Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D., Sonja Egan, Head of Breeding, Horse Sport Ireland, and Joe Reynolds, Chairman, Horse Sport Ireland.  (Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile)

Through several schemes, Minister Charlie McConalogue, T.D., officials within the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine, and HSI have collaborated to ensure monetary backing for breeders of sport horses across the country.

Funding from these Breeding Initiatives administered by HSI will help equine breeders to grow their operation and ensure they have the best possible opportunity to make successful breeding decisions, helping them to boost sales and increase potential for elite performance.

Minister McConalogue said:

“We are fully committed to breeders in Ireland, whether they run small operations or on a larger scale, and I firmly believe that through this funding Irish-bred horses can continue to excel, at home and on the international stage.

“Breeders can be safe in the knowledge that my Department and HSI have their best interests at heart, and we will continue to have open discussions as to where we can ensure funding of these kind of initiatives for our breeders.

“It is very important to me that we ensure that the grassroots of the horse sport sector is financially supported and I will continue to endeavour to making sure they receive the best of help.”

HSI Head of Breeding, Innovation and Development, Dr Sonja Egan added:

“The breeding team have worked to diversify schemes terms, conditions and eligibility to support breeder inclusion.

“I would like to recognise and thank the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for their support of Irish breeders and horses through various initiatives available for 2022.

“This facilitates those striving for high performance, market purposes of the Irish horse and the preservation of rare breeds and bloodlines. It engages breeders from foal to young horse development, equine health, beginning ridden work through to the various production classes such as the HSI Development and Studbook Series.”

Funding for schemes such as the Mare Upgrade Scheme, Mare X-ray Screening Scheme, Thoroughbred Percentage Scheme, Breaking and Schooling Scheme, Embryo Transfer Scheme and Stallion Health Screening Scheme has been made available by the Department and breeders nationwide have been encouraged to apply for grants.

The mare upgrade scheme facilitates breeders who wish to purchase performance dam line fillies or retired performance mares from abroad for breeding purposes, while the mare and filly x-ray screening scheme provides breeders/owners with an accessible pathway to completing a full set of x-rays screening for potential heritable skeletal abnormalities.

These X-rays are useful for bench-marking the breeding herd, supporting breeding decision making and supporting performance decisions.

The HSI Breaking and Schooling Scheme aims to incentivise Irish breeders to produce future breeding horses through a designated training pathway and in so doing add value to them, with the scheme open to breeders with young horses intended for breeding aged between three and six years of age.

The safeguarding of the equine national health status and the reproductive health of stallions is of vital importance and HSI are delighted to offer subsidised reproductive health screening in a HSI designated clinic for all stallions active in the sport horse sector.

The scheme will include screening for sport horse sector stallions standing in Ireland for Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA), Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA), Contageous Equine Metritis (CEM) and Fragile Foal Syndrome (FFS).

The Thoroughbred Percentage Scheme is to incentivise the breeding of sport horse foals with greater than 70% thoroughbred blood and the Embryo Transfer Scheme aims to increase genetic variability, selection and diversity. The scheme will benefit the owners of performance mares, or mares that have already produced top-class performance horses, through the support of the Embryo Transfer process.

Schemes have an application deadline of 30th September 2022 and an allowance of two applications per scheme. Please read all terms and conditions of the scheme you are applying for and note as schemes are largely based on a first come first served basis the schemes may have reached their capacity before the deadline.

For a full list of terms and conditions for all schemes and to complete the online application process go to https://www.horsesportireland.ie/breeding/initiatives/