April 30, 2008

An innovative training scheme for Irish horse breeders is now in operation following a grant of €420,000 ($NZ842,000) to the Irish Horse Board.

The grant to develop a training network for breeders is from Skillnets Ltd, an enterprise-led body that was established in 1999 to provide companies with new opportunities to develop relevant, effective answers to their training and development needs.

The IHB has announced that their 'Sport Horse Breeders Skillnet' will get under way, with the first courses for breeders, 'Veterinary Care for the Mare and Foal' and 'Sport Horse Sales and Marketing', to commence next month.

The 'Veterinary Care for the Mare and Foal' courses will be run at four venues throughout the country for one evening a week for four consecutive weeks. The first evening will focus on equine reporoduction. Other topics to be covered include Post Foaling Care of the Mare and Foal, Disease Prevention/Control and Limb Deformities and Common Ailments and First Aid.

The first of the Sport Horse Sales and Marketing courses will be held at the Sport Horse Performance Sale in Goresbridge on May 22. Additional courses will be held at Cavan and Goresbridge Horse Sales throughout the year. Participants on these courses will identify a range of horses, discuss their suitability for various markets and follow their progression through the sale, giving the participant a greater awareness of market requirements.

Other courses which will be delivered by the Sport Horse Breeders Skillnet later this year include Nutrition, Mare Management, Care, Handling and Production of Young Stock, and Mare and Stallion Assessment/Genetics. In addition, several field trips and workshops will be organised throughout the year. Further details on these courses will be announced over the coming months.

All courses run by the Sport Horse Breeders Skillnet are free of charge to members.

The Sport Horse Breeders Skillnet is funded by member companies and the Training Networks Programme, an initiative of Skillnets Ltd funded by the National Training Fund through the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.