Horse breeding in Ireland has reached a historic milestone, with the Northern Ireland Horse Board joining Horse Sport Ireland as an affiliate from January 1 next year.
The decision means that all passports and registration applications will be sent directly to Horse Sport Ireland in Naas and all processing will be carried out by Horse Sport Ireland. The decision to affiliate was approved unanimously at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Northern Ireland Horse Board this week.
As a result members of the Northern Ireland Horse Board (NIHB) will receive registration discounts on the same basis as members of the Irish Horse Board (IHB). Members of the NIHB will also have free access to CapallOir, up to the same usage limit as IHB members, and will receive Horse Sport Ireland publications.
The NIHB has also agreed to support an additional leg of the Irish Sport Horse Studbook Showjumping series, which will be held in Northern Ireland, as well as joint initiatives in other disciplines.
Chairman of the Northern Ireland Horse Board Sam Smyth said: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Horse Sport Ireland. Breeders in Northern Ireland will now receive the same benefits that Horse Sport Ireland is providing to members of the IHB. Our members are particularly excited about having access to CapallOir as we have been hearing great reports of it from our colleagues across the border,” he said.
“The fact that our breeders will be dealing directly with Horse Sport Ireland in relation to registration matters will also improve efficiency. The NIHB office will remain open and we will be focusing on recruiting new members and providing seminars and other services to our members,” he said.
Horse Sport Ireland Chairman Joe Walsh said that the Northern Ireland Horse Board deciding to affiliate to Horse Sport Ireland was “a historic development for the sport horse sector.”
“The NIHB is the democratically elected representative body for breeders in Northern Ireland. Horse Sport Ireland has already been recognized as the Governing Body by Sport Northern Ireland,” he said.
“Since Horse Sport Ireland was established our modus operandi has been to work with the democratic bodies within the sector to try pull the sector together. The only way to move forward is by working together. I am particularly pleased that this decision was approved unanimously at an EGM of the NIHB. The real challenge now is to secure more funding for our sector so we can have improved prize money, an aggressive marketing programme and new training and education programmes at grassroots level.”