Ireland’s equestrian heritage at risk from huge rating rise

Tipperary’s Trevor Breen and Lord Luidam jumping 7'5" (2.15m) to win the Puissance competition at Bolesworth International in Britain.
Tipperary’s Trevor Breen and Lord Luidam jumping 7’5″ (2.15m) to win the Puissance competition at Bolesworth International in Britain.

Irish equestrian and racing establishments have reported huge rating increases this year, with some facing downsizing or closure unless urgent action is taken.

Some equestrian businesses had received notification of their fees being doubled and trebled from previous years, said Association of Irish Riding Establishments (AIRE) vice-chairman Rita Dunne, who met with representatives from Horse Sport Ireland and the Irish Racehorse Trainers Association in Kildare this week.

“High rate charges have already led to the closure of many equestrian businesses and if something is not done urgently many more centres will close,” Dunne said.

“Agricultural buildings should not be rated the same as commercial buildings. Many indoor arenas are only used two or three hours on a daily basis.”

Horse Sport Ireland interim CEO James Kennedy said the current inconsistent system is “simply unworkable”, as there were different fees being applied in different counties.

“Rates should be applied on an income less expenses basis thus providing a fairer system all round,” Kennedy said.

“The riding school is a major force in the rural community, offering children sporting facilities. This needs to be recognized by the Valuation Office and County Councils responsible for imposing a punitive and inconsistent rating system on an agricultural based enterprise. We need to put forward a united front and look for a fairer system for all involved.”

Kennedy said it was unrealistic to expect a riding school to have their arenas, stables, and concrete parking areas rated in the same way as an office space which could have a massive turnover in comparison.

“Riding centres are for many children their first introduction to equestrianism and is the seeding ground for potential international riders, Olympians, jockeys, grooms and thousands of riders connected with pony clubs across Ireland. Riding centres are involved in therapeutic riding and offer great assistance to special needs children and adults on a weekly basis. To lose a centre providing this opportunity is a terrible shame for any community.”

One possible solution discussed at the meeting was that riding centres, livery and training yards should be considered as agricultural rather than leisure for rating purposes.

Latest research and information from the horse world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.