€500K awarded to 55 horse shows for breeding initiatives in Ireland

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Ireland's Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.
Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue. © Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

More than half a million euros have been awarded in breeding grants for breeding-related shows and initiatives throughout Ireland this year.

At €548,680, it is the largest ever funding total to shows through Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) Breeding Grants from the country’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

It support for breeding and production initiatives, classes and competitions at various equestrian shows and events throughout the country. The grants are aimed at assisting approved studbooks, breed societies and other equine events to propose and provide support for specific breeding and production-related shows, classes and initiatives, particularly with rare breeds in mind.

The biggest grant of €200,000 has been made to the Royal Dublin Society for the Dublin Horse Show, from August 17 to 21.

The grants were launched by Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), Charlie McConalogue, who said it was the largest fund allocated by DAFM to the breeding grant initiative, and would support breeders and producers nationwide, “the bedrock of the sport horse industry”.

“The grants will support smaller regional and grassroots breeding and production show-related classes. It will also engender a culture of breeder recognition and support in Ireland.

“The scheme supports rural spread of funding to breeders, producers and associated economic activity for venues nationwide, while also supporting innovation at grassroots level in the proposal, performance and promotion of Irish breeding and Irish horses,” McConalogue said.

DAFM minister Charlie McConalogue, at right, with, from left, HSI Head of Breeding Sonja Egan, HSI Chief Executive Denis Duggan, and HSI Chairman Joe Reynolds at the announcement of the largest ever fund for breed and production horse classes at agricultural shows for 2022.
DAFM minister Charlie McConalogue, at right, with, from left, HSI Head of Breeding Sonja Egan, HSI Chief Executive Denis Duggan, and HSI Chairman Joe Reynolds at the announcement of the largest ever fund for breed and production horse classes at agricultural shows for 2022. © Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

In 2021 the Breeding Grant was oversubscribed with shows and events submitting applications for the fund. This year, more than 60 shows sought support for 270 breeding and production initiatives, classes and competitions at various equestrian shows and events nationwide, with 55 being granted funding.

HSI Head of Breeding, Development and Innovation, Sonja Egan, said initiatives empower breeders, producers, venues and show organisations to seek funding for innovative ideas related to young horse breeding, production and showing. In doing so, they supported their local equine and wider community infrastructure.

HSI Chief Executive Denis Duggan said breeding and production throughout the country provide the backbone of the industry.

“Therefore it is crucial for us to be able to provide support to breeders, studbooks and events, big and small. This scheme aims to support breeders in their quest to produce the finest of Irish-bred horses. Our aim, supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine is to ensure initiatives such as these funded today, which showcase Irish-bred horses contribute to increased sales value and higher prices for the breeder.”

Other large grants include €80,000 to HSI’s Studbook Series, €25,000 for the Irish Shows Association CLG, €16,000 for the Young Event Horse Series, €21,500 to Millstreet, €20,000 to the Irish Breeders Classic, and €12,000 to Ballindenisk.

Horse breed groups to receive funding include the Connemara Pony Breeder’s Society (€10,000), the Traditional Irish Horse Association (€3000), the Irish Draught Horse Society (€2000), and the Kerry Bog Society (€930).

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