New warmblood horse studbook for Ireland

March 20, 2009

A new horse registration body in Ireland is to operate the country's warmblood studbook.

Brendan Smith, Ireland's Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has approved the Warmblood Studbook of Ireland's application to operate, under EU and Irish legislation, the studbook for the Irish Warmblood horse.

The Warmblood Studbook of Ireland (WSI), a division of Irish Warmblood Studbook Ltd, was founded by Tom Reed and Dawn Kelly, owners of Morningside Stud, and Claire Wood, a horse breeder and trainer also from the Killaloe/Ogonnelloe area of County Clare.

"This historic action has ended the monopoly on sport horse breeding in Ireland previously exercised by the Irish Horse Board/Horse Sport Ireland," the WSI said.

WSI's mission is to help breeders produce international showjumpers that will compete in international Grand Prix, Nations Cup, World Cup, and Championship classes. The Studbook will conduct stallion and mare inspections and the focus is on breeding stock that has clear potential to produce international showjumpers. Each foal will be inspected and the results of those inspections will be fed back into the Studbook's ongoing stallion and mare evaluations. Strict limits have been put in place to restrict the percentage of Irish Draught blood in the stallions and mares approved by the WSI.

"We shall measure our success by how many foals we produce that later become international showjumpers, not by how many foals we register," said Dr Thomas Reed, Managing Director and Breeding Director of the WSI. "By design we are committed to staying small and selective and to working with like-minded breeders with very good mares who are committed to our vision, goals and strategy for the Irish Warmblood. We also hope to build a community of breeders who generously share their knowledge and insights with each other."

The Studbook developed its rules and procedures based on Morningside Stud's own successful breeding program and the policies of the Holsteiner Verband and the KWPN.

"We did not feel the need to reinvent the wheel, so we adopted many of the features of these two very successful studbooks" said Dr Reed.

"But at the same time we have definite views on what works well and what works here in Ireland. For example, we are adopting the Holsteiner's very important philosophy of concentrated genetics and the primacy of the damline while simultaneously adopting, and in fact expanding on, the KWPN's philosophy of ongoing evaluations of stallions before lifetime approval is granted. For our veterinary requirements we have been heavily influenced by the strict yet pragmatic philosophy of the KWPN and the University of Utrecht, a philosophy that resonates very well with the partners of Troytown Equine Hospital in Kildare, who comprise the Studbook's Veterinary Committee.

"Essentially what we have done is to make explicit for this new Studbook the formal and informal rules and rubrics we have been following at Morningside Stud for the last ten years as they apply to our own stallions, mares, and progeny."

The first foal to be registered by the Warmblood Studbook of Ireland was born on St Patrick's day, the day before approval was granted: Aibhlinn Bella M2S (by Cornet Obolensky and out of Pandina Bella by Landino x Voltaire) bred by Morningside Stud. With her sire being an Olympic showjumper and her grand-dam Sophia Bella being a full-sister to an Olympic showjumper this Irish Warmblood filly has her career already mapped out.