THE breeding and production of horses and ponies is widely acknowledged as the backbone of the €815 million Irish Sport Horse industry. With 15,000 breeders in the sector, access to available schemes is crucial in helping develop business and also ensuring high animal welfare standards nationwide going forward.

What’s needed – and somewhat missing at present – is a consistent and uniform approach to any available schemes. There is not many of them to be accessed in the first place in comparison to the key food producers involved in the beef, sheep, pig and poultry sectors.