SHAMROCKS aside for a moment, can we take home some good messages gleaned from other countries this week?

Over the past two weeks, Irish Horse World has featured the Hanoverian Verband, based in Verden, Germany. Susan Finnerty brought us all a veritable A-Z of the Society’s background, aims, and work on behalf of the equestrian community there and to say the least it’s highly impressive. We could certainly learn some lessons from it that would further develop and enhance our equestrian sector here (see pages 110-111).

With riding schools and equestrian centres facing a supply and demand issue, we could well look to the work of British Equestrian (BE). Their comprehensive 2022 survey to measure the health of the riding school sector in Britain uncovered both positive and negative trends.

Among the key findings was that while interest in riding remained high, over two-thirds of remaining centres were struggling to keep up with the strong demand for their services with staff shortages, lack of horsepower, and rising costs. Schools and centres were operating at 75% capacity as a result - creating a barrier to increased participation in equestrianism.A working group of BE, British Horse Society, Pony Club, RDA, and the Association of British Riding Schools was established, backed by a fund and practical initiatives to help schools and centres. BE has now launched its second comprehensive survey to pinpoint more data to assist the sector - their latest survey closes on March 31st next.

Championships calling?

Looming large on the radar is this summer’s FEI European Championship and it begs the question just where are we with our High Performance plans for Dressage and Para Dressage? There’s only weeks to go to get these teams together. Other nations are well ahead and advanced with their own campaign plans for the Europeans. Hopefully the powers that be are working progressively in the background but time, as the old saying goes, waits for no man.

As we went to press, Anna Merveldt and Esporim were flying the flag high, second in Ornago Grand Prix CDI3*, Italy.

Wishing all our loyal readers and advertisers a very Happy St Patrick’s weekend.