PROOF that the Irish sport horse industry is well and truly on the crowded radar of our Government was evident with the commitment totalling over €2.5 million in funding unveiled for sport horse breeder schemes and for country shows and classes nationwide.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Donegal’s Charlie McConalogue TD (FF) was at Horse Sport Ireland’s offices this week to unveil the funding package. With key input costs continuing to rise across every sector, this funding comes at a crucial time and is most welcome.

The funding tranche was delivered in a week that saw the Maryland Horse Industry Board and the Traditional Irish Horse Association (TIHA) worked seamlessly together to complete what proved a highly successful trade trip week.

As the Americans jet home this weekend to Maryland, they can be well satisfied that their whistlestop tour, encompassing both the sport horse and thoroughbred sectors of the industry here, proved an enormous success.

Among the visits on their hectic itinerary were Karlswood, Cooley Farm, Ballylinch Stud, Punchestown, the Tattersalls Derby Sale, the RDS, and Coolmore. Invaluable contacts were made and exchanged - fostering links of this kind is the very lifeblood of international relations and trade, to say nothing of friendships formed and memories made.

A veritable ‘who’s who’ of the equine industry gathered in Dublin on Thursday where Maryland Governor Larry Hogan was the guest of honour. The Maryland group will attend the Irish Derby at the Curragh today (Saturday).

Don’t just take it for granted

It seems that those eligible for grants in the sport horse sector don’t make the most of what’s available to them, missing out on valuable funding as a result. CEO of HSI, Denis Duggan highlighted this salient fact in a week where almost €2 million was made available for sport horse breeding schemes and 55 shows nationwide benefited to the tune of another €500,000.

If you or your enterprise is eligible for grant aid, including possible Farm Payments, take time to familiarise yourself with what’s available out there - it could well pay off and make a valuable contribution to your yard and business.