AS we begin to see light at the end of the tunnel we have been occupying for some time, and we return to an easier way of living, we can only hope that the tide of support that there was for our sports will now translate into bigger crowds attending our events, whether they are race meetings or equestrian activities and competitions.

Coming to the end of January, it is full steam ahead in the countdown to Cheltenham (though it seems this starts earlier each year), the start of the turf season on the flat, the foaling season which has just begun but will grow in intensity, the covering season, and much more. The air of expectation around all of these is electric, and I hope we can all appreciate them more than usual.

Last weekend I found travelling to various stud farms hugely cathartic, and the welcomes extended were warmer than ever, though I am sure that was just a consequence of having had our movements restricted for so long. There will still be a period needed for people to readjust, to even reacquaint themselves with social niceties, but we will all be the better for getting out and about.

While most will rejoice in the opportunity to socialise again, and hopefully give their support to the many businesses that suffered greatly during lockdown, please spare a thought for the many, not just the few, who are still wary of all restrictions being lifted. If you know of someone who is anxious about the new ‘normal’, reach out to them and help them to overcome their fears.

Those who embrace the new freedom will shout loudest, and fill social media platforms with their delight. Those who are anxious may remain hidden, out of sight, and they are deserving of our care and interest. Be kind.

Alison Corbally

Horse Sport Ireland’s director of breeding and programmes, Alison Corbally, has left the organisation to pursue other career opportunities. I wish her well as she departs a role that she made her own during almost 15 years with the state body.

On a personal level, I always found Alison to be a friendly face for the body, always helpful and with an obvious passion for what she did. I am sure that her role, as many such positions can be, was difficult, trying to balance the needs and desires of many different factions. However, I believe that the work she did will continue to benefit the Irish sport horse sector for a long time to come.