IT is with sadness and consternation that I have been reading about the meltdown in Horse Sport Ireland, notwithstanding the good international results of our Junior and Young Rider squads in 2022.
I had sensed the sport’s increasingly depressing trajectory for some years which is why, reluctant as I was to do so, I switched my competition horses to the UK after my son hung up his boots at the end of 2016.
I am prepared to be corrected, but it seems to me that this parallels what I observed working in the British bloodstock industry in the 1970s and 1980s when The Jockey Club there decided to appoint “marketing men” to the leading executive positions - people who had no background, no knowledge, no understanding, of the role that they were about to undertake. Apparently, they were going to “grow the business”! The head-hunting firms who sifted the applicants and made the selections spectacularly failed their client. The same thing appears to have happened here with HSI.
The greatest asset of Horse Sport Ireland are those people in it for whom horses are a way of life which is far beyond the value of the other assets that HSI might own. We are not engaged in a mere production system.
The role of HSI should be to direct the Know-How, Know-What, Know-Where and Know-Why of the people who work within it: Know-How to innovate; Know-What needs improvement; Know-Where HSI’s strengths and weaknesses are to be found and Know-Why HSI succeeds, or in this case, fails.
Dr JP Simpson