SOME 55 shows nationwide benefitted this year from a share of just over €500,000 funded under the HSI Breeding Grant scheme.

Launching the grants this week, Minister McConalogue said: “I am very happy to be able to launch this breeding initiative. My department has worked extensively with the HSI breeding team to ensure that deserving applicants have been awarded the funding necessary to be able to put on breeding and development shows, particularly with rare breeds in mind.

“Fifty-five applicants will receive over half million euro between them, and this will facilitate Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM)-approved studbooks, breed societies and other equine events to propose and provide support for a specific breeding and production related shows, classes and initiatives. The grants will support smaller regional and grassroots breeding and production show-related classes. It will also engender a culture of breeder recognition and support in Ireland.

“The scheme supports rural spread of funding to breeders, producers and associated economic activity for venues nationwide, while also supporting innovation at grassroots level in the proposal, performance and promotion of Irish breeding and Irish horses.

“This is the largest fund allocated by the Department to the breeding grant initiative and will strive to support breeders and producers nationwide, the bedrock of the sport horse industry.”

At the launch, HSI Head of Breeding, Development and Innovation Sonja Egan said: “These initiatives empower breeders, producers, venues and show organisations to seek funding for innovative ideas related to young horse breeding, production and showing and, in doing so supports their local equine and wider community infrastructure.”

Backbone of industry

Horse Sport Ireland CEO Denis Duggan added: “We are grateful to Minister McConalogue and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for all their work and for ensuring that our applicants will receive the necessary funding for their events.

“Breeding and production throughout the country provides the backbone of the industry and therefore it is crucial for us to be able to provide supports to breeders, studbooks and events, big and small. This scheme aims to support breeders in their quest to produce the finest of Irish-bred horses. Our aim, supported by DAFM, is to ensure initiatives such as these funded today, which showcase Irish-bred horses, contribute to increased sales value and higher prices for the breeder.

“As the governing body of equestrian sport in Ireland, we endeavour to always support our stakeholders and this scheme highlights that, with over €500,000 in funding – the largest amount ever provided by the department to the equine industry – being used where it should be, and we are delighted to have been able to provide it.”