THE Army Equitation School has been allocated a budget for horse acquisitions of €350,000 in 2023.

Minister for Defence, Cork South Central TD Micheál Martin (FF) was responding to a Dáil question from Kildare North TD Catherine Murphy (SD) on the number of horses that joined - and left - the Army Equitation School in 2022 and its budget for this year.

Minister Martin replied: “The mission of the Army Equitation School is to promote the Irish Horse through participation in international competition at the highest level. The Army Equitation School has discharged this task with considerable distinction down through the years and, through its participation and numerous successes in equitation events at home and abroad, it has successfully promoted the qualities of the Irish Horse.

“The Army Equitation School continues to source suitable Irish bred horses that meet the required standard as judged by the School’s Horse Purchase Board. Horses are acquired through either purchase or lease agreement.

“In 2022, five new horses were purchased by the School. During 2022, a total of six horses left the Equitation School. The School’s budget allocation in 2023 for horse acquisitions is set at €350,000.

“I am satisfied that the current arrangements allow the School to maintain its competitiveness at national and international events,” said Minister Martin.

Funding supports

Separately, Longford-Westmeath TD Robert Troy (FF) asked what supports are available to support equestrian activities for persons with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD replied that Horse Sport Ireland is eligible to apply, and has been successful, for grant funding from Sport Ireland in this regard. Diversity and inclusion initiatives are funded primarily through the Dormant Accounts. He outlined funding of some €132,000 from 2016-2022 for HSI and its relevant affiliates.

Minister McConalogue replied: “HSI received funding in 2022 through the Dormant Account Fund Investment to support the work of RDAI with €45,000 allocated under the Diversity and Inclusion stream.

“Additional funding to the value of €7,000 was received under the Sport for all Disability Supports Club Fund.

“Similarly, in 2016, Horse Sport Ireland was awarded €40,000 for a partnership project with RDAI to deliver innovative and comprehensive training programmes for RDAI volunteers.

“In 2020, HSI in partnership AIRE and their registered equestrian centre, Childvision, received funding of €40,000 from the Dormant Account Fund Investment to deliver a project that provided comprehensive training to equine professionals in therapeutic riding and equine assisted learning,” concluded Minister McConalogue (FF).