THE staging of an international event in the Northern Region of Eventing Ireland, specifically at Castle Irvine, Necarne, will require the backing of a major sponsor, according to chairman Catherine Abbott.

This was the reply given to a question from the floor at the Region’s Annual General Meeting which was held at Gourley’s Bar, Ballygowan on Monday evening. At this first face-to-face AGM since the pandemic, there were 40 members in attendance with Event Organiser, Dora Beacom, joining on Facetime from Spain.

Treasurer John McBride presented the 2022 financial report which showed a loss for the year. However, McBride stated that a lot of expenditure had gone towards cross-country course building at Necarne, laying the infrastructure for future events including the Eventing Ireland National Championships this September.

McBride reminded members that they need to support NR events as the revenue generated from entries is vital for cash flow. Some of the senior riders present commented on the number of internationals which now take place in Ireland and how, in some cases, they end up having to choose between supporting a national event and competing at an international for qualification purposes or to satisfy owners.

It was widely agreed by those present that the current volume of internationals has an adverse effect on national entries as riders tend not to run their horses for several weeks following an international competition.

In her chairman’s report, Catherine Abbott referenced the Region’s finances. “The costs of running events have risen dramatically ...The extensive refurbishment of Necarne was a major spend and all has resulted in a major financial loss last year...On a good note, the work at Necarne resulted in a top-class venue.

“A new venue this year is The Clare, by kind permission of Declan and Becky Cullen; a new venue is always exciting and an asset to the Region. All NR events are self-funding, relying on entries to make them viable, so I appeal to NR riders to support our 13 proposed events if you want to keep them running. Use them or lose them.”

Later, Abbott urged members to support the Region’s main fundraisers, the Baileys Horse Feeds Flexi Eventing Series at The Meadows (which starts today) and the annual Awards Ball which will take place on November 18th at the Stormont Hotel, Belfast.

Abbott continued: “On behalf of the Northern Region, I extend my condolences to the families of members and supporters who lost loved ones last year. The NR community is close-knit and the loss of anyone is felt by us all. Mental health is a very important issue now and I would ask that all members be aware of those who may be experiencing difficulties and be aware of the dangers of social media; Eventing Ireland will not tolerate critical or offensive posts regarding members, officials or anyone involved in our sport.”

Having thanked landowners, sponsors and the EI office staff for all their support during the year, Abbott paid particular tribute to the Region’s Event Organiser, Dora Beacom. “Her skill and expertise in so many different fields is legendary. Please read her annual report, excellent, but left me with very little to say.” Beacom’s report covered the NR action from the start of the 2022 Flexi Eventing Series through to the Awards Ball, acknowledging the input of the very many people required to run a successful event.