A MASS meeting of affiliates to Horse Sport Ireland will gather this weekend to discuss recent events in the Irish equestrian landscape.

The meeting is being held in Tullamore tomorrow (Sunday) and has been organised by the Irish Quarter Horse Association who ‘deemed it time to take some positive action’.

Two representatives of each affiliate to Horse Sport Ireland have been invited to attend and according to Kevin Croke, president of the Irish Quarter Horse Association, a full house is expected tomorrow afternoon.

“The objective of the meeting is to establish common ground with a view to a subsequent meeting to brief the newly appointed Directors of Horse Sport Ireland and the relevant Ministers, if the meeting so sees fit,” said Kevin Croke.

“This is intended to be an exercise in positivity, with the intention of putting forward the expectations of all involved, of Horse Sport Ireland as a service provider to the Irish equestrian community. In the times that are in it, it is a glorious opportunity to show a united front and put before the Directors/Ministers, a clear vision of what is expected from Horse Sport Ireland going forward. It will in effect amount to a Customer Service Charter. This will, no doubt, be a multi-faceted requirement. While various organisations will have different/specific requirements of Horse Sport Ireland, there will be a lot of commonalities in the requirements of all organisations.

“Positivity is the name of the game. An opportunity like this is unlikely to occur again any time soon. You are therefore encouraged to come, have your say and put the weight of your organisation behind this meeting. Strength in numbers will influential on the degree of attention and focus the new Directors/Ministers will give to any requirements/recommendations arising from the meeting,” wrote the IQHA president to the invitees.

IHB fees discounts enshrined

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Horse Sport Ireland fees discount for Irish Horse Board members were enshrined in agreement documents between the two sides in the lead-up to the establishment of Horse Sport Ireland.

Controversially, these discounts were recently scrapped by Horse Sport Ireland without consultation, even with its own Breeding Production and Advisory Council (BPAC), during Christmas week.

On February 14th 2008, the then chair of the Irish Horse Board Co-operative presented an eight-point document to its Board of Directors. (See News pages 84-85).

It followed on from the timetable for the implementation of the Dowling Report, set out in a document agreed by the Board of Directors of the Irish Horse Board Co-operative on the prior September 17th and by the Board of Horse Sport Ireland on September 18th.

Point 5 of the IHB document states: ‘Horse Sport Ireland will provide fee discounts to paid up members of the Irish Horse Board Co-operative and will produce and provide copies of the Stallion and Foal books as well as other related publications free to each paid up member in the year in question.’

The Irish Field put this issue to Horse Sport Ireland for comment this week.

A Horse Sport Ireland spokesperson replied yesterday (Friday): “While Horse Sport Ireland understand the disappointment of the IHB members, it would be inappropriate to comment on an internal Irish Horse Board Cooperative memo from 2008. The passage of time combined with external change programmes, for example the Indecon Report, has materially altered the operational context of Horse Sport Ireland. HSI has aptly provided the rationale for the cessation of the discount offering to IHB members in the press statement of 21 December 2022 and reiterates our objective to ensure a sustainable and competitive studbook registration service for stakeholders well into the future”.