MINISTERS will spend this weekend hammering out the final details of Budget 2024 as we speculate what the Irish Sport Horse industry might be in line for next week. The word from Government camps is that this Budget will be even more challenging than last year and the general feeling is that it may not deliver in spades on the equestrian front.

It is not publicly known how much lobbying went on behind the scenes this year between Government and Horse Sport Ireland, who receive the funds for the industry. A public lobbying day of politicians did not take place but perhaps it is safe to assume that with a chairman who is a former Secretary General of the Department of Agriculture, that the governing body are going about their business in the best possible manner on the recommendations of Michael Dowling and his board?

As mentioned last week, the official ask from Horse Sport Ireland to the Department of Agriculture is an extra €1.5 million on last year’s allocation of €5.2 million. In the current economic context, that may be seen as a win but it remains to be seen if even that conservative figure will come to pass.

At worst, the industry will be hoping to remain at last year’s allocation for the third year in-a-row. The €5.2 million figure represents a €2.7 million increase from 2018. All will be revealed on Tuesday and we will bring you the latest news online and in print next week.

There is lots of interesting reading in this week’s paper and none more so that the story of the talking horse of the moment, DHF Alliance, whose breeder Paul Douglas (page 87) and owner Jessica Stallard (page 86) are both the subject of features this week. Congratulations to you both on producing such an exciting horse and well done to Comdt. Geoff Curran and the Army Equitation School for getting the mare to this level.