MINISTER for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, TD, was at the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) on Tuesday to officially launch the 148th Dublin Horse Show.

The 2023 show, Ireland’s only five-star, will play host to 168 competitions across five-days from August 9th to 13th, with a prize fund of over €1.3 million.

Speaking at the launch, Minister McConalogue said: “I am delighted to launch the renowned RDS Dublin Horse Show. Our island is recognised as the ‘land of the horse’ and is the most densely sport horse populated country in Europe. The Dublin Horse Show provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase and market Irish-bred horses, their breeders and producers and over the years, many good horses have been sold from Dublin overseas.”

He continued: “I am well aware of the significant contribution the sport horse industry makes to the Irish economy, contributing over €816 million annually and there are 14,000 plus full-time jobs. Breeding is the largest sector with public expenditure of €271 million to the economy and 14,830 active breeders. I am committed to providing supports to the sector to allow it grow and flourish into the future.

“This year, following a tender process, my Department signed two contracts worth €5.2m to deliver services to the sector. Horse Sport Ireland secured the contract for delivering national breeding services. From the monies allocated by my Department to these services, the RDS secured the largest allocation of €200,000 for breeding grants which will support young horse and pony classes in showing, show jumping and eventing classes throughout the week.

“The Irish Horse Board (IHB) are contracted to provide a marketing service for the sector and will play an important role in ensuring the reputation of Irish-bred and Irish-produced horses is celebrated worldwide.”

The Minister also encouraged all equine farmers to look at the options available to them to develop their enterprise in TAMS III which, for the first time, provides grants for equines. McConalogue indicated he will attend the Show on Friday to watched the Aga Khan Nations Cup, his first time attending as Minister for Agriculture.

High class sport

Among the highlights of the week will be the €250,000 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Ireland for the Aga Khan Trophy, taking place as usual on Friday afternoon. Sunday’s Longines International Grand Prix of Ireland offers a prize fund of €350,000 while crowd favourite, the Defender Puissance, will take centre stage on Saturday night.

Qualifiers around the country for national competitions came to a close last weekend and hundreds of competitors won hard fought ‘golden tickets’ to the flagship events, while entries closed last Monday.

A major theme again for the show is celebrating the positive impact that equestrianism has on society in general. Festina Lente will be providing both practical demonstrations and panel discussions on equine therapy and the benefits that can be gained from it.

Speaking at the launch, CEO of the RDS, Geraldine Ruane said: “The Show is one of the flagship events of our charity foundation, which was established about 300 years ago. Last year, 125,000 people came to the Show over five days. The RDS Dublin Horse Show is widely considered to be one of the best equestrian shows in the world. Equestrianism is a vital way in which the RDS fulfils its mission of contributing to a culturally and economically vibrant Ireland.

“The RDS is once again bringing back Postive Strides with Festina Lente who, through demos and panel discussion, will celebrate the impact that Equestrian has on everyday life and for those that need the relationship more than others.”

Ciara Sugrue, Head of Festivals at Fáilte Ireland, said: “Fáilte Ireland is pleased to once again support the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup RDS Dublin Horse Show, which showcases Ireland’s ability to host major sporting events for domestic and international visitors. Festivals are a key element of the tourism offering in Ireland and provide a unique reason for visitors to choose a destination, increasing footfall for local businesses and supporting jobs and revenue generation.”