WE asked the Irish sport horse sector for their views this week over the recent substantial fees hike for registration services announced by Horse Sport Ireland.

Announced in Christmas week, without consultation with their own Breeding and Advisory Production Council (BPAC), Horse Sport Ireland has defended these increases as the first for 17 years and as being comparable with other industry studbooks.

However, the new HSI fees are, in some instances, over 60% higher than HSI’s main competitor Leisure Horse Ireland.

The new fee structure will affect Irish Sport Horse and Irish Draught breeders amid fears that some will opt for white books on cost grounds and that valuable breed data will be lost forever.

In our online forum this week on www.theirishfield.ie, breeders, owners, riders and producers did not hold back on their feelings about the impact of these new HSI fees on the Irish equestrian sector.

Here’s a representative flavour of the views posted:

Set the studbooks back 20 years

THE price increases are a direct result of mismanagement by Horse Sport Ireland of our Studbooks and the industry’s finances over the last year. Encouraging breeders to register outside Studbooks due to price structures is a disgrace.

And to think the Minister for Agriculture is responsible for the Board who apparently made the decision beggars belief.

The potential loss of pedigree registration for each animal not registered in the ISH and ID Studbook will set the industry back to the seventies - a time when dealers said, “what do you want him to be by?” This loss of pedigree and genetic heritage can never be recovered. It is total and utter incompetence.

It is a total disgrace to disrespect our - the breeders - National Studbooks in this way. The minister should take action to have the decision reversed and give the studbook licence back to the breeders.

Margaret O’Heany

Open to challenge

ABSOLUTELY ridiculous, getting rid of the only benefit of membership - which is open to challenge. The Irish Draught, as a rare native breed should be like the Kerry Bog pony, with no change in fees. I think they are trying to kill breeding in the country.

Deirdre Keegan

Insult to breeders

I THINK it’s an insult to the breeders that are the backbone of the horse industry in Ireland and will lead to a number of issues - the loss of breeding history of ID lines, the loss of covering fees to stallion men, the scourge of the white books being the cheaper route, and the possibility of the return of people not registering their foals and also the increased cost to the people that buy these unregistered foals that care about keeping these breed lines registered.

Also being a member and a shareholder [of the Irish Horse Board], why wasn’t it put to a vote? There will now be no difference in price for a member and a non-member now and this in turn will discourage some, if not all, to abandon their membership thus relieving the Horse Board to divulge the incidents of the last year.

Dermot OBrien

White books will devalue the Irish horse

THE increases in foal registrations will lead to delays in seeking passports and will increase the amount of white books. Breeders face considerable costs and take a lot of risk. Having spent years promoting the Irish horse via the worldwide known green passport, this move may, in time, lead to their decrease, which in a short time, has the potential to damage both the reputation and financial viability of the industry.

Marguerite Kavanagh


and unjustified

WHERE will this money go? Green books should be cheaper than white books or any other books.

This will be a setback for the industry and Irish breeding. Breeders are already working with very fine margins and this will push some breeders too far. The knock on will be catastrophic for the sector.

HSI is a semi state body that has been squandering funds for years, recklessly. Being a shareholder is of no benefit now either.

Whoever made this choice clearly has little to no knowledge of the work and costs it takes to get foals on the ground or have any forward planning. Again the people on the ground are paying for the mistakes of the HSI. It’s disgraceful and we deserve answers to these hikes and to see full accountability for the mess the HSI is in.

D. Monahan

No benefits

THERE does not seem to be any more benefits for the breeder. I wouldn’t mind a small increase if we saw the benefits of it but with the breaking and schooling scheme halved last year and we already pay to have a prefix that isn’t guaranteed to stay on the horse.

Catriona Shanley

Small breeder extinction

AS a small breeder, I feel they are trying to squeeze us out of the market. No ròom for people who produce TIH or native breeds. Farmers in ACRES will find no benefit if costs to register foals increase. Also the service from HSI has been poor to say the least regarding the issuing of passports.

E. O’Rourke

An insult to breeders

HSI is not fit for purpose. The increase in fees is not justified whatsoever.

Shane McAuliffe


VERY concerned about this price increase. Putting more pressure on an already under pressure industry, as a breeder of Irish Draughts, the margins are tight. Already very dissatisfied with HSI.

James Allen

HSI not fit for purpose

OVER the last two years, HSI has gone from bad to worse....now crippling us breeders with astronomical price hikes on registrations. Who makes these decisions and what expertise or background knowledge do these people have of the challenges we face everyday?

Is this a mere last effort to cover up the squandering of government funding or why would HSI inflict these shackles on the already struggling breeder? Who is actually going to benefit from these hikes?

Our breeding lines will be lost as people will not be able to afford the famous green book. It’s a sad, sad state of affairs for our breeding lines and if the Department of Agriculture don’t step in now and abolish HSI, they will continue to run our industry into the ground. We breeders are begging for HSI to fade into history where it belongs and let our industry thrive again like it was prior to two years ago.

C Brophy

A threat to the Irish Draught and TIH

I AM really concerned that the fee increase is going to endanger the future of the Irish Draught and Traditional Irish Horse. More breeders will be pushed towards the cheaper white book and thus, our Irish bloodlines which we have been fighting hard to save, could potentially be lost forever.

Niamh Grimes

No to bigger fees

No to fees increase.

Faith and Peter Ponsonby

Prize money reduction

I DO not like to see the prices increasing at all but a bar of chocolate also costs more than it did 10 years ago. The big issue I have with the increase is that we don’t see it corresponding to any increase in benefits back to the breeders.

As an example, last year we saw a reduction in prize money for the HSI Studbook series. Every other show in the world has seen huge increases in prize money but ours gets reduced and last year the breaking and schooling scheme ran by HSI saw its benefit to breeders halved.

David Scally

No to bigger fees

SUCH an increase is entirely unjustified. It is even more outrageous when the dreadful standard of service from HSI is taken into account. It takes months to process registrations and entries on the green books.

Joe Stewart


THE announced increases to registration prices is concerning. It could well result in a negative impact to the industry. With the price of fertiliser, meal etc, breeders may opt for cheaper registration options, a passport with no breeding recorded or use other passport providers.

Derry Rothwell