THE RDS has welcomed Mervue Equine as the sponsor of the innovative Broodmare Futurity class at this year’s Dublin Horse Show, which takes place from August 14th to 18th.

The class, which was first introduced in 2010, centres around the identification of potential high-calibre mares from the three, four, five and six-year-old national show jumping classes. These mares have the potential to be, or to produce, the top performance horses of the future.

The RDS, concerned by the absence of Irish-bred horses in top-level show jumping took decisive action in 2010, in order to develop an internationally competitive, export led, sport horse breeding industry once more.

To do so, it was determined that superior genetics must be identified, highlighted and promoted, and made accessible to a greater numbers of breeders. The Futurity concept formed part of a drive to address these breeding concerns, and it also served to create awareness amongst breeders of the need for performance genetics and strong dam lines, in particular.

The class met its objectives early on, when identifying high-profile winners, such as Claddagh Cruise On, the 2010 winner and Arraghbeg Clover, the victor in 2013. Claddagh Cruise On was subsequently purchased and produced to 1.40m level by Cian O’Connor and is now part of Ennisnag Stud’s breeding enterprise in Co Kilkenny. Arraghbeg Clover won the Gold Medal at the World Breeding Championship for Five-Year-Olds in Lanaken, Belguim, later that year, under Greg Broderick, and was subsequently competed at international level with Max Kuhner (AUT) and Olga Chechina (RUS).

Each year, two internationally renowned judges are invited to observe and score each mare competing in the Young Horse Show Jumping Championships – the Three-Year-Old Loose Performance, the Four-Year-Old, Five-Year-Old and Six-Year-Old show jumping horses. The classes commence on Thursday of the Show and culminate with the Broodmare Futurity Final, which takes the format of an in-hand class, on the Sunday. Eight mares will qualify for the final, two from each age category.

A part of the judging exercise is to assess the potential strength of the maternal dam line and how this might contribute to a breed improvement programme to produce better Irish-bred show jumping horses through the next and subsequent generations.

The Final offers a prize fund of €6,750, which is broken down as follows - 1st €3,000, 2nd €1,500, 3rd €750, 4th €500, 5th €250, 6th €250, 7th €250, 8th €250.

Commenting on the new sponsorship, Show Director, Pat Hanly noted: “The RDS ethos for the competition - supporting excellence in breeding, performance bloodlines and the longevity of the Irish breeding industry - aligns closely with Mervue Equine’s mission to promote excellence in equine health and performance.”

Head of Mervue Equine, Ciara Watt commented: “Mervue Equine is headquartered in Cork and has a long-standing history of supporting show jumping in Ireland. We are delighted to add the Broodmare Futurity Class to our sponsorship portfolio to reaffirm our support to the industry. ‘’