A ROW has erupted between Showjumping Ireland (SJI) and Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) over the upcoming DAFM show jumping studbook series. This year, HSI will run the series under FEI rules rather than SJI rules and circulated terms and conditions to the relevant venues to that effect. The series has a state-funded prize pool of €89,300.

SJI was so concerned by the change it issued an urgent appeal to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine this week asking for an intervention prior to the first leg, scheduled for April 13th.

The Irish Field understands the department has responded to the appeal and has indicated an investigation will be initiated.

The concerns SJI has include:

  • Without SJI insurance, which applies to affiliated events, how will the events be insured?
  • Will all riders and horses be required to have FEI registrations?
  • What entry platform will be used if not SJI live?
  • Are SJI judges qualified to operate under FEI rules?
  • Does this breach the governing body’s rules that a national class cannot be run under FEI rules?
  • In a statement to The Irish Field, SJI said: “Since the initiation of these classes, initially through the Irish Horse Board and then HSI, these classes have run under Showjumping Ireland National Show jumping Rules at Affiliated and Authorised Shows. IHB/HSI and SJI have always worked collectively to ensure the delivery of the series.

    “Classes for 2024 are to run under FEI rules and all reference to SJI rules, shows, membership etc has been removed.

    “This will cause serious issues and have received a significant number of calls and enquiries from concerned members once this came to light. Showjumping Ireland have been in contact with HSI since October 2023 in relation to this series and these changes have never been mentioned or discussed.

    “Showjumping Ireland are extremely concerned in relation to the indication by Horse Sport Ireland that they are attempting to run the DAFM Show jumping events outside national show jumping rules. This would have far-reaching implications in relation to insurance, governance and protection of riders, owners and officials and the national sport.

    “What is more concerning is that this also appears to be a targeted and discriminatory move against Showjumping Ireland by HSI. This is borne out by the fact that the sister series for Eventing is required to run within Eventing Ireland rules with Eventing Ireland membership being a requirement to enter.

    “As this is DAFM investment, it has now been necessary to contact DAFM and Ministers McConalogue, Hayden and Hackett to request that they might confirm that the DAFM Show jumping Series will run under SJI National Rules to ensure all parties are catered for and that the classes can take place as they have done in all previous years at many of the top shows and venues nationwide, alongside National and Premier Grand Prix Classes.

    “In the event that this is not confirmed, Showjumping Ireland are currently working on the provision of classes that will ensure that members, owners, breeders are not left without and will have classes and prize money available for young horses.


    HSI CEO Denis Duggan responded by saying: “SJI insinuate that HSI have tried to break several SJI national rules, however, at no point have SJI stated which rules they are referring to. The DAFM Studbook series will run under the FEI rules, to which SJI should be harmonised. Despite the claim from SJI to be both a regulatory body and governing body, it is in fact neither, nor is it recognised by any higher authority as being such.

    “HSI is satisfied that this Studbook Series is compliant with the necessary FEI rules. However, as SJI have referenced alleged non-compliance, we are happy to meet again with SJI to explore their concerns.

    “SJI also claim that there has been no engagement from HSI with SJI, which is false. There were at least five engagements by meeting or formal correspondence since November.”

    This year, the DAFM Studbook Series will be live streamed on ClipMyHorse.tv and FEI.TV, a move The Irish Field understands is not supported by SJI and may be a major factor in the dispute.

    Mr Duggan’s response to this was: “It was made abundantly clear (at a meeting in November) that the state-funded series broadcast rights do not belong to SJI and that all live streaming /broadcasting of the series will take place with an appropriately procured provider to be live streamed on an international platform by HSI under the national breeding scheme (and) if SJI did not wish to comply with such a rule, there would be no option but to run the series independently.”