Europe's top buyers flock to Mullingar
Pilot programme promotes Irish horses
Several top international buyers of showjumping horses flew into Ireland over the weekend as part of a pilot programme aimed at promoting the trade for young horses here.
The programme, the brainchild of Mullingar International Horse Show director Robert Fagan, saw buyers from Germany, Poland and Switzerland arrive to assess the current stock of four-year-olds and upwards in this country.
Among the potential buyers was Dietmar Gugler, trainer of the German junior and young rider teams and well-known dealer of top international jumping horses.
He was accompanied by another top dealer, Andreas Krieg, the man behind the Krieg Sportpferde at Villingen-Norderstetten in Germany. A former Grand Prix and Nations Cup winner, Krieg now produces and sells some of the top showjumping horses in Europe.
Mayo native and Germany-based producer Carl Hanley had intended to travel home for the show, but was unable to attend at the last minute after his young stable jockey Alex Duffy got the call from Robert Splaine to jump for Ireland at the St Gallen Nations' Cup.
Polish buyer Jan Chrzanowski, who works in partnership with Swiss-based Irish rider Niall Talbot, and Ciaran Howley also travelled to Mullingar to see the type of horses Irish breeders and producers had on offer at the show.
Pat McCartan was involved in organising the trip for potential buyers and said the aim was to market Irish horses to potential new markets.
"The idea was to bring these buyers across and make some connections with Irish riders, breeders and producers," he explained. "If we can make those connections, it could open new doors for Irish horses abroad. It's important to remember that while these buyers are in the market for top horses, they are also looking for horses suitable for riders of all abilities.