Plotting our way back to the top of eventing pile
Breeding taskforce set up by Eventing Ireland unveils report on how Ireland can regain its title as the number one studbook in the world
The Irish Sport Horse studbook was last year overtaken in the eventing rankings of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) for the first time in 15 years when the Hanoverian Studbook knocked us off our pedestal as the number one producer of event horses.
While the Irish Sport Horse has always been renowned for its 'fifth leg' and workman- ike attitude, other European studbooks have upped their game and refined their breeding policies to compete with us as event horse breeders.
Inspired by a desire to maintain Ireland's leading position as a producer of top-class horses for this most demanding of sports, Eventing Ireland commissioned a 10-strong team of experts to produce a report on how to return Ireland to the top of the WBFSH rankings.
The breeding taskforce, under the chairmanship of John Reid, has made a number of recommendations.
"Ireland once had the reputation for producing the best showjumpers in the world, but sadly that is no longer a reality," said Eventing Ireland chairman John Wright at the recent report launch.
"Our eventers continue to hold their heads high, however, treasured for their toughness, courage and durability as well as their incredible skill -- and Ireland wants to keep it that way," he said.
The importance of using the right broodmare, with the emphasis on performance and pedigree, and the selection of the right stallion are both examined in the 32-page document which includes an analysis, undertaken by William Micklem, of the influence of thoroughbred bloodlines.
The report points out that while the old system for stallion inspections failed to talent-spot potential stars, and many of the stallions standing have failed to sire top-class competition horses on a regular basis, Eventing Ireland has a structure for producing young horses through competition which is, at present, as good if not better than nearly all of our competitors.