Thursday 22 August 2019

No escaping Brexit - even at the Horse Show

Neigh bother: Left, Mia Cleary from Cheltenham, and Caoimhe Mulconroy and Jess Parsons of Co Clare. Photo:Frank McGrath
Neigh bother: Left, Mia Cleary from Cheltenham, and Caoimhe Mulconroy and Jess Parsons of Co Clare. Photo:Frank McGrath
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

Amid the show jumping and the rosettes, horse owners at the Dublin Horse Show are worried what a no-deal Brexit will mean for their sport.

Hugh McCusker, chairman of the Northern Ireland Horse Board, told the Irish Independent that "without doubt" if the UK crashes out of the EU the effects will be huge on the equine industry in Ireland.

Ciara Dennigan from Co Longford with eventer Paul Ank Pepper Pot. Photo: Frank McGrath
Ciara Dennigan from Co Longford with eventer Paul Ank Pepper Pot. Photo: Frank McGrath

He suggested horses will have to be checked and tested in either Dublin Port or Shannon every time they enter or leave the country in order to meet EU requirements. This, he warned, will prove costly for owners.

It would also mean a horse travelling between Co Fermanagh and Co Cavan, for example, would have to go via Dublin to be checked.

"It would appear that it would be £300-400 (€325-430) to do the blood tests and everything for horses to come into the EU," he said.

Speaking at the Dublin Horse Show yesterday, he said he thinks it would make sense if horses could get blood tests done that would last a year.

Saddled up: Ranch owner Monte Snook from Kara Creek in Wyoming takes in the Dublin Horse Show in the RDS. Photo: Frank McGrath
Saddled up: Ranch owner Monte Snook from Kara Creek in Wyoming takes in the Dublin Horse Show in the RDS. Photo: Frank McGrath

"We have put a proposal forward if there is a no-deal, can we do tests on a horse that will do him for 12 months. Put all the information on a database, you take his microchip number, check the horse out and on we go. The same with motor cars - police can look at the registration number, can tell if the car is taxed, insured, MOT-ed."

The Cavan Equestrian Centre has similar fears, as it sells horses to the UK market.

Owner Stuart Clarke said there is an "unknown" element to Brexit. He said: "60pc of what we sell goes to the UK. To go out with no deal though, I don't think the people who buy horses are all of a sudden going to stop.

"There may be extra paperwork that could weaken their spending power and then weaken the price for the seller here in Ireland."

The doom and gloom of Brexit didn't dampen the mood on the first day of the show, with Cian O'Connor reigning supreme in the Minerva Stakes with Diego. "I wasn't expecting to win that one," he said. Ahead of Friday's Nations Cup for the Aga Khan Trophy, he reckons the team have "a good chance".

And among all the tradition associated with the Horse Show, a real-life stetson-wearing cowboy was enjoying the occasion.

Monte Snook (62) has flown over for the week to attract the horse-mad crowd to his ranch in Sundance, Wyoming.

For over 20 years he has been giving a taste of the Wild West to tourists on the hunt for an authentic cowboy experience.

"We're cattle ranchers and several years ago we decided to welcome guests to live the cowboy life," he told the Irish Independent.

"The Irish fit the ranch really well - they're adventurous people."

It's the full package at the Kara Creek Ranch, with everything from moving the herd to attending local rodeos.

"We pick you up at the airport, take you to the ranch - we have log cabins for people to stay in - and we have a saloon at night," he added.

Irish Independent

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