Farm Ireland

Tuesday 23 January 2018

Alarm as one in three horses registered with no recorded pedigree

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

More than one in three horses registered in Ireland in 2012 received only an identity document, according to Horse Sport Ireland (HSI).

The statistics for 2012 show that despite the significantly lower returns paid at sales for horses with 'white books', many breeders are still choosing to breed horses without recording pedigrees.

In 2012, some 64pc of horses received a studbook passport, while 36pc received an identity document.

Of the 5,801 foals registered in Irish Horse Register in 2012, some 795 foals had no recorded pedigree.

More than 75pc of older horses registered in 2012 were registered without any pedigree.

Some 8,597 adult horses were registered in 2012, of which 6,603 were issued with white books.

HSI chief executive Damian McDonald described the trend as "worrying".

"We regularly receive proposals to reduce the cost of non-pedigree identity documents to facilitate people registering their horse to comply with the law but as an industry, our objective should be to have all horses registered with recorded pedigree," he said.

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"Why breed a horse if its pedigree is not worth recording?"

HSI breeding director Alison Corbally said there were several reasons why a horse with recorded pedigree was preferable to one with only an identity document.

"Three-year-olds with an Irish Sport Horse Studbook passport will make 158pc more return for their owners than three-year-olds with only identity documents," she explained.

"And if you don't have the horse's pedigree recorded, you as the breeder will not get any recognition if that horse goes on and does well in competition."


"If a horse that you bred goes on to compete for the United States, for example, we may not be able to trace it back to the original mare and verify its ancestors," she added.

"Why would anyone want to get just an identity document for their foal, given that as a foal, the breeder knows the sire and dam and that DNA verification is free to ISH breeders on foal registration?"

Ms Corbally acknowledged that high proportion of identity only registrations could be due to disagreements between stallion and mare owners and stud fee payment.

She advised breeders to have a clear contract regarding covering terms, whether that was based on payment up front, no foal no fee or no foal, free return.

She urged all stallion owners to return covering certificates by the deadline of October 31 of the year of covering and advised mare owners to keep a record of covering certs, invoices and payments made.

Irish Independent