A questionnaire compiled by the breeding taskforce was distributed to all Eventing Ireland members, asking them about their mare herd, stallions used, marketing of progeny, support for Eventing Ireland breeders, sire selection, and production of event horses.
The 44 replies had a good geographical spread and included replies from senior riders, junior riders, owners of stud farms, and hobby breeders.
Interestingly, all of the replies from senior riders showed that they were all interested in breeding their own event horse.
It was clear that there was a considerable interest in the breeding of 'an eventer' for its own sake, not as a by-product and most responders knew the breeding and performance history of their mares.
It would appear that most mares were related to good performance horses and were from proven families producing show jumpers and eventers.
The majority of breeders said that they sold their young stock occasionally privately, but mostly through sales.
On stallion selection, the breeders would appear to split into two main groups.
Firstly, those who are strongly in favour of having totally Irish blood, and secondly, those using bloodlines (from both within and outside Ireland) using warmblood or thoroughbred bloodlines.
The majority of replies said that they were spending, on average, €600 on a covering fee, with some prepared to spend more than €1,000.
The type of service most used was natural cover, with some breeders using AI.
All responders saw the need to improve the marketing of our event stock, whether through sales, websites, or competition classes and believed the information available to breeders should be improved and that the database should be improved.
In general, there was a consensus that much more statistical information should be available to the horse breeder: crucially, information on performance records especially for the sire, both on his own performance and that of his offspring.
Some saw that there was a need to educate breeders on the demands of sporting requirements on our horses.
Most were in agreement that a breeding newsletter was a good idea and there was a major consensus that there should be more rewards to breeders of successful horses.