With less than eight weeks before the Horse Sport Ireland begins its autumn round of mare inspections, now is a good time to start preparing both yourself and your mare.
The inspections will run at 12 different locations between September 1 and September 30 and will provide owners with the opportunity to get their Irish Sport Horse and Irish Draught Horse mares inspected for classification in the relevant studbook.
The closing date for applications is July 18, so don't delay.
While the inspection process may appear daunting to some, Alison Corbally, Horse Sport Ireland breeding director, says there are numerous benefits of bringing mares out for inspection.
Linear profiling is used to give a detailed description on numerous traits of the animal's conformation, movement, athleticism and type (relevant for Irish Draught mares only).
"Mares are not graded in relation to the ideal during the linear profiling process but instead the profile describes the conformation of each individual mare. This is of huge benefit to breeders as it allows them to make an informed decision when choosing the most suitable stallions for their mares," she points out.
Mare classifications will also be published on Horse Sport Ireland's new online version of the Irish Horse Register 'CapallOir', which will allow the public to view the classification of all mares inspected.
"The classification of such mares will increase the value of each animal as breeders and owners alike will see immediately that the animals have met the inspection requirements. The dam line plays a vital role in the standard of animals being bred in Ireland and this must not be forgotten. Breeders need to be as particular about the mares they breed from as the stallions they choose to cover their mares," maintains Alison.
However the inspection process is also open to animals issued with white identification documents, have "unknown" breed and have no or partial pedigree recorded or a pedigree that does not qualify them for automatic entry into the Irish Sport Horse Studbook or have a passport issued by another studbook or authority that is not listed in the Cross Breeding Programme of the Irish Sport Horse Studbook. Applications for these Supplementary inspections are available on the Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) website.
what happens after the panel has assessed your mare?
"If your mare achieves Select or Class 1 status, both her performances and that of her progeny will be closely followed," says Alison.
"Depending on the performance of these animals, the mare may be eligible for further Merits (Irish Draught Horse animals) and Star Ratings (Irish Sport Horse Animals)."
Irish Sport Horses may be eligible for Star Ratings between 1* and 5*, while Irish Draught mares may be eligible for Gold, Silver or Bronze Merits. Star Ratings apply to showjumping, eventing, dressage and endurance.
The Merits and Star Ratings that have been awarded will also be published on CapallOir, for the public to see,
On the day of inspection, it is important that owners arrive early and have the animal turned out to high standard to best show of its attributes. A basic veterinary examination will be carried out and the mare's conformation will be assessed using linear profiling.
The mare's movement and athleticism is also profiled using linear scoring, with the mare being assessed in hand, in both walk and trot and then loose in an enclosed pen.
The owner can also choose to have the mare assessed on its jumping ability, which is required if the mare is to be eligible for Merits and Star Ratings.
Preparation for the inspection should begin now. By the time of inspection, the mare should be in good condition and have been loose schooled for a number of weeks prior to inspection. Manes and tails should be tidied and hooves paired by a farrier. If a mare has a foal at foot, you will need an additional handler to help with the foal and the foal should be halter trained.
HSI and Teagasc are hosting a series of four information evenings in venues across the country to provide information for breeders planning to bring their mares out for inspections. The evenings will cover what breeders should expect on the day, how to best prepare their mare(s) for inspections and a member of the inspection panel will be available for any queries people may have.
Admission to each evening will be free of charge and commence at 7pm at the following venues:
•Monday, July 11, at Uppermace Equestrian Centre, Claremorris, Co Mayo.
•Tuesday, July 12, at Clare Equestrian Centre, Doora, Co Clare.
•Monday, July 18, at Castle Leslie Estate, Glaslough, Co Monaghan.
•Tuesday, July 19, at Spruce Lodge Equestrian Centre, Redcross, Co Wicklow.
Application forms for the autumn inspections for both Irish Sport Horse and Irish Draught mares are available online on the HSI website (www.horsesportireland.ie) and must be submitted before July 18, so don't delay.
A list of venues and dates between September 1 and 30 have been scheduled (see table, left) to accommodate as many breeders as possible but these are dependent on entries and because of this they may be subject to change.