Farm Ireland

Saturday 16 December 2017

Townend to speak at event

Top British event rider Oliver Townend is among a host of experts lined up to speak at the Teagasc National Equine Conference on Tuesday, November 15.

The 2009 winner of Badminton and Burghley will address the question, "Is Ireland still the home of the event horse?"

Speaking to the Farming Independent last week, the event rider lamented the lack of thoroughbred sires in this country and expressed concern that Irish breeders had lost their way in recent years.

Townend was in Ireland on a quest to find potential young event horses to produce at his base in Shropshire, England.

"The Irish still have very good lines but they are starting to thin out a bit," he said. "At the moment, Irish horses are still at the top but they are becoming quite old."

The rider is obviously a fan of Irish breeding, having ridden a number of Irish horses, including Ashdale Cruise Master and ODT Master Rose among others at top competitions.

In addition, Power Blade, the Irish thoroughbred sire bought by Townend and business partner Nina Barbour last year, has covered 20 mares belonging to the business partnership, as well as 46 outside mares since he was exported to Harthill Stud.

At the National Equine Conference, Teagasc equine specialist adviser Ruth Fennell will examine the performance results of Irish Sport Horses in eventing.

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However, the conference is not focused exclusively on eventing, with a session on breeding and showjumping.

Ireland's team show-jumping manager Robert Splaine will address issues surrounding competing at the top end of show-jumping, while Wiebe Yde van de Lageweg, from the VDL Stud in Holland, will speak on how to produce showjumpers for the wider world market.

Other speakers include Horse Sport Ireland CEO Damian McDonald, breeder, international rider and trainer Edward Doyle and breeder and chairman of Teagasc, Dr Noel Cawley.

The conference will take place at Teagasc's Moorepark Conference Centre in Fermoy, Co Cork, with registration at 9.30am. Entry costs €35 and pre-booking is essential. To register, contact Helen McNulty on 091 845217 or email

Indo Farming