Walsh warns that decline in Thoroughbred sire usage could hit standing of Irish horses
Concern is mounting about the impact of breeders turning away from Thoroughbred stallions when breeding Irish sport horses.
As hundreds of Irish and foreign-bred horses jumped at the country's biggest equestrian event, the Dublin Horse Show, Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) chairman Joe Walsh warned that breeders should not lose focus on the breeding of event horses.
Mr Walsh said he was concerned about the decline in the use of Thoroughbred stallions in the Irish Sport Horse (ISH) sector and the small number of foals resulting from Irish Draught mares covered by Thoroughbred sires.
Foal registration figures released by the HSI on Thursday showed that only 12pc of ISH foals were the progeny of Thoroughbred stallions.
Some 30pc of foals registered were sired by Irish Draught stallions, while 29pc were by foreign breed sires and 24pc by Irish sport horses.
Ireland has led the world in the breeding of event horses for 14 of the past 15 years but has fallen from grace in the showjumping breeding rankings.
"There has been a focus on improving the breeding of showjumpers in Ireland and this will continue, but not all our mares are suited to breeding showjumpers and we must not lose focus of the need to retain our position in eventing," said Mr Walsh.