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Irish eventers are being asked to contribute towards their training funds during the worsening economic climate.

Members of Ireland’s high performance squads have been asked to contribute around 13% of the €345,000 needed to fund their training this year.

But John Wright, chairman of Eventing Ireland (EI), said that Irish riders have been asked to contribute before and they were not the only country to do so.

“The Irish Sports Council gives €230,000, while EI adds €115,000 towards training,” said Mr Wright. “We have asked riders to chip in and raise a small portion of their own funds, but it’s not an unusual request.”

The EI contribution is made up of around €70,000 from the general membership with the remaining €45,000 from the high performance squads that contain 18 top Irish riders.

UK-based event rider Austin O’Connor told H&H: “We have all been asked for a contribution, and those who are not Ireland-based have been asked for more.

“Nobody’s delighted by it, but EI obviously just doesn’t have the money in the present economic climate.”

Read this story in full in the current issue of Horse & Hound (19 March, ’09)