Eventing in Ireland is to be overhauled, as the International Affairs Committee of Eventing Ireland admits that the country is not making the grade on the world stage.

Although the international eventing field is littered with top-quality Irish-bred horses, including Moon Man, Shear L’eau, Shear H2O and Supreme Rock, and although riders such as Sasha Harrison and Mark Kyle have established themselves as senior riders on the circuit, Ireland was well out of contention for any Olympic medals in Athens, and they have failed to feature in the final line-up of any major international competitions of late.

In a statement, Eventing Ireland said: “On a world stage, Ireland is under-achieving, and this is underlined by our disappointing results this year.

“Despite breeding many of the world’s best event horses, and being top of the BCM World Federation Stud Book for the last ten years, as a country, our standing does not reflect the talent and ability we are capable of producing.”

The shake-up of the sport across the Irish Channel is expected to involve:

  • improving the structure of Eventing Ireland
  • increasing funding
  • increasing membership
  • improving and broaden training
  • upgrading competition facilities
  • expanding event horse ownership and support groups

    A series of consultative forums are to be held across Ireland in November, which all those interested in the sport are being encouraged to attend, to kick-start the process of change.

    “The aim of these forums is to create a clear and unambiguous framework for Eventing Ireland that will enable it to identify and implement effective plans for the future,” states Eventing Ireland.

    “We can expect to produce International riders at all levels with realistic medal chances, and ensure a vibrant and active growing society.”

  • See the feature in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound on buying horses in Ireland