IRISH breeders and dealers have welcomed a new approval scheme designed to improve consumer confidence, though some believe elements of it may be hard to police.
Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) announced on Wednesday, 6 August that they will draw up a list of approved breeders — bound by a code of practice — for potential buyers’ use.
Joe Walsh, chairman of HSI, said: “As an industry, we need to set higher standards.
“While most horse sellers and dealers do a very good and fair job, we want to ensure new entrants to the industry are confident standards are high.”
There are 110,000 sport horses living in the country, 27,500 of whom are breeding mares, says HSI.
“The industry makes a huge contribution to rural Ireland,” added Mr Walsh.
But dealers like Oliver Walsh of Galway, who runs international dealing business Flowerhill (H&H, 17 April), is behind HSI’s move to get dealers to comply.
“I think it’s great that they are going to regulate the industry — there has been far too much indiscriminate breeding for years and it’s affecting the quality of the Irish horse,” said Mr Walsh.
“But although I will sign up to this code of conduct, the majority of breeders in Ireland are working lads who just have a mare and put it in-foal to whatever stallion is around. I’d like to see them regulated.”
The code of conduct will be drawn up in September and the approved list will be published in 2009.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (14 August, ’08)