Breeders in Ireland will now have more choice when deciding where to register their sport horses.

The Studbook for Irish and European Sporthorses (SIES) — an independent offshoot of the British-based Anglo European Studbook (AES) — is now up and running.

All currently approved AES stallions in Ireland will be recognised by the new book.

“We heard that breeders were looking for alternatives to the Irish Horse Board,” said SIES’s Henk Minderman.

“We already register 400-500 Irish horses at AES, so to open a stud book in Ireland was logical. A little healthy competition is good for everyone.

“We hope to attract professional breeders and producers with the top event horses and showjumpers, as we already do to the AES.”

He added that two stallion shows are already being set up in Ireland for 16 and 17 April.

Tom McNamara, from Irish sport horse breeding operation Horses in Ireland, agreed, and told H&H: “It would be beneficial to have a choice.”

But H&H sport horse correspondent Carole Mortimer said: “Obviously some people see the need for yet another stud book, but I can’t see it.”

SIES will register foals conceived by artificial insemination from top performance stallions to full pedigree as well as those bred naturally.

Organisers also hope to run stallion gradings in Ireland in 2010 based on the AES system, which has had success in talent-spotting young stallions, including Arko, Tinkas Boy and Rock King.

There are already two sport horse stud books in Ireland — the Irish Horse Board and the Warmblood Studbook of Ireland, which opened earlier this year.

The SIES will be based in Northern Ireland, but is open to all Irish breeders.

Northern Ireland Horse Board, part of the Irish Horse Board, does not feel threatened.

“We’ve had competition before — the more the merrier. But we warn owners to apply for passports that suit them best long term,” said a spokesman.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (25 March, ’10)