Breeders are being asked to comment on proposals being put forward by Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) to reverse the dearth of Irish-bred top show jumpers.

The strategy, announced on the eve of the Failte Dublin Horse Show (5-9 August), suggests a simplified classification system for mares and stallions and stricter conformation assessments for stallions.

It is part of a new strategy for Irish horse sport announced last year (news, 23 October 2008).

Currently the Irish Sport Horse (ISH) studbook has six different classifications of stallions.

HSI hopes to distil this into a ‘traffic light” system with three ranks — recommended, preliminarily recommended and not recommended.

There will also be additional star ratings — up to five-star — for recommended stallions that either become successful performance horses or sire successful progeny.

Ireland’s 12,000 HSI registered breeders will also be offered an evaluation of their mares.

Horse Sport Ireland’s director of breeding and programmes Alison Corbally highlighted the need for new breeding strategies.

“While we are the top studbook in the world for breeding eventing horses, we have fallen down the rankings as a breeder of top class show jumpers and this year, there are only three Irish-bred horses in the top 200.

“We need to radically change how we do things in order to address this decline,” she added.

The strategy is to be introduced in 2010. To comment on the plans, go to www.horsesportireland.ie