Ireland’s national governing body for equestrian sport — Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) — now has responsibility for carriage driving in northern and southern Ireland.

The organisation Carriage Driving Ireland has been discontinued and combined with HSI to save costs in the current economic climate.

The outgoing chair of Carriage Driving Ireland, Sarah Mullins said: “The primary reason for this decision is to reduce costs. It is very costly in terms of time and money to maintain a separate legal structure.

“I also believe that the discipline will benefit from, being part of a bigger organisation, with the strong support structure that Horse Sport Ireland has in place.”

HSI chairman Joe Walsh said: “One of the key reasons for the establishment of HSI is to gain efficiencies and in the current economic climate this is even more important.

“This decision will free up the key volunteers to focus their efforts on developing carriage driving rather than have to worry about all requirements and responsibilities that go with running an organisation.”

The first meeting took place on 21 January at HSI in Naas.