"The Reid Report - Breeding for Success", a study undertaken by Eventing Ireland's Breeding Taskforce under the Chairmanship of John Reid, was launched today at The Barn at Fellowsfield in County Kildare today. Inspired by the desire to maintain Ireland's leading position as a producer of top-class horses for this most demanding of sports, it highlights a number of recommendations proposed by the 10-strong Taskforce team.
Irish horses topped the eventing rankings of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses for 15 years before experiencing a slight slip in 2010 as other European studbooks upped their game and refined their breeding policies. However recent successes suggest that young Irish-breds are on their way back. "Ireland once had the reputation for producing the best show jumpers in the world, but sadly that is no longer a reality. Our eventers continue to hold their heads high however, treasured for their toughness, courage and durability as well as their incredible skill - and Ireland wants to keep it that way!" said EI Chairman, John Wright, this morning.
The importance of using the right broodmare, with the emphasis on performance and pedigree, and the selection of the right stallion are both examined in the 32-page document which includes an analysis, undertaken by William Micklem, of the influence of thoroughbred bloodlines. The report points out that while "the old system for stallion inspections has failed to talent-spot potential stars, and many of the stallions standing have failed to sire top-class competition horses on a regular basis", that "Eventing Ireland has a structure for producing young horses through competition which is, at present, as good if not better than nearly all of our competitors".
The report emphasises the need to recognise and reward success, and the need for new incentives for breeders. It also encourages the development of educational opportunities, and recommends the improvement of the database of statistical information along with access to that information. It proposes the establishment of a research project to identify successful eventing mare families, and a study of the percentage of thoroughbred blood in suitable sport-horse stallions.
"The whole point of the exercise is to encourage co-operation between the many groups, individuals and organisations involved in the creation of our stock of Irish event horses. Only through 'joined-up-thinking' by all the disparate groups can we expect to maintain our position as world leaders" John Wright pointed out today. Handing over the report to Horse Sport Ireland's Director of Breeding and Programmes, Alison Corbally, today, Wright added "we look forward to the recommendations and proposals contained in this report being further developed and implemented for the betterment of the breeders, the riders and the sport we all enjoy, and in which the Irish horse excels. In order to keep this momentum going, I am today calling for a meeting of interested parties to discuss the next actions as soon as we can arrange it. You will hear more about this soon."
Note to Editors:
Eventing Ireland is the governing body for the sport of eventing in Ireland. It is an affiliate of the national governing body for equestrian sport, Horse Sport Ireland. Eventing Ireland Taskforce Chairman, John Reid, is available for interview.