New 'traditional Irish' sub-group on cards for studbook

Two motions ratified at the Irish Horse Board AGM this week could pave the way for a new sub-group for traditional Irish horses in the Irish Sport Horse studbook

THE Irish Horse Board ratified two motions which could see traditional Irish horses assigned to their own sub-group within the Irish Sport Horse studbook.

In what has been described as a watershed moment for traditional Irish breeding and the Irish sport horse industry, members of the Irish Horse Board co-operative ratified the motions which were put forward by the Traditional Irish Horse Association.

The first motion put forward at the annual general meeting on Wednesday night was that “the Irish Horse Register clearly identifies as a matter of record, those animals within the register which conform to the definition of traditional Irish pedigree, taking such steps as may be required to ensure that such animals at every opportunity are recorded and developed as a specific genetic entity.”

The second motion was “That effect be given to Motion 1 by establishing a formal section for traditionally-bred animals within the Irish Horse Register.”

The motions essentially mean that traditionally-bred animals that are either a purebred or a mix of Connemara, thoroughbred and Irish Draught with three generations of pedigree recorded would be categorised within their own sub-group of the Irish Sport Horse studbook.

The move would put the onus on Horse Sport Ireland to identify all foals and older animals as traditionally-bred or not, based on their pedigree at the time of registration. It would also remove the option for owners to decide whether their animals should be registered as traditional or not.

Speaking at the Irish Horse Board AGM, John Watson of the Traditional Irish Horse Association said that when the Irish Sport Horse studbook became a register of geographical birth, it made no attempt to preserve and distiguish the genetic identity of the traditional Irish-bred horse.

“This lack of distinction has endangered and even squandered a priceless Irish national heritage,” he maintained.

However he insisted that the aim was not to split the studbook.

“This is not an attempt to breakaway from the studbook,” he continued. “We understand fully that the ranking of the ISH requires the combined contribution of both the traditional and the modern Irish sport horse and that neither type would presently achieve the same pre-eminence individually; let alone in competition with each other.

“A separate section or sub-group within the Irish Sport Horse register will help us to quantify and ringfence the current population of traditional Irish horses and promote it,” he continued.

A third motion, which read: “That a management body be constituted to preserve and develop as a genetic entity those animals meeting the criteria of traditionally Irish-bred. The members of this body shall be constitutionally elected only by such current ISH members and/or shareholders as meet the additional criteria required and defined to be categorised within the traditional Irish sub-group” was withdrawn to enable further discussion and give additional clarity.

However Chris Ryan of the Traditional Irish Horse Association said the aim of this third motion was to ensure that the traditional Irish sub-group of the studbook would only be judged, assessed and managed people actively involved in traditional breeding.

Originally published in The Irish Field, 22/11/14

1 reply
  1. John Watson
    John Watson says:

    I am delighted beyond measure to hear that on 20th April 2015 the steering group for the Traditional Irish Horse, (ISH)*(TIH) now officially constituted within HSI’s structure for the Irish Sport Horse, held its inaugural meeting. Congratulations to all who worked to make this happen, and in particular to TIHA’s tireless Chairman Hugh Leonard and Hon. Secretary Joan Bateman; the Breeding sub-Board Chairman Jim Beecher; and HSI officers Damien McDonald and Alison Corbally.


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