BUDGET Day is fast looming and with rising input costs in full gallop, the Irish equine sector could certainly benefit from a raft of relief measures.

While we can’t and don’t expect miracles given the nature of the demands on our Government across every sector of Irish society, some relief on fuels and energy costs would go a long way towards easing the burden. The Government has a surplus of some €6.3 billion in hand so let’s hope that our sector also benefits.

Energy costs are soaring and set to rise higher, mortgage rates are set to rise, horse feed bills will hike by well over a quarter to say nothing of increasing fuel bills. Every household and business in the country will be truly hammered on all fronts this winter.

The wonderful Dogs Trust charity is currently inundated with the amount of dogs being surrendered to them by distressed cash-strapped owners, coupled with the accommodation crisis where many landlords stipuate against pets.

Much good work has been done on tackling equine neglect nationwide in recent years but this winter could trigger a perfect storm on the issue of equine welfare if we are not alert to it now. Equine health and welfare is an issue that goes to the core perception of our entire industry in the eyes of the public and we can’t drop our guard in this crucial area.

Slow burner

Back in January, the Government’s e-tenders website carried details of the tender process then opened for the main Irish sport horse studbooks. It’s now turned September and there is still no announcement of the awarding of the contracts. It seems a very slow process but hopefully, these contracts will be announced shortly.