WHAT a whirlwind week at Dublin Horse Show topped off by Ireland’s brilliant performance in yesterday’s Aga Khan Nations’ Cup thriller. Many congratulations on a stunning team performance to chef d’equipe Michael Blake and his class team of Conor Swail, Cian O’Connor, Shane Sweetnam and young Max Wachman. We were all on the very edge of our seats as that jump-off between Ireland and France unfolded.
Seven great teams contested for the Aga Khan and it was a battle all the way to the wire - a complete joy to watch from start to finish. Huge congratulations to our very gallant Irish team. ‘It’s the stuff of dreams,’ said Michael Blake who had told the entire country to ‘lit the candles’. ‘Kandles’ lit!
Ultra cool Cian kept us in the game but it came down to Conor Swail and ‘Count Me In’ and they duly delivered, it was just pure class from start to finish. Olympic qualification for Paris and the Aga Khan in the space of seven days - those ‘Kandles’ certainly shone like beacons.
The huge Ballsbridge buzz certainly reinforced just how important Dublin Horse Show is to the entire Irish equine industry - sport horse and thoroughbred sectors alike.
There’s just nowhere quite like Dublin, horses aside, you’ll meet people at the RDS that you will never see elsewhere - a virtual melting pot of nations, chat and cameraderie. It truly is a shop window for anyone and everyone in the equine world. The crowd stayed all evening, savouring our win.
As the RDS gates opened on Wednesday, Horse Sport Ireland bolted in with its new report, The Business of Breeding, setting out a case for a much greater slice of future TAMS funding for the Irish equine industry.
IFAC carried out an independent online survey among equine business owners nationwide in June and a total sample size of 1,076 was recorded.
Minister Pippa Hackett (Greens) pledged to take on board the main findings which comes as DAFM officials are working on department’s submission to the EU for funding under the Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme II (TAMS II).
As in all such matters, the devil will be in the eventual details – come what may on that front, it’s welcome to see strides being made to increase the visibility of our industry on the political map.