I have been involved with equestrian sport, and interested in racing, for many years, and I recognise that there are many commonalities between the two ‘sectors’, the essence of which is the horse. There is a whole host of personalities, and skillsets, that are common to both sectors.

Is it time we recognise that by working together as an equestrian industry we could potentially have more impact, both domestically and internationally? One only has to look at the recent trip to Ireland by the Maryland Horse Board to see the potential for thinking differently.

When we look at the suppliers of products and services, such as saddlers, feed and clothing companies, farriers, turfcare, artificial surface providers and more, we can easily see the commonality.

The sport horse sector also provides an alternative opportunity for thoroughbreds to participate in another discipline. The challenges in attracting new owners, participation, and getting media coverage are also common to both sectors.

I say this against a background of continued success both in thoroughbred racing and within the sport horse sectors, and I understand that it could be argued “why look to change something that is not broken”.

However, I would counterargue, and say that some of the most successful businesses in the world continually embrace change and constantly look to identify threats and opportunities in an effort to build on their success.

In my view, the biggest threat to the entire equine and equestrian sector will come at us through the prism of welfare, sustainability and the social licence within which we all operate, and in recognising that the general public does not differentiate between activities.

I would ask you, through your unique position with your paper, to open the dialogue, with the good of the industry in mind.

Yours truly,

David O’Brien


Co Kildare