Numbers are expected to be over the 100,000 mark at next month’s Dublin Horse Show at the RDS, the organisers have predicted.
Over 1,600 horses will take centre stage in the show’s various events, including the Nations Cup (officially named the “Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™”), while the Horse Show itself is this year officially branded as the Stena Line Dublin Horse Show.
The Nations Cup will see the Irish show jumping team (currently European champions) compete against teams from the US, Mexico, the Netherland, France, Britain, Italy and Switzerland.
The show costs the RDS €4.9 million to stage but, as spokesman Diarmuid Hanafin stated “(the event) plays an important role, socially and economically, for rural Ireland”.
A report published by economist Jim Power – Untapped Potential: unlocking the economic potential of the Irish sport horse industry – makes the claim that the sector could double in size over a decade, creating some 7,000 jobs. The report went on to say that:
“The current sport horse population is estimated at 135,715 animals; there are 14,830 active breeders; 46,799 people are involved with sport horses; there are 14,057 full-time job equivalents in the sector and it makes a contribution of €816m per annum to economic activity,” it said.
However, there was also a warning that the sector was being prevented from expanding because of “the lack of a clear strategic plan and a properly resourced governing body; the fragmented nature of the industry; the failure to recognise the tourism potential of the sector; top riders and breeders being forced to leave the country; the lack of adequate top-quality facilities and competitions; the lack of adequate prize money, logistical costs; promotion of the sport; breeding issues; and Brexit”.