Governing body releases annual report as Horse Sport In Ireland enters golden era

Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) has published its annual report and financial statements for 2021.

Covering the period which covered the last full year of Covid-19 restrictions, the national federation for equestrian sports in Ireland enjoyed a challenging yet successful year, which took in a deferred Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Governing body releases annual report as Horse Sport In Ireland enters golden era
22 June 2022; Charlie McConalogue TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, during a visit to Horse Sport Ireland in Naas, Kildare. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile *** NO REPRODUCTION FEE ***

The organisation secured grants and supports for its affiliates totalling over €2m, and sought to improve across its main pillars and departments – breeding and production, coaching and education, high-level sport and its marketing department.

Breeding initiatives were maintained, with schooling top-up and stallion health screening schemes introduced, while the Level One coaching course was also updated last year.

It proved to be another successful sporting year, despite the Irish returning from Tokyo empty handed, and our underage teams proved why the future is so bright by picking up medals at European level.

All roads did lead to Tokyo and HSI’s marketing team commissioned and produced a hugely successful docuseries named ‘Take On Tokyo’ in which prospective Irish athletes gave their insight into preparation for the Games.

Speaking at the publication of the annual report, Chairman Joe Reynolds said: “The equestrian industry has entered a truly golden era. Irish teams across the disciplines are competing and winning at international level on a regular basis.

“We have some of the best riders, owners and horses in the world compete for Ireland and for Horse Sport Ireland, as well as some of the best producers and breeders of horses.

“Last year, Horse Sport Ireland was in a fortunate position to administer Covid-19 related grants to 19 affiliate organisations within the HSI family.

“Those grants, provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media through Sport Ireland ensured that €2.2million made its way into affiliate organisations to support participation and return to sport post the pandemic.”

Horse Sport Ireland is a non-profit organisation whose income is spent on initiatives to promote the development of the sport horse industry.

The organisation is primarily funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine and by Sport Ireland on behalf of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media and its income for 2021 came to €10,6825,445 which was higher than 2020 (€7,514,761), mainly due to increases in grant income due to Covid-19 related supports administered into the industry.

Speaking about the organisation’s financial performance in 2021, Chief Executive Denis Duggan added: “The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine provided an additional €1 million of funding to HSI in 2021, all of which went directly out to breeders, producers and owners of sport horses through HSI’s national breeding initiatives.

“The national breeding initiatives delivered over €1,000,000 of funding directly to sport horse breeders and owners across the 32 counties of Ireland with each county receiving an average of €31,000.”

“Costs for 2020 amounted to €7,992,236, of which €3,385,824 was spent directly on industry supports such as prize money and breeding initiatives, as well as sport development programmes, while the balance was spent on operational costs of supporting the industry including salaries of those involved in programme delivery.

“There was a deficit of €318,909 for the year. The variation in the year-on-year result is explained by way of a surplus generated in 2020 due to reduced activity in the COVID-19 environment, followed by a deficit incurred in 2021 due to increased activity levels, Olympics costs, increased costs due to COVID-19, changes in VAT treatments, and other non-recurring costs and design fees associated with the Centre of Excellence Project in Greenogue.”

In a look to the future, Mr Duggan, within his address in the annual report, calls out challenges on ensuring a positive culture within the sport and industry, from breeder yards, committee meetings to training camps.

He also identifies challenges of rising feed and fuel costs and the impact upon the sector and references HSI’s plans to create an Equestrian Skillnet to create a programme of subsidised workplace training to support talent retention, and upskilling within the equine industry.

Horse Sport Ireland’s Annual Report 2021 can be viewed at

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