If we are to heed the online forums and group chats among the sport horse community, it would be easy to feel a little gloomy following much of the controversy of recent months.

However, enough is enough for the Horse Sport Ireland affiliates who met en masse at the weekend to discuss the recent turmoil, and to propose a coming together of all interested parties for some constructive discussion.

The meeting was called by the Irish Quarter Horse Association and it was held in Tullamore on Sunday afternoon.

Kevin Croke, president of the Association stated: “The objective of the meeting is to establish common ground with a view to a subsequent meeting to brief the newly appointed directors of Horse Sport Ireland and the relevant ministers, if the meeting so sees fit.”

Service provider

As a creature of optimistic persuasion, I was happy to hear Croke make it clear that the meeting was called in the spirit of positivity, and to encourage affiliates to gather and express their expectations of HSI who are, after all, a service provider to the Irish equestrian community.

Croke went on to say: “In the times that are in it, it is a glorious opportunity to show a united front and put before the directors/mministers, a clear vision of what is expected from Horse Sport Ireland going forward.”

As I write this, there have been no outcomes shared, but I’m sure as the weekend approaches, we may find out a little more about what conclusions were formed and what action may result. More power to the affiliates, I hope their united front begins a period of change and rebuilding.

No wrongdoing

Last week an interesting case caught my eye, in no small part because a friend of mine has recently been threatened with legal action after a woman fell from a perfectly quiet horse during a lesson at her riding school.

In last week’s case, the plaintiff was an experienced horse rider who, along with other students, took part in practical horsemanship classes as part of her degree course. Her horse bucked during the lesson and the student fell off.

The judge concluded that the 2013 accident, which left the former University of Limerick student with back injuries, could not be attributed in law to any wrongdoing on the part of the equestrian centre she was riding at, or the University of Limerick who organised the riding lesson.

Whilst no one ever wants to see horse riders hurt, insurance provision for equine sport was under threat last year for hunting and point-to-points. The fear for riding school owners is that insurance costs will become prohibitive if every person who takes a tumble is awarded huge pay-outs.

The plaintiff’s claim was dismissed on the basis that the defendants were not liable for the horse bucking. The court accepted that the horse did not have a known propensity to buck and there was no basis to believe that the horse in question was not suitable for the training.