Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has hailed the awarding of over half a million euro in breeding grants from Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) to 55 shows and initiatives nationwide.

The HSI Breeding Grant offers support for breeding and production initiatives, classes and competitions at various equestrian shows and events throughout the country.

Launching the grants, Minister McConalogue said: “I am very happy to be able to launch this breeding initiative. My department has worked extensively with the HSI breeding team to ensure that deserving applicants have been awarded the funding necessary to be able to put on breeding and development shows, particularly with rare breeds in mind.

“Fifty-five applicants will receive over half million euro between them, and this will facilitate Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine-approved studbooks, breed societies and other equine events to propose and provide support for a specific breeding and production-related shows, classes and initiatives.

“The grants will support smaller regional and grassroots breeding and production show-related classes. It will also engender a culture of breeder recognition and support in Ireland.

“The scheme supports rural spread of funding to breeders, producers and associated economic activity for venues nationwide, while also supporting innovation at grassroots level in the proposal, performance and promotion of Irish breeding and Irish horses.

“This is the largest fund allocated by the Department to the breeding grant initiative and will strive to support breeders and producers nationwide, the bedrock of the sport horse industry.”