Brexit contributions to horse trials cancellation

Brexit is being blamed for the cancellation of an International Horse Trials event in west Waterford.

The event attracted Olympic and other competitors and thousands of visitors from Ireland and abroad each year. It was due to take place during July 28-31 on the Camphire estate near Cappoquin in the Blackwater Valley.

But the organisers decided, after much deliberation, that the financial risks were too great to run the trials this year. It is the third successive year that the SemaLease Camphire International Horse Trials and Country Fair has been cancelled.

The trials were not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 restrictions, but there were hopes it would be staged again this year. However, a statement from the organisers pointed out that a significant percentage of Camphire’s competitors are international but since Brexit the costs of bringing their horses to Ireland are high.

“These costs, combined with the current high fuel costs and continuing uncertainties around Covid, mean there is a real risk of the event being financially unviable in 2022. As a result, we have taken the difficult decision not to run the event this year, “it added.

Event Director, Paul Brady said the decision was not taken likely. Camphire sets itself hugely high standards. All those involved deserved the accolade of Irish International Horse Trials.

It is a hugely important event for the Irish equestrian community and for the local economy as well as for the many international competitors and Olympians who travel so far to take part.

“But we simply don’t have the financial reserves to sustain a possible reduction in numbers, or in quality.

“Our preference, therefore, is to put all our effort into finding ways of recreating the Camphire we wish to have and running a successful event in 2023.

“We sincerely hope some of the issues around charges on horses coming into Ireland for a week to compete will have been addressed by then,” he said, announcing that the 2023 event will be held over the July 27-30 Bank Holiday weekend.

Mr Brady said the news will be a deep disappointment to riders, owners, spectators and volunteers alike, for whom the event is a much-loved annual showcase for the sport and for Irish horses.

“We had desperately hoped that we would be able to pull off the event this year because we know how much everyone was looking forward to it, and I am so grateful to all those that have offered support and encouragement.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our competitors, owners, volunteers, sponsors, traders, suppliers and supporters for your unwavering commitment to Camphire during these difficult times.

“We are particularly grateful to all our sponsors, particularly our title sponsor SemaLease, who have been so understanding and supportive throughout this period. We look forward to welcoming you all back to this great event in 2023,” he said.

Mr Brady said the news will be a deep disappointment to riders, owners, spectators and volunteers alike, for whom the event is a much-loved annual showcase for the sport and for Irish horses. Photo: Healy Racing

Eventing Ireland, the umbrella body for the sport, said it will try to fill this international date with an alternative venue.

The cancellation was announced as Kilkenny and Cork competitors celebrated category wins in the 2022 Irish Sport Horse Young Breeders National Championships at Kildalton Agricultural College. It was hosted by Teagasc and Horse Sport Ireland, supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Wendy Conlon, Teagasc Equine specialist, said a dedicated and focused group of young people demonstrated their skills as horse handlers, their knowledge in assessing the conformation and athleticism traits of horses. They also completed a theory test on equine health and welfare; nutrition; stable management and the sport.

The competition was the first step in the qualification process for team participants to represent the Irish Sport Horse Studbook at this year’s International Young Breeders World Championship in Ermelo, Holland (July 7-9).

Amy Finn, Ballyfoyle, Co. Kilkenny, won the senior (20-25 years) category with Níamh Sheridan, Bundoran, Co. Donegal, filling second place, Annie Madden, Summerhill, Co. Meath, in third position Edward Hennessy, Dongourney, Co. Cork, came out on top in the junior category (15-19 years), with Limerick contenders, Grace Curtin, Adare, and Aoife Kirby, Birdhill, respectively filling second and third places.

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