Registered Stallion Owners Society Calls Out HSI’s Failings

Registered Stallion Owners Society Calls Out HSI’s Failings

The Registered Stallion Owners Society has had enough. In a direct appeal to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, they've laid bare their grievances with Horse Sport Ireland’s (HSI) handling of registration fees and services.

This action follows a disappointing meeting with HSI in February, which society chairman Walter Kent described as “effectively a PR exercise, paying lip service to our discussions.”
Kent’s words in the letter paint a clear picture of frustration: “With the recent publication of increases in registration fees, breeders have been treated with total disrespect and disregard. HSI has shown no empathy for breeders’ opinions. This is contributing to the continuous erosion and deterioration of the public’s relationship with HSI.”

The crux of the issue isn’t just the fee hikes. There’s a deeper problem with HSI’s service delivery—specifically, the inefficiency in processing registration documents and producing equine passports promptly.

Kent notes, “Throwing extra staff at a problem will not resolve it, rather it will exacerbate it. It is very obvious that registration staff either do not understand the process of registration, assuming that there is one, or they have not received adequate training.”

This isn’t just a minor hiccup; it’s causing a cascade of issues. Breeders are placed in a difficult position, struggling to comply with the laws amid economic and financial challenges. This is making life more difficult and affecting livelihoods. And, there’s a significant risk to the future prestige of the Irish Sport Horse studbook, which could lead to us losing our leading position in the global arena of Sport Horses.

Kent also pointed out that a previously submitted customer service charter could have prevented these issues if it had been enacted. He highlighted the lack of accountability at HSI, stating, “When directors are only responsible to themselves and not to a membership, it leads to bad practices and the absence of a sense of being a customer service industry.”

In response, a spokesperson from HSI claimed that their meeting with the Registered Stallion Owners on February 14th was “positive, productive, and frank,” addressing concerns over passporting and pricing structures. Despite these assurances, the society feels that their critical issues remain unaddressed.

“HSI welcomes and encourages all relevant organisations to engage with HSI on issues affecting stakeholders. The issue of passport pricing was discussed and Registered Stallion Owners Society did raise some concerns about the structure of the proposed pricing".

“HSI took this into consideration and the group’s main concern was addressed in the new 2024 pricing”. - But this begs the question…

Who actually believes this sh*t from HSI?

If “the group” felt listened to and that their issues/concerns were really taken under consideration and addressed as HSI put it, why would they have written a letter? This is the exact same as HSI saying they have support from the majority of affiliates when 30+ affiliates met at the RDS to unite together against HSI and call for a whole new leadership and governance structure.

If you’re going to do Lip Service, at least make it justifiable. Make it believable.

But no, HSI will continue to say one thing and do the exact opposite. At this stage, their position is untenable and the minister and respective departments have to see that at this stage. If they don’t, as an industry, we "the collective we" will make sure they do in the coming weeks and months ahead. The industry is united on this. It would most certainly appear at this stage, that HSI is now standing on very shaky ground. 

The ball is now in the court of both HSI and the Minister. The industry is not staying silent like HSI most likely want. The Industry is United for change.

The Stallion Owners Society is not sitting back quietly; they’re calling for action and have organised a public meeting for all interested parties on May 21st at 8pm in the Abbeyleix Manor Hotel.
This is a clear signal that the equestrian community is seeking substantial changes and is more united than ever in their quest for fairness and respect from Horse Sport Ireland. If they have done one good thing here, they have united the vast majority of the industry against their leadership and governance.

The situation with HSI is not an isolated incident. This is yet another affiliate voicing their dissatisfaction with HSI’s leadership and governance. HSI’s dominance and suppression tactics have only managed to galvanise the entire industry against them. The equestrian community is no longer willing to stand by as their needs and concerns are dismissed.

At our Equitas Changemaker conference last Friday in Barberstown Castle, our Equitas CEO Shane McCarthy and Chris Bryne, spokesperson for the Equestrian Competition Venue Owners Alliance (ECVOA) and owner of CoilÓg, addressed these pressing issues in the "Hot Topic" segment.

The discussion shed more light on the HSI debacle and explored pathways to a more inclusive and accountable governance structure for the industry. We're looking forward to releasing some of this content in the coming days.

P.S. To Staff, not Leadership in HSI:

One final note we wanted to add. HSI is the problem. It's leadership and governance structures that are the problem. The lack of honest, forthright and transparent communication is the problem. The lack of clarity and the authoritarian approaches HSIs Leadership have taken is the problem. The suppression and dominance of Affiliates and Grassroots is the problem.

We are not saying HSI Staff are the problem.

HSI have some great people who really care about the future of the industry, who care about grassroots, the next generation, breeders/producers, amateurs, competitors etc... but lets be crystal clear, it could easily be said that their leadership does not feel the same.
Their actions, clear for all to see, do not embody the needs of equestrians across Ireland. And you can't even push back here, read the article, read the Press Release from Affiliates at the RDS meeting... that is what they are clearly saying.

The Time for Lip Service is OVER. The time for Change is HERE.



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