Saturday 8th of May 2021

HSI International Marketing Symposium – A sell out event

The inaugural Horse Sport Ireland International Marketing Symposium attracted a sell-out audience to the Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone on Thursday (March 9th).

Elaine Hatton, HSI Director of International Marketing speaking during the Horse Sport Ireland International Marketing Symposium at The Hodson Bay Hotel in Athlone © Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Proceedings began with an opening address by Horse Sport Ireland Director of International Marketing, Elaine Hatton, and she outlined the feedback she has received when travelling abroad, including on a recent trade mission to the Gulf States with Minister Creed

“The clear message from each country is that there is a demand for Irish horses that are produced, packaged and marketed correctly. Temperament followed by confirmation and riding standard where the three main criteria in buying a horse.There is a resounding desire for the Irish horse globally. Our International riders are brilliant ambassadors and other countries want to send their children and young riders here to learn from our professional HSI coaches.

Elaine Hatton also reminded everyone that herself and her team in the HSI marketing department are there to help.

“Our team are available throughout the year. We are all approachable, attending many shows and events nationally, and we are here to help you do business.”

The opening panel discussion, chaired by RTE award-winning journalist Suzanne Campbell, was titled “Moving our industry forward through marketing” and concentrated on how riders, breeders and show organizers, can market themselves more effectively in a changing global marketplace.

The panel included: Nina Barbour, (President of Bolesworth and Liverpool International Horse Show), Diarmuid Byrne, (Managing Director of EquiRatings), Aisling Byrne, (Managing Director or Journey Through Ireland and Amateur Show Jumper), Ben Hobday (British International Eventing rider), and Erin Gilmore, (Senior Editor of, journalist and photographer).

The second panel discussion, chaired by agent, producer and coach Barry O’Connor, was titled “Reaching the Global Market Place,” and gave a deeper insight into how breeders can improve the standard of what they breed, how to sell their stock effectively and also the range of shared options to look into, such as two people sharing a mare and taking it in turns to breed from her, or by offering a share in a young horse to a rider in order to reduce training fees.

The panel, pictured above from left to right, included: Enda Carroll, (Managing Director of Ashford Farm), Marion Hughes (International Show Jumper, Breeder, Producer and Team Z7 rider), Jim Bolger (International Owner and Thoroughbred Racehorse Trainer), Barry O’Connor, Tim Bourke (US-based International Event Rider), and Koen Terryn, (CEO and founder of Hippomundo).

Jim Bolger offered an insightful comparison between Racing and the Sport Horse Industry and said:

“Prize money is the lifeblood of racing. The Sport Horse Industry needs a minimum of €20 Million a year from Government. They have to deal with one organization, not several different groups, Horse Sport Ireland is the right model for this.”

Jim Bolber, (pictured), also offered this advice:

“Unless you are an absolute genius you have to work your butt off.”

Barry O’Connor concluded:

“We should focus more on the positives than negatives in the Sport Horse Industry.”

More information on the Horse Sport Ireland International Marketing Symposium, including extended quotes, is available on the Horse Sport Ireland website

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