Smithfield horse market dates for 2012: January 1, February 5, March 4, April 1, May 6, June 3, July 1, August 5, September 2, October 7, November 4, December 2

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Horse racing facts

Horse racing facts
Horse racing facts from around the world. For example, did you know that 90 per cent of all thoroughbred horses are descended from a seventeenth century stallion named Eclipse?

Poems and songs about horses

Poems and songs about horses
Lord Byron, Johnny Cash and William Shakespeare are among the writers, poets and singers who have expressed the beauty and power of horses through words.

Famous horse quotes

Famous horse quotes
Famous horse quotes here from lots of well-known people including Winston Churchill, Skakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, J.D. Sallinger, Monica Dickens and many, many more. Well worth a look

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

John Francome: Champion jockey, author and racing presenter

John Francome: Champion jockey, author and racing presenter
John Francome's love of horse racing started when he was six-years old and taken for a ride on a donkey at the seaside. From humble beginnings in a council house in Swindon, Wiltshire, he went on to become a seven times champion jockey, best-selling author and leading commentator and racing pundit.

Horse quotes from famous people

Horse quotes from famous people

Abraham Lincoln, John Steinbeck, William Shakespeare, Winston Churchill and more.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Famous horse races around the world

Famous horse races around the world
Maryland Hunt Cup, Grand Steeple-chase de Paris and the Grand National at Aintree

Horse Features: Naked horse riding

Horse Features: Naked horse riding: Naked horse riding is the act of riding horses... without any clothes on. Some people do it for fun others for a one-off thrill. But there a...

Monday, 5 September 2011

Horse Features: Bikini bull riding women

Horse Features: Bikini bull riding women: Bikini bull riding has become a popular social and entertainment activity that involves women riding mechanical bulls in their bikinis. Careful guys, this one's a bit hot!

Horse Features: Bikini barrel racing pictures

Horse Features: Bikini barrel racing pictures: Bikini barrel racing is an adaptation of the popular rodeo event barrel racing . However, in this form on the event all the riding is done with women just wearing their bikinis.

Plenty to there keep people entertained until the next Smithfield market in October. ;)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Girl robber given riding lessons: Can horse therapy help troubled children?

This is a story about a girl who was arrested and accused of robbing somebody at knife point appeared in court and was offered riding lessons to help change her ways. There's also more information about the power of horses to transform the lives of young people. Well worth a look

Girl robber given riding lessons: Can horse therapy help troubled children?

Animal cruelty: Horse fighting in China

People say that Smithfield market can be cruel. But this puts things into some kind of perspective. The stallions are literally being fought to the death.

Animal cruelty: Horse fighting in China

Famous horse riders: The celebrities who love to ride

A little bit of light relief. Here's a list of celebrities who ride as a hobby. Know any more?

Famous horse riders: The celebrities who love to ride

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Smithfield market September

The next market at Smithfield will be this Sunday. I can't make it this month - let me know how it is!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Horse riding tips

There are always some kind of hints or tricks that can make something that might seem so difficult end up seeming so easy.

There are gardening tips for those with a black thumb, there are cooking tips for those who aspire to have their family not run when you say that dinner is ready and then there are those who just want to be able to stay on a horse. Those are the ones that could easily benefit from some of these horseback riding tips:

Tip1 - Don't go about riding like you're stomping snakes. You want to approach your horse with a gentle tone and manner so that they feel comfortable around you. I don't like people yelling at me for no reason and neither does a horse.

Tip 2 - If you are a new to horseback riding, remember that no matter how much money you spend on those fancy clothes or boots, they're going to get dirty. And the good news is that getting them dirty can be really fun. Also, money doesn't make a good rider. I've seen some of the best riders in the world wear pants and boots with holes in them and a shirt thin enough it's only there to keep the flies at bay and I'd give my eye tooth to ride half as good as they do.

Tip 3 - When you get on a horse you should always use the left side of the horse. Many horses are only trained to have a rider get on from the left side and might freak out if you get on the right side (I've actually seen that happen to people). This is just one of those things that is the way it is because it has always been that way in all horseback riding ranches.

Tip 4 - If you don't want to get out of the saddle with a sore back remember your horseback riding posture. It's never been good to sit all slouched over at any other time in your life and sitting on a horse is another time when it's just not appropriate. You're back will end up sore and it can mess up the rest of your body posture such as the way your hips are in the seat and the way that your feet are in the stirrups.

Tip 5 - Never, ever put your foot too far into the stirrup.  When you put your foot in the stirrup, my rule of thumb is that you want the ball of your foot just about centered on the bottom of the stirrup. That way your toes (of course inside your boot) should just barely be out of the stirrup and the majority of your foot is out and should be pointing down. You don't want your heel set above your toes as that might lead to the foot slipping into the stirrup further. But if your heel is slightly lower than your stirrup your foot should stay right in place where it belongs.

I hope that you were able to benefit from these horseback riding tips. They are ones that were always pointed out to me by my trainer when I was young and I have found them to still hold true today.

By Clinton Lyons

Horse tack

Why do you need the right horseback riding equipments? Proper equipments take more than just control over a horse. Indeed, they make riding safer and more enjoyable too.

Whether you ride a horse for work, fun, or for sports, you need to have reliable horse riding equipments to avoid any undesired consequences.

Here are some of the basic equipments that you need, whether you are taking riding lessons, enjoying your horse riding holidays, or you are a big fan of dressage riding. Dive into each word in this article to make sure that you will have a safe-sport.

Item (1): Bridles

Bridles are items that should be placed on the horse's mouth. With reins, they help to guide the horse to move forward in whatever direction you want. It is recommended that you use a type of bridle that your mount had grown comfortable with to make steering the horse easier.

Item (2): Reins

The reins, used along with the bridle, are used to guide the horse's head to steer it to your desired direction.

In this context, you should use high quality reins because cheap and low quality reins could break more easily. As a result, you will no longer be safe while riding.

Item (3): Saddles

The saddles, placed and fastened on the horse's back, would make the ride on your mount more comfortable. Western saddles are more popular to use than English counterparts because Western saddles have deeper seats and sturdier stirrups.

In addition, they also have a horn that you could grab on when the ride becomes more difficult to handle.

Item (4): Stirrups

Stirrups help you in guiding your mount using your legs. In addition, they help to fasten your feet as you ride so your knees grip the horse's sides.

It is recommended that you use stirrups, which own suitable length to your size.

Item (5): Crops and whips

These items are used to reinforce control and command over the horse, if regular guiding with the reins and stirrups are not enough.

But crops and whips are optional in horse riding, and, if they are indeed used, they must be used wisely so as not to hurt the horse too much.

Rest assure that all of these items are already available in horse riding stables and horse farms. However, I would strongly advise you to consult your instructor first before buying anything.

Adding to this, do not make the mistake like others who care too much about the optic. Rather, you should check first whether these equipments offer you the needed safety, or not.  Here, it is worthwhile to mention that you can also find horse riding equipment designed for children.

By Asem Eltaher


Regular grooming of your horse is a necessary part of horse care. Whether you view grooming as a "chore" or an enjoyable activity, bare in mind you're not only keeping your horse's coat looking healthy and shiny, but grooming allows you to further develop trust and bonding with your horse.

Also, regular grooming can alert you to any signs of skin diseases, infections, or injuries. Your horse will appreciate the time and attention he is receiving from you while being groomed, and will look great as well.

Grooming your horse does not have to be long and laborious. With the right tools and established routine, you can be done in no time. For starters, keep all of your horse's grooming tools in a carry container so they are easy to find and so you don't have to go running back and forth to look for and fetch the tool you need.

Common items you will want to keep in your horse's grooming kit include:

  • soft, medium, stiff bristle brushes
  • mane and tail detangler
  • hoof pick
  • insect repellent
  • rubber currycomb
  • mane comb
  • towel
  • shedding blade
  • sponge
  • hoof dressing
  • grooming mitt
  • conditioner

Groom your horse in an open area and secure him using a halter and lead rope by tying him loosely to a post or railing using a quick release knot. This way, should your horse panic and bolt, this will lessen the risk of injury to both of you.

Where do you begin grooming? Some people start with the hooves, while some start with the head, and others simply start somewhere in between. It really doesn't matter where you start, it's the fact you are taking the time to care for your horse that counts.

My preference is to start with the hooves. Using a hoof pick, remove any debris starting with the heel moving toward the toe. Use a brush to remove any remaining dirt.

Using a damp sponge, gently clean around your horse's eyes, muzzle and ears. You can carefully use a very soft bristle brush to brush along the face and forelock areas if your horse will let you. I prefer just using a grooming mitt and my hand.

Using a rubber currycomb, use soft circular motions from the top of your horse's neck down toward his shoulders. Then use a brush to remove the dirt loosened by the curry comb.

Use the rubber currycomb to loosen dirt on your horse's body by using smooth circular strokes. Be careful in bony areas such as the shoulders and back. To loosen dirt, it is best to go against the grain of the hair. Next, use a brush in a downward direction to flick away dirt loosened by the currycomb. Once most of the dirt is removed, use a body brush to flatten out and smooth the hair using long sweeping strokes.

Just as with your horse's face, take care when brushing his legs as they are bony and have tender skin. Use a soft brush on your horse's legs. I prefer to simply use my hands or use a grooming mitt.

Using a mane comb, gently comb through your horse's mane. Using a little bit of detangler first helps when combing out the mane. Don't force out tangles with the comb and pull out hairs, instead remove tough tangles with your hands. Use a stiff brush from underneath to further comb out the mane, followed by a soft brush to lay it back down.

Just like the mane, spraying your horse's tail with detangler will make brushing it easier. Use a stiff brush to clean and brush the tail. Use your hands to remove tough tangles and avoid breaking hairs. Use a body brush from top to bottom of the tail a few times to make it flowing.

Use a towel and wipe it over your horse's coat to help bring out the shine. You can spray the towel with conditioner to bring out more of the shine. During the summer months, it's a good idea to apply an application of fly repellent all over your horse.

Apply hoof dressing to help keep your horse's hooves moisturized.

Give your horse a small treat when you are done grooming him to further show your appreciation of him. Regular grooming with the same routine will cut down the time needed and will make it more enjoyable for both you and your horse.

By Randall Holman

Feeding a horse

Feeding a horse is one of the most important responsibilities of a horse owner. If not done correctly and overfeeding grain feeds a horse can develop colic, (build up of gas) it is caused as horses are unable to burp. This is very serious and in same cases can be fatal.

The Ten Rules Of Feeding

There are 10 rules to feeding horses these are -

FEED LITTLE AND OFTEN - Horses have quite small stomachs so food must be fed small amounts at frequent intervals. Ideally a horse should never go more than 8 hours without feed.

PLENTY OF BULK - To work efficiently a horses digestive system needs to be constantly filled. To achieve this feed bulk feeds such as hay and grass.

CORRECT AMOUNT AND TYPE - You can cause your horse physical and mental problems feeding too much, too little or the wrong type of feed.

GOOD QUALITY - Make sure your food isn't past its sell by date.

MAKE NO SUDDEN CHANGES TO DIET - Introduce new feeds gradually to avoid digestive problems.

DO NOT FEED DIRECTLY BEFORE EXERCISE - A horse must be allowed at least 1 hour after a feed before he is worked. If this isn't done a horses can develop colic and breathing problems.

ROUTINE - Horses are creatures of habit.

CLEANLINESS - Keep all utensils scrupulously clean.

A SUCCULENT EACH DAY - This is very import if the horse is not at grass. Apples, carrots and swedes add variety and provide some essential vitamins.

WATER BEFORE FEEDING - A horse can wash undigested food out of its stomach if he drinks after feeding.

By Louise Cordell

Gentrified Dublin tries to rein in horse fair and 273 years of tradition

By Ed O’Loughlin in Dublin
Tuesday, 4 June 2002

Ireland is known for its sleek thoroughbreds and rugged steeplechasers, and events such as the Irish Derby, Goff’s bloodstock sales and the Dublin Horse Show draw the international horsey set in droves.

Ireland is known for its sleek thoroughbreds and rugged steeplechasers, and events such as the Irish Derby, Goff’s bloodstock sales and the Dublin Horse Show draw the international horsey set in droves.

But the Smithfield horse market in Dublin caters for a rather different crowd. Held in the traditional market area of the north inner city, this monthly fair deals in discount horses, ponies and donkeys to a demi-monde of small farmers, travellers, gypsies and working- class youths. On the first Sunday of every month the cobblestones ring with horseshoes as buyers and sellers haggle over draft animals, trotting horses and unkempt little ponies of a dozen breeds and none.

With Dublin desperately transforming itself into a generic modern European city, the Smithfield fair has become a tourist attraction, a glimpse of the older piebald Ireland fast receding into myth. Unfortunately, the authorities hate it.

Loosely organised and difficult to police, the fair has long been a source of anguish to an increasingly regulated city and, after a horse ran amok and injured three people last month, Dublin City Council moved to shut it down. To no avail: on Sunday, hundreds of people and dozens of horses, ponies and donkeys turned up anyway.

“This is a protest,” Bernard Fagan, of the Dublin Horse Owners’ Association, said. “There’s been a horse fair in this area since 1665. My family has been in the horse trade here for 273 years. It’s one of the few bits of culture we have left, and they’re trying to take it away.”

Dublin City Council says the cobbled Smithfield market square is not a safe place for horses. The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) says the market encourages poor teenagers from run-down areas of north and west Dublin to buy cheap ponies they cannot afford to keep. Neglected horses are a big problem on the outskirts of the city, often causing accidents when they stray on busy roads.

Robbie Kenny, a DSPCA inspector, said: “Some of these kids have no idea how to look after horses, and they don’t have the resources either. You hear stories of people keeping horses in their back gardens, and that does happen.”

As he spoke, teenage boys were galloping their ponies back and forth over the cobbles to try to impress potential buyers, a practice the DSPCA says can seriously injure the horses’ hooves.

Mr Fagan said the real reason for the authorities’ hostility lay with the creeping gentrification of Dublin’s inner city, which has halted on the edge of Smithfield square. “They want to turn this area into a new Temple Bar, all yuppie flats and restaurants and nightclubs,” he said. “There’ll be no room left for the people who live here now.”

The eastern side of the market square is dominated by a large new complex of apartments, shops and restaurants and a whiskey museum in the old Jameson’s distillery. But the redevelopment has failed to turn the area into the kind of thriving residential/ leisure zone that sprang up in the Nineties south of the Liffey river in Temple Bar.

Several of the new businesses have closed down, and the west side of the square remains undeveloped. Dublin City Council said the fair had been “temporarily suspended” until a new home could be found on the outskirts of town.

“The only people who participate are people who buy and sell horses,” Declan McCulloch, a spokesman for the council, said. “It’s not something that by any stretch of the imagination would be seen as a tourist attraction or a cultural thing.”

Ponies ridden to death

BYLINE: Andrew Bushe
LENGTH: 308 words
A HORROR trade in surplus British ponies that are ridden to death has been exposed.
If the pitiful beasts survive they end up inflicted with terrible injuries.

The trade into Ireland has been slammed by a Dublin animal welfare inspector who said the situation is out of control.

The Shetland and New Forest ponies are being bought for as little as 20p in Britain and imported to Dublin via the North.

They are fetching up to EUR250 in the capital and are causing major problems for the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) and Gardai, particularly in Clondalkin, Tallaght and Ballyfermot.
DSPCA Inspector Robert Stone reckons up to 30 ponies a month are being imported and called for urgent new laws to control the growing trade.

“It’s basically lawless at the moment. It has got ridiculous. The horse market in Smithfield should be closed down,” he said.

The society’s welfare staff is trying to cope with the rising toll of injured ponies turning up since the trade began about six months ago.

Many have been so badly injured they have had to be put down where they have been found to end their suffering.

DSPCA staff have also been threatened.

More than 180 horses and ponies have been recovered this year.

“We have had to shoot eight or nine in recent weeks, which is a lot. Every so often these ponies are taken off Exmoor, Dartmoor and the Shetland Islands because there are too many of them there.

“They are sold at markets to dealers with others going as pets or for slaughter.

“It would have been better that they were put to sleep instead of coming here.

“There are groups in England kicking up because they are going for slaughter but they probably would have been better off going for slaughter than having to face the conditions we are finding them in.”

The market is set to rise

BYLINE: Mark Keenan
SECTION: Features; Eire Ireland Home 12
LENGTH: 1069 words

With nightlife and open-air concerts, Dublin’s Smithfield area once buzzed. But now it faces a crisis, its future partly dependent on the Luas, writes Mark Keenan.

Weather-beaten men in cloth caps struggle to keep huge angular piebalds in check, while nearby a cigarette-chomping 12-year-old has three ponies tethered by string.

Across the way, teenagers ride bareback on a line of carthorses through the tight-knit crowds, here and there little clusters engaged in serious horse-dealing.

The traditional scene of the Smithfield Horse Fair might have been the same a hundred years ago. Today it jars noticeably with its surroundings, the streamlined modern architecture that has sprung up here in the past 10 years as part of the area’s much-mooted rejuvenation.

Now the days of the horse fair might be numbered. There have been efforts to move the monthly event elsewhere. More recently, the fruit-and-vegetable markets, which have so long epitomised Smithfield, were shut down to make way for new buildings.

The buzz of commerce has subsided in Smithfield as many of the traditional early-morning traders have packed away their fruit and vegetables and moved on. Wholesalers fed up with the lack of traffic access and the obstructions caused by constant construction work are also moving out.

And although they are leaving, the future residents of the huge development on the west side of the square will not be moving in for at least another two years.

The construction work and the vacuum created by the market’s demise mean that Smithfield is entering a dangerous period.

A number of the more modern shops have recently closed their doors because custom fell off due to the lack of access. The Duck Lane retail project was not a success, and the Ceoil music centre also closed from lack of interest.

Under the Historic Area Rejuvenation Project (Harp), Smithfield has achieved much already. Unfortunately, the ultimate success of an area that does not sit along any natural routes is tied to something that falls outside the remit of the local authority.

Work is continuing on the Luas route, which will link Heuston and Connolly stations. This transport service is destined to provide Smithfield with its main lifeline.

Statements before the recent budget hinted that the government was considering postponing certain elements of the Luas plan. However, without Luas, the Smithfield area has no chance of regeneration.

Also important for the area’s success as a working/living village is the success of the Dublin Institute of Technology’s plan to amalgamate all its colleges into one huge campus at Grangegorman. This project, in turn, cannot succeed without the provision of the Luas route.

Today, Smithfield’s trademark is no longer the horse fair or markets, but rather the smooth civic square, with its iconic flanks of modern gas standards, and the polished glass lift that slides up and down the chimney of the former Jameson Distillery.

 It was here at the old distillery that the current redevelopment drive for Smithfield was born. A decade ago, progressive developer Terry Devey came across the broken down complex in a dying docklands-reliant area. Rather than knock it down, he decided to use the stone remains to create a modern village.

Award-winning architects A&D Wejchert were commissioned and plans were drawn up for what would become an important hub in the run-down district.

Andrei Wejchert says: “I remember walking around this broken-down building which had bushes growing out of the roof. The success of that project, I believe, was down to Devey’s ability to see how to blend buildings of different uses in the village. We were confident it would work but were also surprised at the reaction when 70% of the 230 apartments sold off the plans in one day,” says Andrei Wejchert.

It can be argued that without the ressurrection of the crumbling whiskey distillery into an instant village and focal point, there would not be the same momentum to Smithfield’s redevelopment.

Lessons have been learnt from the development of Temple Bar. The local authority, planners and the Harp team are keen to establish parameters for the nature of developments.

Temple Bar, which was to have been Dublin’s left-bank cultural quarter, became its tourist drinking strip instead.

George Perry, Harp’s project manager, is determined that this won’t happen in Smithfield. “We’re regulating the type of pubs and we’re even putting limits on their sizes to ensure that we have no superpubs. We’re trying to ensure that there is a perfect mix of commercial use and new residential use, as well as bringing on the existing community.”

There have been spats with residents, particularly over the use of the public square for private outdoor concerts during which many locals found they required access passes to get to their own homes. There is stalemate over the use of the square, Dublin’s largest, for public events. However, it was recently used as a temporary ice rink, a highly successful venture that was initiated by locals.

However, Smithfield’s development plan more than any other has strained to keep the locals on board. More than Euro 12m was recently spent upgrading local- authority flats in the area.

Among property investors, however, there are no doubts that Smithfield will ultimately be a runaway success. While Devey’s inaugural scheme saw a 70% sell-out on the first day, a recent development of 220 apartments was sold out in seven hours, generating Euro 120m.

Local people will be relieved to see work begin at the area’s biggest site at the west end of the square. The scheme is worth Euro 500m and will provide offices, a sports complex, offices, shops, restaurants, bars and apartments.

Despite a downturn in the economy overall, prices of between Euro 400,000 and Euro 550,000 secured for two-bedroom units show that the market has confidence in Smithfield. This is all the more remarkable given that they won’t be ready to occupy for a few more years.

When completed, the complex’s 300 apartments will inject a huge amount of activity.
Much then hangs on the DIT and the Luas plans. Perry says: “We’re sure that Luas will go ahead, there’s no question there. However, any delay would be worrying. It will slow down the development of Smithfield into a living, viable area in its own right.”

Welfare workers need stab vests

LENGTH: 191 words

ANIMAL welfare officers now have to wear stab-proof vests to protect themselves from hostile crowds as they try to rescue animals at the unsupervised Smithfield Horse Fair.

Dublin City Council stopped managing the fair on health and safety grounds three years ago, but the event still takes place on the first Sunday of every month. Inspectors from the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals have to deal with unscrupulous horse traders and distressed animals who are brought into the city centre to be sold for as little as 100.

DSPCA Inspector Robert Kenny predicted that it was only a matter of time before someone was killed or seriously injured at the fair or before a serious accident involving an animal took place in what has now become a regenerated city area.

“We wear stab-proof vests because of the amount of weapons some people carry at the fair.
“If we say anything to someone at the market we could be surrounded by a hostile crowd very quickly,” he said.

Although Smithfield has been used as a horse market for over 30 years, the DSPCA inspectors are opposed to the event as it is uncontrolled.

Lorna Reid

Wild ponies drugged and sold to teens

BYLINE: John Mooney
SECTION: HOME NEWS; Eire News; Pg. 8
LENGTH: 541 words

WILD ponies from herds that roam the forests, moors and mountains of Britain are being smuggled into Ireland and sold to teenagers at horse fairs.

Feral ponies can be bought for as little as E200 and are heavily sedated to disguise their untamed origins.
The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) said the horses pose a serious threat to public safety. The organisation claims the animals have caused several car accidents when the sedatives wear off, leaving unsuspecting buyers struggling to control them.

“These poor ponies are usually sedated when they are sold at horse markets like Smithfield. When the sedatives wear off, the animals run from their owners and often cause accidents when trying to escape,” said Jimmy Cahill, the DSPCA general manager.

“I was recently called to a scene in west Dublin where a pony crashed into seven cars while running wild. It took 30 people to finally catch it. In the end, we had to shoot it with a tranquilliser dart. The pony had never been near people and was terrified of human contact,” he said.

“I have also seen wild ponies impale themselves on fences while trying to escape from enclosures, and run straight into traffic. The trade in these wild animals needs to be stopped before someone is injured.”

Wild ponies still roam free in parts of Britain, although local farmers and breeders supplement their diet with hay during the winter. Up to 3,000 ponies are on Dartmoor, in Devon, while Welsh mountain ponies live wild in Snowdonia. Ponies also thrive in the New Forest in Hampshire.

Domesticated pure-bred specimens sell for £ 25,000 (E37,000) or more each, but wild specimens have crossbred and each new generation weakens the bloodline.

Many are considered feral and are rounded up each autumn by local authorities to control numbers because they have no natural predators.

Most of the herded animals are supposed to be slaughtered for food, with their meat mostly sent to Italy and France. Increasing numbers, however, are smuggled to Ireland. Dealers can buy them for £ 1 (E1.48) each after an annual round up.

Although European law prohibits the movement of horses between member countries without a pet passport, British horse dealers are permitted to ship live ponies into Northern Ireland without any documentation.

“Once a consignment of wild ponies arrives in the north from Britain they are loaded into a horse box and driven across the border. The Department of Agriculture doesn’t inspect consignments of ponies from the north, nor is it interested in the welfare of these little horses.

“I have seen 14-year-old boys pay E200 or E250 for a wild pony. These youngsters are never told the animal is sedated or was born in the wild, and they have no idea how to handle a wild horse when the sedation wears off,” said Cahill.

The 1996 Control of Horses Act requires a chip to be inserted into all horses to identify their owners but this has yet to be enforced.

“These animals are afforded little or no protection by the law. Technically they are domesticated animals but they are really wild. No one is allowed sell wild animals to teenagers but that’s what’s happening. It is only a matter of time before one of these horses bolts in front of a car and causes a fatality.”

Saddle up!

BYLINE: Words by Stephen Milton
LENGTH: 134 words

Diarmuid tries to train pony kids to ride

He’s best known for his green fingers, but Diarmuid Gavin also digs horses. And he has always been fascinated by the Smithfield Pony Kids.

“My dad used to take me to Smithfield Market,” says Diarmuid, 43, who rode in Only Fools On Horses last year. “I felt the Dublin Horse Show was elitist, so I wanted to unite these extremes of Irish horse culture.”

This six-part series follows Diarmuid and showjumper Jessica Kurten as they try to train five pony kids from Dublin. The kids love horses, but have no formal training.

Diarmuid and Jessica have just 10 weeks to coach them to ride at the posh RDS Dublin Horse Show.
“They all have a good feeling for the horses,” says Diarmuid. “But they must start at the bottom and work their way up.”

Horse fair on its last legs

BYLINE: Ken Foxe, Public Affairs Correspondent
LENGTH: 453 words

Legal advice is being sought by Dublin City Council in an attempt to shut down a notorious horse fair, which was at the centre of allegations of cruelty last week.

The horse fair in Smithfield in Dublin’s north inner city has been held for more than two centuries but in recent years has become the subject of claims that many of the horses are sick and malnourished. Some 95% of horses rescued around the city are found to have been originally sold at the market.

Last week, it emerged that a badly injured horse was sold to a young boy for just EUR8. The horse is now expected to recover but will need a year of treatment.

Dublin City Council has said it cannot “extinguish” the right to have a market at Smithfield unless it provides an alternative location. However, it has confirmed that in the past month it has asked for a report from its law agent on ways to get around the legal catch 22.

Plans had been afoot to create an alternative horse market further from the city, where proper facilities could be put in place.

However, that initiative has fallen victim to budgetary pressures and is not now considered an immediate priority by Dublin City Council.

A statement said: “In order to extinguish the market right at Smithfield, Dublin City Council must find an alternative location for the market with reasonable facilities for carrying on the form of trade that goes on there at the moment. Realistically at this point in time this is not an option.

“The city council would have to acquire land, design a facility, obtain planning permission and create an operational budget line all of which in the current financial climate is not achievable.

“The city council does not believe that Smithfield represents a suitable location for the fair. For those reasons, the matter has been referred to the council’s law agent to examine what alternative legal remedies may be available to the city council.”

Dublin City Council has also ruled out temporary measures to keep the horse traders from the area on market day, the first Sunday of each month. It said the use of bollards or other obstacles would ruin Smithfield Square and could also prove just as expensive in the long run.

The possibility of organising raids at the market to seize all mal-treated horses has also had to be ruled out on safety grounds.

A source in the city council said: “It is an area of very high footfall with vehicle traffic at one end and Luas traffic at the other end.

“It would be chaotic to go in and try and get involved in enforcement and could ultimately lead to members of the public getting injured. “As it stands, it is a totally unsuitable place for a horse fair but it looks like we are going to be stuck with it for the time being.”