The Irish Horse Board were deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of one of the former Board members of the Irish Horse Board – Michael Duignan.

Michael held a passion for the development of Ireland’s equine industry, that resulting in him serving the industry in many voluntary capacities on Boards and committees over the years.
Michael was active member and Chairman of the Irish Draught Horse Breeders Society in 1993 and 1994, a period which saw the development of performance testing of Irish Draught Stallions through the Irish Horse Board. This development provided an opportunity for Irish Draught breeders to have their stallions broken, trained and ridden by a professional rider in a centre over a 12-week period, which added considerable value to their horses. It also heralded the first assessment of Irish Draught stallions under saddle. At that time it was recognised in the Irish Draught yearbook, that to enhance the influence of the Irish Draught breed for the leisure and performance horses circles, the time for ridden assessment had arrived and was important to ensure more pure Irish Draught horses would be bred into the future by demonstrating their ridden prowess. During the same couple of years the Irish Draught sales held in in Tattersalls were very buoyant, particularly in the UK market.

Michael with Mary McGrath, the winning owner of Rosetown Annie, shown by Denise Norton after winning the 2005 Ossory Show broodmare championship. \ Susan Finnerty

Micheal was an extremely knowledgeable Director of the Irish Horse Board and he served on the Board until 2011. Michael held the IHB staff in the highest regard and was always willing to help in every situation, attending events, and representing the Irish Horse Board at international events, including Lanaken. With his finger on the pulse in his native Co. Roscommon and ear to the ground throughout the country as an active show judge, Michael could bring any concerns arising from breeders back to the Board for speedy resolution which ensured the Irish Horse Board efficiently supported all of its members.

Michael at the 2005 Irish Horse Board AGM in Tullamore with Gay Parkinson and David McCann \ Susan Finnerty

Michael also served on the Irish Farmers Association horse committee for a number of years. His served through periods of significant change in Ireland’s farming landscape, and it was evident for all to see that he supported many forward-thinking developments in Ireland’s ever-changing equine industry as a result, he was a respected member of Ireland’s equestrian community.

Michael with fellow judge David McCann at the 2005 Westport Show with the late Tiernan Gill Snr and his young horse champion by Limmerick \ Susan Finnerty

Michael was himself a successful breeder, producer and owner of many sport horses over the years but his pride and joy in more recent times, was following his gelding ‘Starboard’ through the national age classes. Starboard was a traditionally-bred Irish Sport Horse, by Cruising (ISH) and out of Lucky Ladybird (AID) by Ceredigion (TB). Lucky Ladybird was by Mountain View out of Cora Belle (RID). Starboard was produced by Olive Clarke through the Irish studbook series and then progressed to winning a national Grand Prix in Coilog as only as 7-year-old. Michael, then leased this competitive gelding to the Army Equitation school where he celebrated more success under the partnerships of Captain Brian Curran Cournane and Captain Michael Kelly. Michael Kelly achieved multiple successes aboard this gelding in the TRM Premiere Grand Prix series, at Blessington show and Killossery show where Michael Duignan was proudly present to join in the celebrations.

May he rest in Peace.