THE winners of the ‘Equine Farming and Biodiversity’ photo competition were announced by Teagasc recently. The overall winner is Roseann O’Neill from Kenmare, County Kerry. As Roseann explained, her winning image captures her ‘Class 1 Kerry Bog Pony mare taken through the window of an old cow house’. Roseann’s winning image was selected from over 150 diverse images, featuring examples of biodiversity in harmony with equines at farms around the country, which were recently submitted to the Equine Farming and Biodiversity photo competition. Roseann will receive vouchers valued at €250.
Teagasc Equine Specialist Wendy Conlon added her congratulations, saying: “Roseann’s photo resonated with the judges for its simplicity yet captivation of the beautiful Kerry landscape and its native Kerry Bog pony.”
In second place was Nicole Groyer from Naul, Co. Dublin. Wendy complimented Nicole on framing her horse, while demonstrating the aesthetic and shelter values of hedgerows. Nicole was delighted to receive vouchers valued at €150.
In third place was Amy Finn from Ballyfoyle, Co. Kilkenny, who will receive vouchers valued at €100. Wendy praised Amy’s representation of the Connemara Pony among the trees, which are a valuable resource that enhance farm aesthetics.
A special prize for an image portraying the three native Irish breeds of the Kerry Bog pony, Irish Draught and Connemara Pony could not be ignored.
Congratulations to Yasmin Fortune of Greystones, County Wicklow, who will receive vouchers valued at €50.
Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist, appreciated the biodiversity portrayed in the winning photos, which demonstrate the importance of equine farms in maintaining biodiversity and the relevance of this in the promotion of the environmental credentials of the Irish equine industry.
Catherine said: “Native Irish hedges are networks for nature through equine farms, full of flora and fauna. Individual trees provide shade for horses and are of immense value to biodiversity, particularly native tree species and also old trees, which host mosses, lichen, fungi and associated invertebrates.
Many horses and ponies are delivering ecosystem services by maintaining species-rich grassland and upland habitats in good condition.
The three native Irish equine breeds provide a rich reservoir of genetics and contribute to the preservation of Ireland’s genetic heritage.”
It was gratifying for the judges to experience the range of excellent images from participants.
The winning ‘Equine Farming and Bio-diversity’ photos can now be viewed at www.teagasc.ie/ equinecomp.
Teagasc sincerely thanks all participants for taking the time to enter and wishes everyone continued enjoyment of their surroundings, while encouraging all to strive to both sustain and improve biodiversity on their farms.