The Antigua and Barbuda Horse Society (ABHS) is set to benefit from the renewal of a government lease for five acres of land, a major plus for the organisation’s push to once again, access funding from the International Federation for Equestrian (FEI).
This was confirmed by Minister of Sports, EP Chet Greene, who said Tuesday that a request for the renewal of the lease held by the horse society since 1974, is currently being processed.
“We value very highly and appreciate the work being done over the years by the association and it’s one of the few associations in Antigua and Barbuda that have qualified for the Olympic Games, and their recent exploits in Jamaica speaks volumes of the benefits of valuable programmes to the national sports calendar and so we will, most definitely, extend the lease so I will impress upon the attorney general’s office the need to expedite the extension of the lease so they can get access to funding and other support from the international federation,” he said.
The news comes just days after two of the country’s young riders excelled at the Jamaica Invitational, winning in the 14 and under and the 16 and under categories respectively.
President of the ABHS, Janie Easton, said earlier this year, that the absence of a lease had prevented the horse society from accessing funding through the FEI.
Easton, speaking on the Good Morning JoJo Sports Show on Tuesday, was elated that the wheels are finally turning where the lease is concerned.
“I am inspired by this and I have spoken to the government and they said they would look into helping us. They don’t have to give us any money, they just have to give us a proper legal lease rather than an agricultural lease. We have been renting the land since 1974 and running a very successful riding school there,” she said.
The horse society, Easton said, he also received good news while in Jamaica over the weekend, learning they had been reinstated as members of the regional governing body.
“The head of our zone, Betty Wage, she is very enthusiastic for us so we were allowed to join the Caribbean Equestrian Association again, even though they know we can’t yet host, they would invite us and so this weekend they have the general assembly in Uruguay and she is going to bring it up again, saying we are working on the lease,” the president said.
Easton had said in January that the local body was denied a U.S. $50,000.00 grant by the FEI only because they did not hold a lease on the lands they had proposed to develop. Attempts then, to have the lease brought up to date had not reaped dividends.