Six board members have resigned from Horse Sport Ireland (HSI), the national governing body for equestrian sports.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has been informed of the departures.

His spokesman told RTÉ News tonight: "The Minister is considering the best course of action in the interest of HSI and the industry as a whole."

RTÉ News understands that the Minister is anxious to make appointments to the HSI board as a matter of urgency.

It is understood that the board was split and that half of the board had lost confidence in Chair Joe Reynolds and CEO Denis Duggan who was appointed in January.

Tensions were exacerbated when the HSI went to the High Court, following a board decision, when the department awarded a marketing contract to the Irish Horse Board - duties previously carried out by Horse Sport Ireland.

It is believed that there are also significant difficulties between the HSI and two of the 23 affiliate equestrian bodies.

HSI is partly State funded and received more than €7m from the Department of Agriculture and Sport Ireland last year.

Horse Sport Ireland, which is based in Co Kildare, has confirmed that six members of its board have resigned.

Two of them - Mary Lambkin Coyle and David O'Meara - resigned on Friday 4 November.

Four others - Lucinda Creighton, Paul Duffy, Tom Freyne and Clare Hughes - resigned on 11 November.

In a statement, the HSI said: "Horse Sport Ireland's (HSI) core role is to promote the development and growth of the sport horse sector in Ireland, and this is always the key focus of the organisation.

"Given the recent resignation of a number of Directors, the Chairman of Horse Sport Ireland is currently liaising with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in relation to this as a matter of urgency."

In the last fortnight, two coaches from the Irish eventing team, Grant Wilson and Sally Corscadden, have initiated High Court action against HSI, Joe Reynolds and the Agricultural Trust.