An initiative of Horse Sport Ireland

Irish Horse Breeds

Ireland, Land of the Horse, produces some of the finest Irish horse breeds in the world.


breed-connemaraThe Connemara Pony is a native pony originally from Ireland’s west coast; its popularity is extensive worldwide. A historic breed that is considered to be “sure footed and hardy,” the Connemara has exceptional characteristics which include a calm temperament, staying power, intelligence, soundness and athleticism. These characteristics mean the pony is considered a wonderful modern  riding mount for child and adult alike.  Crossed with the Thoroughbred, the Connemara produces an exceptional and versatile sport horse.


The Irish Cob breed was developed by the Travelling Community in Ireland. For hundreds of years these sturdy, hardworking horses pulled wagons and carts throughout Ireland, Britain and Europe. The breed adapted to be strong and versatile. They needed to be gentle enough to be handled by children but sturdy enough to pull a wagon all day.

Irish Cobs have an imposing appearance with a stout, powerful body. They are noted for their high knee action, excellent temperament and flowing hair. Their wide short backs make them very comfortable under saddle. The Irish Cob is ideal for leisure riders, being very good weight bearers, versatile and kind. They are suited for children, pony clubs and adults alike for riding and driving.



The Irish Draught Horse developed as a working horse on Irish farms with references to the breed dating as far back as the 18th century. Due to the small size of farm holdings in Ireland at the time, most farmers could not afford to keep more than one horse and as a result Irish breeders developed an adaptable draught horse capable of carrying out all of the work on the farm as well as being used for riding, hunting and driving. Consequently the breed developed to be extremely versatile and intelligent with an excellent temperament and willing nature.

The characteristics of the breed make them an ideal leisure and riding horse and their wonderful temperament makes them easy to work with in any discipline. Irish Draughts are often used for crossing with other breeds to produce all types of leisure and performance horses.



The main composite breeds of the Irish Sport Horse are the Irish Draught Horse and the Thoroughbred. In recent generations there has been an infusion of continental Warmblood breeds and there is now a considerable amount of crossbreeding with these breeds in the Irish Sport Horse studbook.

However, traditional Irish Sport Horses are still being bred. The unique composition of the breed gives the Irish Sport Horse it’s much sought after characteristics of athleticism, jumping ability, courage, intelligence and soundness. For further information on traditional Irish Sport Horses please visit the Traditional Irish Horse Association’s website.

Irish Sport Horses compete successfully at the highest level of every equestrian discipline. For generations Irish horses have dominated the eventing circuit and the Studbook has been the leading eventing Studbook in the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) Studbook rankings every year since the conception of the rankings in 1994 with the exception of 2010 when they finished in 2nd and in 2011 when they took 3rd place.

Apart from its success at international level the Irish Sport Horse is an ideal leisure horse. Its ability to look after and help its rider in any situation makes the breed a safe and popular choice for the amateur rider.


irish-warmblood-cabrio-irish-horse-gateway-150The Irish Warmblood breed was established in 2009 through the Minister of Agriculture’s approval of the Warmblood Studbook of Ireland (WSI), and in 2014 the studbook became a Full Member of the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH).

Irish Warmblood youngsters already are making a big impression. Many have been exported to Germany, South America, Great Britain, and Northern Ireland, and the studbook’s 4-, 5-, and 6-year-old approved stallions and mares have dominated the young horse showjumping championships.


The Kerry Bog Pony is a small sturdy Native Breed standing approximately 102-117 cms for stallions and 102-112 cms for mares. The Kerry Bog Pony has a fine, intelligent head with large kind eyes. It has a strong and well set on neck, with a rounded shoulder and compact body.Kerry Bog Pony

The Kerry Bog Pony is extremely hardy, resistant to many equine diseases, with great powers of endurance. It has ample bone, and can carry heavy burdens in relation to its build. Traditionally it would have been used as a pack animal carrying heavy loads.

This rare breed is an ideal family pony, full of character and fun. Generations of use on small farms has produced a pony of calm temperament, willing and able to perform in a wide range of disciplines.