An initiative of Horse Sport Ireland

Irish Draught

Irish Draught - Rosetown Annie

Irish Draught – Rosetown Annie

The Irish Draught Horse is a light draught breed that developed as a working horse on Irish farms. The breed is renowned for its strength, intelligence, courage, durability and gentle temperament. From the earliest times horses have always been a part of Irish life.  Over the years small active native horses were crossed with Norman horses and Spanish Andalusian stallions to increase the size of the native breed.  In addition, the Thoroughbred has also played a significant role in the development of the Irish Draught breed throughout the centuries.References to the Irish Draught Horse date back to the 18th century.  At the time a great increase in the area of land under tillage took place and this created a demand for bigger, stronger and more docile horses.  Irish breeders developed a draught horse that was lighter and more adaptable than the heavier draught horses found in England.

Due to the small size of farm holdings in Ireland most farmers could not afford to keep more than one horse.  A breed developed that was could be used not only to ‘plough, sow, reap and mow’ but also to hunt, ride and drive the family to church on a Sunday.  Consequently, today’s Irish Draught Horse is not simply a working horse, but a riding and leisure horse as well.One of the major strength of the Irish Draught Horse is its versatility.  Their wonderful temperament makes them easy to work with in any discipline.  Their strength, intelligence and lightness of step means that they can perform in many varied disciplines including showjumping, eventing, dressage, hunting, showing, driving, le trec and endurance riding.  Above all, their reliability makes them extremely safe and sound horse for the amateur and leisure rider.  Today the Irish Draught horse can be found competing in every aspect of equestrian sport. Irish Draught Horses also plays a major role in the production of sport horses in Ireland.  Ever since show jumping had its birth in Ireland and went on to become an international sport, Irish Draught crosses have been a foundation breed for the Irish Sport Horse. The even temperament, athleticism and durability of the breed, crossed with Thoroughbred and sport horse breeds has created a potent mix which is well up to the demands of today’s equestrian sports.  Numerous Irish Draught crosses have competed to the highest level in equestrian sport.