A complete package in its purist form, the Irish Draught must also be acknowledged for its potent and unparalleled contribution in the creation of the magical cross; the Irish Draught Sport Horse.
The even temperament, durability and power of the Irish Draught, mixed with the speed and athleticism of the Thoroughbred, creates a potent mix which is well up to the demands of modern day competition. World famous for jumping and cross-country ability, this Irish Draught/Thoroughbred cross is not only a top caliber international athlete, but can serve as a perfect novice mount, adeptly boosting the confidence of a lower level rider.
Although we have recently seen the introduction of crosses with other bloodlines such as top quality Warmbloods, Arabians and Quarter horses, which are showing great promise, it is still the RIDxTB cross that has achieve world wide status. Cruising, Cagney, Ado Annie, Eezy, Carling King and Hopes are High are some of the shinning stars of the Grand Prix circuit, and Custom Made, Supreme Rock, Giltedge and Sailing have thrilled us in the eventing world.
This magical cross is referred to as the Irish Draught Sport Horse in North America and the Irish Sport Horse in Europe. While it may seem confusing, there is a reason for the difference in names.
The Irish Draught Sport Horse is recognized by North America (IDHS-NA and IDHS-Can) as a crossbred animal with a portion of RID (Registered Irish Draught) blood.
Whether the cross is known as an Irish Draught Sport Horse, an Irish Sport Horse or even as an Irish Hunter, if there is Irish Draught blood running in those veins, you have one great horse!
History of the Irish Draught Horse In the early part of the 20th century, the Irish farmer needed a more versatile horse than the popular heavy draft. He needed an animal that could work the land throughout the week, go fox-hunting all day Saturday, jumping anything he faced, and then be ready to bring the family trap to church on Sunday morning. It was from this need that the Irish Draught (pronounced draft') was born.
Over a century of selection has produced a warm-blooded breed that is very sound, sensible animals with good bone, substance and quality. The Irish Draught is neither as massive nor as heavily feathered as its name implies and has movement that is smooth and free, without exaggeration, and not heavy nor ponderous. Standing over a lot of ground, the Draught has an exceptionally strong and sound constitution, great stamina and an uncanny jumping ability. In addition, this breed possesses a fabulous temperament made up of willingness, intelligence, docility and common sense.
Not only is the Irish Draught a perfect companion mount for riders of all ages, but it possesses the ability and versatility to participate in various levels of jumping, eventing, dressage, hunting and driving events. It is all these exceptional qualities that make the Irish Draught an invaluable and irreplaceable element in the production of the highly successful Irish Draught Sport Horse.
Irish Draught Breed Standard
The Irish Draught Horse is an active, short-shinned, powerful horse with substance and quality. It is proud of bearing, deep of girth and strong of back and quarters. Standing over a lot of ground, it has an exceptionally strong and sound constitution. It has an intelligent and gentle nature and is noted for its docility and common sense.
Height Stallions 15.3hh to 16.3hh approx. Mares 15.1hh to 16.1hh approx.
Bone Good, strong, clean bone.
Head Good, bold eyes set well apart, wide forehead and long, well-set ears. Head should be generous and pleasant, not coarse or hatchet headed, though a slight roman nose is permissible. The jawbones should have enough room to take the gullet and allow for ease of breathing.
Shoulders, Neck and Front Shoulders should be clean-cut and not loaded, withers well defined, not coarse; the neck set in high and carried proudly, showing a good length of rein. The chest should not be too broad and beefy. The forearms should be long and muscular, not caught in at the elbows; the knee large and generous, set near the ground, and the cannon bone straight and short, with plenty of flat clean bone, and never back at the knee (calf-kneed) i.e. not sloping forward from knee to fetlock. The bone must not be round or coarse. The legs should be clean and hard with a little hair permissible at the back of the fetlock, as a necessary protection; the pasterns strong and in proportion, not short and upright nor long and weak. The hoof should be generous and sound, not boxy or contracted and there should be plenty of room at the heel.
Back, Hindquarters, Body and Hind Legs The back is to be powerful, the girth very deep. The loins must not be weak but the mares must have enough room to carry a foal. The croup to buttocks is to be long and sloping, not short and rounded or flat-topped; hips not wide and plain. Thighs are strong and powerful and at least as wide from the back view as the hips, with the second thighs long and well-developed. The hocks are near the ground and generous, points not too close together or wide apart but straight; they should not be out behind the horse but should be in line from the back of the quarters to the heel to the ground; they should not be over bent or in any way weak. The cannon bone, etc. as for the foreleg should be short and strong.
Action Smooth and free but without exaggeration and not heavy or ponderous. Walk and trot to be straight and true with good flexion of the hocks and freedom of the shoulders.
Color Any strong whole color, including grays. White legs, above the knees or hocks not desirable.