Irish Draught Horse Society

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Breed Standard Print E-mail

Type and Character

The Irish Draught horse is an active, short-shinned, deep-bodied and powerful horse with substance and quality. It has an exceptionally strong and sound constitution, an intelligent and gentle nature and is noted for its docile temperament, sense and trainability.

Height

Stallions: 15.2 h.h. to 17 h.h. / 159 cms. to 174 cms.
Mares: 15.1 h.h. to 16.3 h.h. / 155.5 cms. to 171.5 cms.
This height variation is acceptable when Irish Draught type is evident.

Bone

Good, strong, clean, flat bone. The bone is proportionate to the height of the horse and is not round or coarse; a minimum of 8.5 inches (21.5 cms) of bone, increasing in proportion to height.

Head

Large, kind eyes set well apart; wide of forehead; well-set ears. The head is pleasant, not coarse or plain. The jaw bones have enough room to take the gullet allowing ease of breathing and they show no signs of coarseness or restriction of flexion.

Shoulders, Neck and Front

Shoulders are sloping, well-defined and never loaded; withers are well-defined but not too prominent. The neck is set in high and carried proudly.

The chest is not too broad and beefy; the forearms are powerful, long and muscular, not tied in at the elbow.

The knee is large, flat and set close to the ground. The cannon bone is straight, short and strong, with plenty of flat, clean bone; never back of the knee (calf-kneed), i.e. not sloping forward from knee to fetlock, nor tied in below the knee.

The legs are clean and hard, with a little hair, not coarse, permissible at the back of the fetlock as necessary protection; the pastern is short and in proportion, not short and upright nor long and weak.

The hoof is of generous size, not boxy or flat, but showing good definition at the heel.

Back, Hindquarters, Body and Hind legs

The back is strong; the girth is very deep; the loins show no signs of weakness.
 
The croup to tail is of good length and slightly sloping, not short and rounded nor flat-topped; hips are contoured, not wide and plain.

The thigh is strong and powerful and at least as wide from the back view as the hip; the gaskin, second thigh, is well-developed.

The hocks are low-set, large and well-defined; when viewed from behind, the hocks are straight, not too close together or wide apart. They are in line from the point of buttock to the heel to the ground and are not out behind the horse (cow-hocked).

Action

Smooth and free, without exaggeration and not heavy or ponderous; movement is straight and true, with good flexion in the hocks and freedom from the shoulders to stride freely.

Colour

Any strong whole colour, white leg above the knees or hocks is not desirable.