The Irish Draught Sport Horse, has several distinctions. It is recognised throughout the USA as the “Irish Draught Sport Horse” making reference to it’s lineage, and as suggested, the Irish Draught Sport Horse is a cross between the Irish Draught and a thoroughbred. Traditionally, an Irish Draught horse is the mare, whilst the stallion is refered to as a Thoroughbred; “quality on top, with substance below” is the generally used guideline, meaning that the female draught horse is important for adding to the substance of the foal.
These sport horses have the excellent, renowned strength of the Irish Draught and the nimble, agile athleticism of the Thoroughbred, making an all round tough, athletic horse with good natured temperaments.
Horses registered with the IDHS, have inspections which are performed once per year for mares age 2 and over, and colts which are at least 3 years old. Paperwork is sent out out to members with foals which are registered when it is time for their inspections.
Inspections ensure that the breed is kept true to type, ensuring all of the qualities we have traditionally come to expect are present – soundness, durability, sensibility, athleticism and of course quality are checked to ensure that the horse is a good Irish Draught breed.
The sports horse is an Irish Draught crossed with a thoroughbred or a warmblood, giving you a 3/4 breed of sorts, which makes the ideal sports horse – whether this is a horse used for showjumping, or even a race horse, the Irish Sports Horse is one of the best breeds you could possibly have.
Many race horses which are sponsored or even owned by companies, everything from an SEO company to a restaurant chain, are Irish Draught Sports Horses. This is due to the excellent all-round speed and robustness.
Throughout Ireland, it’s not REQUIRED that an Irish Sport Horse has Irish Draught pedigree, however the vast majority are bred as such. The NGBC (National Governing Body of Competition) Horse Sport Ireland states that as long as a horse is born in Ireland and is born from a Horse Sport Ireland approved dam and sire, then the horse may be called an Irish Sport Horse – the main reasoning behind this is a shortage of pure bred Irish Draught mares.
Horses were commonly used to work the fields, but the introduction of tractors and other engine powered vehicles meant that many of the best mares were sent to slaughterhouses. Eventually, common sense came out in front and we realised that these beautiful, excellent breed animals were more than just a workhorse, and the slaughtering came to a halt and breeding resumed, unfortunately by the time this happened, there were a lot less pure breeds available to make foal, and so the blood line was thinned.
Many horses were also lost in world wars, the dark coloured horses were simpler to keep clean, significantly reducing maintenance time, and so these were military horse of choice.
Of course, many true Irish Draught Sport Horses still exist today, bred from the Irish Draught, and the blood line is once again becoming more pure.