The Irish Horse, also known as the Irish Hunter, Irish Sports
Horse or Irish Draught Sport Horse is the result of a cross
between the Irish Draught Horse and the Thoroughbred. It has
not yet been given recognition as a separate breed, but it
is commonly bred from Irish Sport Horse parents, as well as
being bred from crossing the definitive parent breeds.
In North America, this cross is called the Irish Draught
Sport Horse and in Europe it is known as the Irish Sport Horse,
and there is a reason for the difference in names.
The Irish Draught Sport Horse as recognized in North America
by the Irish Draught Horse Society (IDHS-NA and IDHS-Can)
is a crossbred animal with a portion of registered Irish Draught
in the pedigree. Only the cross with a registered Irish Draught
horse is classified as an Irish Draught Sport Horse.
The Irish Sport Horse as recognized by the Irish Horse Board
(IHB) in Europe is a horse of any breeding which may or may
not have any Irish Draught blood in its pedigree at all. As
an example, an Arabian crossed with a Thoroughbred; a Thoroughbred
crossed with a Connemara; a pure Thoroughbred or the Irish
Draught and Thoroughbred combination may all be classified
as being an Irish Sport Horse, even when there is no Irish
Draught Horse blood in the animal at all. Ireland produces
a large number of these Irish Sport Horses each year, many
of them selling for high dollar amounts in the United States
The Irish Draught Sport Horse is not a special breed, and
it is not just a product of an American breeding program but
rather it is just a new name to be used for educating the
public about the Irish Draught Horse that is becoming so common
in many of the top performance horses.
The Irish Horse is traditionally an all-purpose equine and
has been used for transportation, riding and working the land.
Its natural athletic ability and fantastic jumping talents
means that it is becoming increasingly popular as a competition
riding horse. It excels in the show jumping arena, as well
as competing at the highest levels of eventing. The Irish
Draught Sport Horse is globally renowned for being one of
the best fox hunting mounts in the world and has a tremendous
gallop with plenty of speed. While there have been other crossbred
combination that are showing promise, it is still the Irish
Draught Horse with Thoroughbred cross that has achieved world-wide
recognition in the Grand Prix circuit and in the eventing
world. This cross is not only a top caliber international
athlete, but is a perfect novice mount that can boost the
confidence of a lower level rider.
The Irish Draught Horse Society of North America was established
in 1993 to assist in the conservation and appreciation of
the Irish Draught Horse and its successful crossbred: Irish
Draught Sport Horse throughout the world and it maintains
the studbooks for qualified Irish Draught and part Irish Draught
horses in North America.
With over a century of selection in shaping the original
Irish Draught Horse, a very sound, sensible animal with good
bone and substance, great stamina and an uncanny jumping ability
was produced. It is these qualities that, when crossed with
the Thoroughbred, produced the world renowned Irish Hunter
that is now known as the Irish Draught Sport Horse.
The Irish Draught Sport Horse has the sense and honesty
of the Irish Draught with an excellent temperament of calmness,
yet lively when needed. This even temperament, durability
and power of the Irish Draught when crossed with the speed
and athleticism of the Thoroughbred creates a horse that can
handle the demands of modern day competition. Some Connemara
is also found in the pedigrees of some Irish mares.
The Irish Draught Sport Horse stands 15 to 17 hands high
and comes in any color. It has a large attractive head with
a convex or Roman nose profile and a slightly arched, muscular
neck. The back is short and compact and the high withers of
the Thoroughbred are sometimes seen.
Whether the cross is known as an Irish Draught Sport Horse or
an Irish Sport Horse if there is Irish Draught in the pedigree,
it's likely to be a great horse.
About the Author
Crystal is a writer for HorseClicks, classifieds of Irish
Sport Horses for sale in Ireland