Breed Organization Irish Draught Horse Society of North America IDHSNA Website: http://www.irishdraught.com Native Country Ireland Other Names N/A Average Height See Breed Description Adult Weight ------------ Rider Experience Level ------------
Breed Description The Irish Draught Horse is an active short-legged powerful horse with substance and quality. It is neither as massive nor
as heavily feathered as its name implies. It is proud of bearing, deep of girth and strong of back and quarters. Standing
over a lot of ground it has exceptionally strong and sound constitution.
The Irish Draught's movement is smooth and
free but without exaggeration and not heavy or ponderous. They may be of any strong whole color, including grey. White legs,
above the knees or hocks are not desirable. Their bones should be good and strong. Stallions average size is approximately 15.3
hands to 16.3 hands. Mares average size is 15.1 approximately hands to 16.1 hands.
History The Irish Draught's history lies as much in battle as it does in agriculture. Written in 1 BC, the "Cuchulain Saga" describes
mighty chariot horses of Irish Draught type. In the twelfth century came the arrival, in Ireland, of the Anglo-Normans with
their strong war horses. Later, in the sixteenth century, trade between southern Ireland and Spain brought a strong mix of
Spanish blood to the native horses. The Irish Draught has been exported in huge numbers into the armies of Europe since the
Middle Ages. As recently as the first World War the Irish Draught served on the front lines in the thousands.
hundred years from 1850 to 1950 probably did the most to shape the Irish Draught as we know it today. Agriculture in Ireland
was mixed, with less demand for the heavy draft breeds popular in the rest of Europe. Instead, the Irish farmer needed a horse
that could work the land but would also pull the dog cart to church at a smart trot and take the farmer fox hunting. The
hunting farmer wanted a horse that would go all day and jump anything he faced.
Over a century of selection produced
a very sound, sensible animal with good bone and substance, great stamina and an uncanny jumping ability. It is these qualities
that, when crossed with the Thoroughbred, produced the world renowned Irish Hunter. This cross is now known as the Irish
Sport Horse, and representatives are winning gold medals and grand prix all over the world.
Unfortunately, this success
as a foundation breed nearly led to the Irish Draught's downfall. The decrease in farm mechanization and the worldwide demand
for hunters and sport horses brought the breed to the brink of extinction. It was more profitable for the Irish farmer to
supplement his living by breeding his good draught mare to a thoroughbred than to breed her to a purebred stallion. Even with
the concerted efforts of the Irish Draught Horse Society, founded in 1976, the breed is considered endangered with barely
2,000 purebreds worldwide.
Behavior It has an intelligent and gentle nature and is noted for its docility and sense.