The Irish Draught
What is so special about the Irish Draught?
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 produced a warm-blooded breed that is a very sound, sensible animal 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. Irish Draughts are often crossed with other breeds to produce all types of leisure and performance horses.
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 also these exceptional qualities making the Irish Draught an invaluable foundation in the production of the highly successful Irish Draught Sport Horses.
Type and Character of the Irish Draught
The Irish Draught Horse is a versatile, powerful and athletic animal with substance and quality. It has a pleasant head, good bone and a short shin, good spring of rib, strong loins and hindquarters and an active powerful stride. Known for its good temperament, docility and willing nature, it has a robust constitution and is inherently sound. The Irish Draught horse is a foundation breed that, when crossed with other breeds, will produce all types of leisure and performance horses.
Ideally Irish Draughts should stand between 158cms (15.2hh) and a maximum of 170cms (16.3hh) at maturity.
Approximately 23 centimeters (9 inches) of strong, clean, flat bone.
Should be pleasant, not coarse or hatchet like with plenty of room between the jaw bones. Wide forehead and kind eyes, set well apart, and with large quality ears.
Good length of rein with head well set on, neck should be correctly muscled and well shaped.
Long muscular forearms, short cannon bones with plenty of strong clean, flat bone, not back at the knee or tied in below the knee. Pasterns should be in proportion with good hoof pastern axis. Hooves should be of equal size, hard and sound with plenty of room at the heel. They should not be boxy, over large or flat.
A sloping shoulder neither loaded, nor too heavy, nor too short, with well defined withers well set back.
Body, back and hindquarters: Deep girth with a good spring of rib, strong back, loins and quarters. The croup and buttocks should be long and gently sloping. Hips should not be too wide.
Strong gaskins, well shaped clean hocks set into short shins. Should not be cow-hocked or wide apart at the hocks.
Should be straight and free not heavy or ponderous. Movement should be active and strong, showing good flexion of joints and freedom of the shoulders.
Any strong whole colour including bay, grey, chestnut, black, brown and dun. Excessive white markings are not desirable.