The Irish Draught dates back to the 12th century when native mares were crossed with heavy French and Flemish horses and further improvements were made by introducing Spanish Andalucian blood; which produced a draught horse that could work on the Irish farms and were sure-footed, agile, weight carrying enough for a day’s hunting.
These horses are a popular cross with the Thoroughbred, which is why the pure bred numbers are so low.
The height ranges from 15 – 17hh (1.50 – 1.70m), with a coat of any solid colour, grey being the common colour.
The breed has a variety of uses being used as a riding horse, draught work, hunting and jumping.
It is a popular choice for a hunting horse. It's sure footed, can carry a lot weight and capable of hunting all day, giving the rider a nice smooth ride.
As a show jumper it's agile and athletic, but not the quickest of horses covering the ground.
These horses were bred to be docile, with a calm temperament, easy to handle but also strong.
A neat graceful head with bold eyes set well-apart, long, well-set ears, wide of forehead.
A graceful body on a long arching neck and sloping shoulders, deep girth. Well set withers, strong back that is quite long and powerful hindquarters that slope down from the croup.
Hind thighs are muscled and hock joints are large and limbs clean.
Today's horse is used mainly as a foundation animal for crossing with other breeds to produce sport horses.
The most popular cross is the Thoroughbred or Continental Warmblood stallion used on the purebred or part bred mare to produce the Irish-Sport-Horse (or Irish-Draught-Sport Horse).
The dam passes on bone, substance, and a more sensible temperament to her crossbred offspring.
Due to its calm nature and strength, geldings are popular mounts for police forces in Britain and Ireland.
In 1976 the Irish-Draft Society was formed, which operates a grading system to ensure quality horses are produced for registration.
The breed is also a "good doer" (easy and economical to keep).
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