The Irish Sport Horse: The ‘Go Anywhere-Do Anything’ horse

The traditional Irish Sport Horse (ISH) is produced by breeding Irish Draught and Thoroughbred bloodlines together producing a sport horse with the size, speed, muscling, and temperament that makes it an excellent athlete. Thoroughbreds are renowned for their intelligence speed and heart while Draughts lend size, strength ,soundness and a sensible mind .

In recent generations, European warmblood lines have been added to the breed with the aim of producing more internationally competitive showjumpers.

Irish horses have excelled at upper level eventing and show jumping. They are highly sought after by eventers all over the world, and ISH sires have topped out the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses Eventing studbook for 22 out of the past 24 years.

Elected ( Jaguar Mail/Cruising)

They still perform in the hunting field, being brave and scopey enough to jump whatever is in front of them, but calm enough to be safe and manageable.

      The horse of the Irish countryside, the Irish Draught (pronounced ‘Draft’) lived in close quarters with the farming family.  There was less need for the type of heavy horse that developed in other areas of Europe; Instead, the Irish farmer required a versatile horse that was docile, strong, and economical to keep. The horse had to be able to work the farm during the week, pull a buggy in style to church on Sunday and still be fast and athletic enough to take the farmer Foxhunting on Saturday.

Every Breath You Take ( Jaguar Mail/ Seacrest)

      While having the strength and quiet temperament of a working horse, the Irish Draught is not a draught horse in the usual application of that word; the name may be misleading in that the breed is a lighter free-moving animal than the traditional image of the heavy horse.  The breed traces its roots back to Celtic times, when these horses raced at ancient festivals or pulled chariots in battles.  As they started being used more for agriculture, the Irish Draughts evolved into a versatile breed that could meet the needs of the farmer and his whole family.  Ireland’s soil, climate and culture makes it the most horse friendly place on earth.  The Irish Draught has benefited from this environment for longer than any other type of horse, and over the centuries has evolved into Ireland’s unique contribution to the equine world.

Daniel (Ulmar Mail/Bens Affaere)

The Irish Sport Horse is popular as a competition riding horse. Its athletic ability and jumping talents means that it is used in the show jumping arena, as well as the highest levels of eventing. The horse is also known as a fox hunting mount. it is popular with police forces in Britain and Ireland.

The Irish Sport Horse Studbook has usually ranked as the leading studbook in the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses Eventing Rankings. In the last ten years it has won eight times.

Famous Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses include:

King of Diamonds RID (Errigal RID x Ruby RID) Foaled in 1962, this stallion is one of the pillars of performance Irish Draughts. When he died in 1991, he ranked 7th on the Irish Horse Board’s list of sires of successful show jumpers. He has over 40 approved sons who carry his legacy on today.

Sea Crest RID (Knockboy RID x Sea Spray RID) A grade “A” show jumper, Sea Crest was a winner at all major shows throughout Ireland including 3rd in Millstreet Young Irelander, 2nd in the 4 Year Old Discovery Ireland. He has at least twenty five progeny eventing and show jumping at international level, including Cruising tenth in the world and the third leading stallion. Hoochi Koochi Spanish Team at the Atlanta Olympics and Spanish Champion. Nires Crest the Scandinavian Champion, Ladaka Burley 1996 – The Irish One – Burley 1996 – Mexican Wave – Wembley Working Hunter, and many others. Sea Crest has fifty-four winners of sixty-five classes and many placings at the R.D.S. horse show, (in show jumping, performance, and showing classes).

Cruising IDSH (Sea Crest RID x Mullacrew ISH) – 1985 grey stallion bred and owned by Hartwell Stud, Co. Kildare, Ireland. This 1985 grey stallion has earned over 700 Show Jumping points, and is the sire of numerous Graded show jumpers worldwide. As of 1999, Cruising is ranked 8th among show jumpers worldwide as reported by World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses.

The Haras du Gazon has the bloodlines of all these three legendary stallions in its breeding programme

Frisette du Gazon ( Furioso II/Sea Crest)