The breed is a good mixture of several other breeds developed over the centuries by crossing Connemara, Clydesdale and Thoroughbred horses. It was bred to be strong but quiet and easily trained.
The Irish Draught suffered during the Irish Famine in 1847 when numbers dropped and they were also used in many European wars to pull artillery. After that time the breed was mixed with Shire and Clydesdale blood which further altered the breeding. However, the breed was then taken under control by approving stallions. Again in World War 1 the breed suffered as the army requisitioned many mares.
In 1917 the Irish Draught studbook was introduced. At this time there were 1180 mares and 270 stallions inspected - only 374 mares and 44 stallions were accepted! In 1976 the Irish Draught Society was formed and then in 1979 the British Irish Draught Society.
More recently the Irish Draught is crossed with Thoroughbred's or warmbloods to produce 'Irish Sport Horses' and these excel at eventing and showjumping.
Height: 15.0 hh - 17.0 hh
Colour: Bay, Brown, Chestnut and Grey.
Conformation: Intelligent heads with long ears and eyes that are set well apart. The neck is set high and they have a deep chest and a strong back. They have good shoulders and the legs are clean and well-shaped. The coat is smooth with little hair on the legs (unlike the Shire).
Temperament: Irish Draught horses have a good temperament, they are strong and willing as well as being bright and intelligent.
Used for farm work originally but now mostly used for hunting, jumping and eventing in addition to general riding. They are fast travellers on the road and natural jumpers and are often the chosen breed for police horses.
Irish Draught Horse Society: http://www.irishdraught.ie/
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