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23 February 2019   
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Irish Breeds of Horse

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Irish Draught

A light draught horse of uncertain origin although it is known to trace back many centuries to the time when Norman horses were introduced to Ireland and crossed with the smaller native animals, possibly Connemara ponies. . It was bred in Ireland as a dual-purpose animal, suitable for farm work and for riding. It was a type that evolved rather than a breed and so there are no early records or stud books. In 1917 the department of Agriculture in Ireland instituted a book of Horses of the Irish Draught Type in an attempt to regulate the breed. 375 mares and 44 stallions were entered as being suitable and sound.

The Irish Draught stallions stand at about 16h.h. or over, while the mares are 15.2h.h or over. All solid colours are permitted. It has good conformation with a small intelligent head with a wide forehead and bold eyes; well set long ears; a well set neck with sloping clean cut shoulders; a strong body with a deep chest and girth; an oval rib cage and powerful hindquarters; strong limbs with plenty of good quality flat bone and no feather. Irish horses owe much of the growth of their sound good bones to the limestone pastures where they are bred and raised.

The Irish Draught is known for being one of the best hunters in the world, for it has innate good sense and it is bold and athletic across country. It is also known for intelligence and a gentle nature. A bold athletic jump and natural balance have made some of these horses top level show jumpers. The Irish Draught is sometimes improved as an event horse, by crossing it with thoroughbred.

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