The Irish Draught Horse – only native breed of horse in Ireland – has made the Irish horse famous throughout the world.
It is a versatile, athletic and intelligent horse, with a wonderful temperament. Throughout the world, Irish Draught horses are prized for their ability, versatility, stamina, docility and good sense.
Like the Connemara Pony, traditionally, the Irish Draught was the horse of the countryside. It served as the ultimate utility animal on small Irish farms, providing work, entertainment and transport. Ploughing fields, hunting with the hounds and pulling a trap were all part of its job description.
The Irish Draught also served on the battlefields of Europe since the Middle Ages. As recently as the First World War the Irish Draught served on the front lines in their thousands.
Today’s Irish Draught is used mainly as a foundation animal for crossing with other breeds to produce sport horses. Today, they are especially popular for crossing with Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods, producing the popular Irish Sport Horses, which excel globally at the highest levels of eventing and show jumping. The Irish Draught dam passes on bone, substance, and a more sensible temperament to her crossbred offspring.
Irish Draughts are still widely used for hunting.
Their calm nature, good sense and physical strength make Irish Draught geldings ideal for mounted police forces in Britain and Ireland.
The upsurge in leisure riding in recent years has given the Irish Draught a new outlet. Their gentle temperament and natural honesty make the Irish Draught Horse perfect for the leisure or casual rider.