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The Irish Draught horse - history & information about the Irish draught horse

 The Irish Draught Horse is an active, short-legged, powerful horse with substance and quality. It is proud of bearing, deep of girth and strong of back and quarters. Standing over a lot of ground, it has an exceptionally strong and sound constitution. It has an intelligent and gentle nature and is noted for its docility and sense. It is very light and fast on its feet for a heavy horse, and has a good jumping ability.

History of the Irish Draught

 There are no early stud books relating to the Irish Draught, so its origins are therefore some what obscure. However, it is believed that the breed developed from crossing indigenous Irish mares with English imported Thoroughbreds. The indigenous stock probably, in turn, evolved from the Connemara pony, which had a good deal of Spanish and Arabian blood in its veins, and which, once away from its native western seaboard, had grown larger on the lusher grazing.

 It was originally used in Ireland on the farm as an all round work-horse, being strong, and compact and standing on short legs, but mechanisation gradually reduced its usefulness in this field. After a few years in the doldrums, however, there was a revival of interest in the breed when its potential as a base from which to breed half-bred hunters was realised, and the Irish Draught Horse Society was formed in 1976.

 
  • POINTS OF THE IRISH DRAUGHT HORSE
   
  Height: Stallions: 15.3 h.h. to 16.3 h.h. approx.
Mares: 15.1 h.h. to 16.1 h.h. approx
 
  Bone

Good, strong, clean bone.

   
  Head Good, bold eyes, set well-apart, long, well-set ears, wide of forehead. Head should be generous and pleasant, not coarse or hatchet-headed, thought a slight roman nose is permissible. The jaw bones should have enough room to take the gullet and allow ease of breathing.
   
  Front end

Shoulders should be clean-cut and loaded, withers well-defined, not coarse; the neck set in high and carried proudly. The chest should not be too broad and beefy, the forearms should be long and muscular, not caught in at the elbow; the knee large and generous, set near the ground; the cannon bone straight and short, with plenty of flat, clean bone, never back of the knee (calf kneed), i.e. not sloping forward from knee to fetlock. The bone must not be round and coarse. The legs should be clean and hard, with a little hair permissible at the back of the fetlock as necessary protection; the pastern strong and in proportion, not short and upright nor too long and weak. The hoof should be generous and sound, not boxy or contracted and there should be plenty of room at the heel.

   
  Back end

The back to be powerful, the girth very deep, the loins must not be weak but the mares must have enough room to carry the foal. The croup to buttocks to be long and sloping, not short and rounded or flat topped; hips not wide and plain; thighs strong and powerful and at least as wide from the back view as the hips; the second thighs long and well developed; the hock near the ground and generous, points tot too close together or wide apart but straight, they should not be out behind the horse but should be in line from the back and the quarters to the heel to the ground, they should not be over bent or in any way weak. The cannon bone, etc., as for the foreleg short and strong.

   
  Action

Smooth and free but without exaggeration and not heavy or ponderous. Walk and trot to be straight and true with good flexion in the hocks and freedom of the shoulders.

   
  Colour

Any strong whole colour, including greys. White leg, above the knees or hocks, not desirable.

 
  • IRISH DRAUGHT HORSE STUD BOOK

The Irish Draught Horse Studbook is maintained jointly by the Irish Horse Board, and the Northern Ireland Horse Board, in conjunction with the Irish Draught Horse Society. Animals that pass inspection are given RID status. The Irish Draught Horse Society maintains the Breed Standard for the Irish Draught Horse.

All foals are registered in the Irish Horse Register (IHR) at birth. Animals must be inspected and approved before entry in the Irish Draught studbook. A performance-testing programme for stallions as part of the approval procedure has been in place since 1995. All animals must be blood typed prior to inspection for entry into the Register.

There are annual inspections for fillies beginning at 2 years and for mares of all ages, Mares are assessed under thirteen different aspects of confirmation, movement and athleticism.

Colt Assessments are also undertaken for yearlings and two year old colts so that promising colts can be identified and their owners encouraged to retain them. This is a free service. Geldings are also eligible for RID status.

Irish Draught Stallions can be put forward for RID status and enter into the Studbook beginning at 3 years of age. Stallions must be inspected and undergo veterinary examination. Performance testing is a must for all except those with exceptional conformation and movement. Performance is either open competition or in a central test centre. The *inspection panel may recommend that stallions with exceptional conformation, movement, athleticism and satisfactory temperament may be approved; otherwise stallions may be classified as S1 or S2.

  • PERFORMANCE TESTING

 Irish Draught stallions are obliged to have accumulated a minimum of 10 points in competition under the rules of the Showjumping Association of Ireland, or the equivalent in showjumping competitions run by an organisation in another country. However, if stallion owners wish to compete in competitions under the rules of Eventing Ireland or Dressage Ireland, the minimum number of points shall be 5 in the case of eventing and 20 for dressage, or the equivalent in eventing or dressage competitions run by an organization in another country. Having completed the performance testing requirements, each stallion shall undergo a full inspection at a central location, or a location decided by the Issuing Authorities.

*IHR: PART VI Stallion Classification 18. (1) (a) (iv) In the case of inspection of Irish Draught colts/stallions, the inspection panel shall include two representatives from the Irish Draught Horse Society (unless otherwise decided by the issuing authority). The representatives from the Irish Draught Horse Society shall not be over ruled by the other members of the panel where the Irish Draught breed type is an issue.

Contact the IDHS Secretariat, idhs@eircom.net with inquiries regarding procedural questions and for official paperwork to be completed prior to inspections.

 

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