Irish Sport Horse Breed History, Characteristics & Uses - Horses Mad
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Irish Sport Horse [ISH]



The Irish Sport Horse breed makes for popular sports horses.
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The Irish Sport horse breed is one of the best sports horses in the world, frequently topping world championships. But it’s not without its controversies.

The Irish Sport Horse Breed

The Irish Sport Horse (ISH) comes from two other breeds: the Irish Draught and the Thoroughbred. That is what we call the Traditional Irish Horse (TIH), and the breed that began earning prominence in sports such as eventing and showjumping, both popular in Ireland. More properly, the Irish Sport Horse isn’t quite a horse breed so much as a type. It does, however, have its own studbook, and its own standards. These days, the Irish Sport Horse may have continental Warmblood influence (such as Holsteiner), and the Traditional Irish Sport has a separate association. The latter only accepts infusions from Thoroughbreds and Connemara ponies.

Ireland has a notoriously good land for horses. The Irish Draught, a warmblood breed itself, was important for agriculture, but also good for harness and under saddle. Breeding with Connemara ponies, Thoroughbreds and Clydesdales made for a tall, strong all-purpose horse. Further infusion of Thoroughbred blood refined the Irish Draught into the Irish Sport Horse, which was especially good for foxhunting. This also earns this breed the name of Irish Hunter. In the US, the Irish Sport Horse is sometimes named Irish Draught Sport Horse.

Irish Sport Horse

The Irish Sport Horse is wonderful in showjumping and eventing.

The Irish Sport Horse breed is more popular for their performance, though. They are notorious for topping Olympic and World Championships in showjumping and eventing rather frequently — which brings it to the interest of the world. Their athletic abilities and excellent disposition and intelligence make them a fine choice for sports as well as leisure riding. Many of the warmblood breeds today owe their origins to Irish horses and mares, whether Irish Draughts or sport horses themselves. In a curious twist, these same horses now influence the Irish Sport Horse again.

You can see a brief explanation of the Irish Sport Horse and its component breeds in the following video.

Breed Stats Height 15-17 hh

get link Colour any colour, including piebald and skewbald patterns. Conformation straight or slightly convex profile, well-proportioned head, long, muscular, arched neck. It has a sloping shoulder and a strong back and loins. It has large, expressive eyes, and the legs are strong with good joints.

Uses any sports, including driving, but they excel at showjumping and eventing. They can also be great leisure horses.

Irish Hunter
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