Irish Draught Horse

Key Characteristics

A strong and versatile breed that stands at 15.2hh to 16.3hh. The Irish draught horse is a very popular breed throughout the world and is used in eventing, showing, as police horses and in the army for mounted guards. The true bloodlines are considered at risk due to the popularity of crossbreeding with thoroughbreds and warm bloods to produce lighter more agile sports horses.


References of the Irish draught horse breed can be dated back to the 18th century. Its origins are thought to be from the Irish Hobby horse that was then bred with Iberian breeds during the time of the Spanish Armada followed by the clydesdale and throughbred in the 19th and 20th century. The Irish draught horse was originally bred as an all-round working horse, it was used for pulling carts, riding and draughting farm machinery.

In the latter half of the 19th century they were introduced to Ireland by the Landlords who owned vast estates in the mountains along the west coast. The strains seen today are a result of cross breeding between the regional gene pools.

Suitable Habitats

Lowland grassland situations are suitable where a short grass sward or a mosaic of habitats is required for ground nesting birds. Suitable for grazing aftermath of hay meadows in the Autumn to produce a short sward for spring growth the following year. Due to their size the site needs to be carefully monitored as poaching and soil compaction can become a problem if forage becomes scarce or the site becomes wet and supplementary feeding is required.

Breed Societies

Irish Draught Horse Breeders Association
Irish Draught Horse Society

Suitable Habitat Types


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