Breed Objective & Description


The following Breed Objective and Breed Summary Description have been established by the Studbook of Origin in Ireland. They were amended by the Task Force recommendations in December 2014. The Irish Draught Horse Society (GB), as a harmonised studbook, follows these standards.     

Breeding Objective

The breeding objective of the Irish Draught studbook is to breed sound Irish Draught horses with correct conformation, type, movement and action, calm and willing temperaments and sufficient athleticism that conforms to the Irish Draught breed standard. These animals will serve one or more of the following three functions by:

·         Participating in preservation and ongoing breed improvement programmes;

·         Performing as pleasure, leisure or performance horses;

·         Contributing to cross breeding programmes with other breeds.

Breed Summary Description

The Irish Draught Horse is a versatile, powerful and athletic animal with substance and quality. It has a pleasant head, good bone and a short shin, good spring of rib, strong loins and hindquarters and an active powerful stride. Known for its good temperament, docility and willing nature, it has a robust constitution and is inherently sound. The Irish Draught Horse is a foundation breed that, when crossed with other breeds, will produce all types of leisure and performance horses.

Type of horse: detailed description

Height: Ideally Irish Draughts should stand between 158cms (15.2hh) and a maximum of 170cms (16.3hh) at maturity.

Bone: Approximately 23cms (9 inches) of strong, clean, flat bone.

Head: Should be pleasant, not coarse or hatchet like, with plenty of room between the jaw bones. Wide forehead and kind eyes, set well apart, and with large quality ears.

Neck: Good length of rein with head well set on, neck should be correctly muscled and well shaped.

Front legs: Long muscular forearms, short cannon bones with plenty of strong clean, flat bone, not back at the knee or tied in below the knee. Pasterns should be in proportion with good hoof pastern axis. Hooves should be of equal size, hard and sound with plenty of room at the heel. They should not be boxy, over large or flat.

Shoulders: A sloping shoulder neither loaded, nor too heavy, nor too short, with well-defined withers, well set back.

Body, back and hindquarters: Deep girth with a good spring of rib, strong back, loins and quarters. The croup and buttocks should be long and gently sloping. Hips should not be too wide.

Hind legs: Strong gaskins, well shaped clean hocks set into short shins. Should not be cow-hocked or wide apart at the hocks.

Action: Should be straight and free, not heavy or ponderous.

Movement: Should be active and strong, with sufficient athleticism showing good flexion of joints and freedom of the shoulders.

Colour: Any strong whole colour including bay, grey, chestnut, black, brown and dun. Excessive white markings are not desirable.


Last Updated Thursday 28 July 2016 


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