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Tell me about Irish Sport Horses

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  • Tell me about Irish Sport Horses


    Temperments? trainability? dressage ability? eventing ability....

    I realize it varies by horse, etc, but.. just as a general rule

    Thanks so much!

  • #2
    Love them - IDSH

    I'll speak about Irish Draft Sport Horses.

    Solid citizens, bold with great jumping ability. Depending on the line, dressage is good to really good and some that are great!.

    Sound, good bone, good feet.

    Can be opinionated... "I know what I'm doing, let me at it!"

    Lots of eventers are IDSHs... I love them.
    Live, Laugh, Love


    • #3
      Are we talking about that baby???

      While there are some similarities between Irish raised ISHs and American raised ISHs, I have to say a lot of what makes a good IRISH horse so good is nurture, not nature, if that makes any sense. Meaning, basically, that I don't always see the same qualities in the American bred and raised ISHs that I have enjoyed in the Irish bred ISHs (and other Irish imports- including Irish Drafts, TBs, and Connemara crosses), and I think that comes down to how they bring up their horses over there!

      However, the common denominators I DO find (including finding them in our AUSTRALIAN bred Irish horse! ) is usually a good brain, a sweet temperament, a lot of athletic ability (though, as with all things American bred, sometimes I see a lack of that in the less well bred ones). They can be mildly to extremely quirky (this is both a nature and a nurture thing...every Irish horse I have ever met has had at least one minor quirk, but the REAL Irish ones can be VERY quirky, and I think a lot of that has to do with coming here and experiencing things they've NEVER been exposed to in their lives...like horse eating squirrels ). They are typically built to last with good feet (we had trouble with flat feet, but they were big and very good quality otherwise). Movement usually ranges from decent to excellent.

      I love them and there was a time in my life when I was surrounded by them. They are entertaining, usually very sweet, and a ton of fun to ride.


      • #4
        From the perspective of someone who had raised, trained and handled hundreds of varied breeds - they are DIFFERENT. On the hole, more intelligent, generally a huge sense of humor (do not kid yourself, they can and will laugh at you as well as with you), very sensitive and intuitive horses.

        The hybrid sporthorses (ours are all from TB dams) do tend to throw in a lot of variables, but the Irishness of the Draught shows in all of them. The purebred Irish Draught is a wonderful animal - but took some getting used to for us. Now, all the others are lacking in some way or other - size, substance, brain, ability. They are somewhat addicting, actually.

        But then I am somewhat prejudiced
        Homesick Angels Farm
        breeders of champion Irish Draught Sporthorses
        standing Manu Forti's Touch Down RID


        • Original Poster

          Yes ma'am!!!

          He's got King of Diamonds a little way back... and some TB blood in there too....

          Yay!! Thanks guys! The few I've met ...okay, well the TWO I've met.. one was super super smart!! and the other is an amazing jumper.

          Fingers crossed it all works out... I'm smitten!!

          and okay.. quick question... IS there a difference between Irish Draught and ISH? It seems awfully interchangable...



          • Original Poster

            ha ha... I might just be screwed.... it's an Appy cross.... I think I'm in for a whole new level of intelligence and naughty little boy antics!

            His full sister was with me for a bit and man... she was SMART!!!


            • #7
              All the Irish horses I have had the chance to come across (ISH and Connemara) have been smarter than average and full of self preservation and strongly opinionated but SAFE!
              Big Idea Eventing


              • #8
                There is a good reason why the Irish Sport Horse was top of the WBFSH Rankings for eventing for 15 years...
                Ben Along Time, Ringwood Cockatoo, Commanche, Lenamore, Ballincoola, Mc Kinleigh, Biko, Imperial Cavalier, Grass Valley, Ashdale Cruise Master, Mandiba, Spring Along, Twinkle Bee, Tankerstown, Ringwood Magister, Mojito, Mr. Medicott, Cast Away, Westwood Mariner and Westwood Poser, Master Crusoe...
                To name a few!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by FLeckenAwesome View Post

                  and okay.. quick question... IS there a difference between Irish Draught and ISH? It seems awfully interchangable...

                  Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the Irish Draught is a heavier/drafty type and the ISH is what you get when you breed the Draught to something lighter (like an Irish TB).

                  I love the breed, personally. The ones who come over from Ireland after a couple years under saddle are the best
                  The big guy: Lincoln

                  Southern Maryland Equestrian


                  • #10
                    The Irish Draught is a heavier breed (but don't think "draft" as in Clydesdale, etc. They are NOT cart horses, but probably more like really old school WB). The ISH is a cross of usually RID (Registered Irish Draught) and TB, but, as I was reading last night, an ISH can have other things in it, too (like a little WB), while an IDSH (which is a term that bugs me) apparently is ONLY RID and TB.

                    And forgive me for saying "draft" and not "draught" last night. I WAS tired!


                    • Original Poster

                      Got it Thanks.....
                      I think at first I did think Draft and got a little panicky, but.. that makes sense...

                      It's funny... like how when you buy a certain car, you notice it all over the place suddenly... now I'm thinking "oh.. that's an irish name, I wonder if its ISH"? hee hee.....


                      • #12
                        No need to panic! They are a far more athletic breed than "draft" breeds as we think of them. I think people try and get a "economy" version of a ISH when they make draft crosses, but since Clydesdales, Percherons, etc, are PULLING horses and RIDs are actual riding horses and are bred for their ability to run and jump, you just do not get the same thing! As evidence of the ISHs success in show jumping and eventing, they are a far different animal than a draft cross.

                        There was a time when 75% of our horses were very lovely Irish imports (of all varieties...RIDs, ISHs, Irish TBs, and Conn crosses). Everyone of them was a gem (some where quirkier than others, though!). Now we're just down to two (since one of ours went and retired at a friend's farm)...and one of them is by way of Australia! He can be very "Irish" occasionally, though.


                        • #13
                          An Irish Draught is a breed. An ISH is a type. Depending upon whom you ask, and whose definition you use, an ISH can be a cross of an ID and a TB, or it can literally be any horse bred in Ireland.

                          The PTB of the ID world prefer the term "IDSH" to indicate a horse with ID and approved other blood, generally TB.

                          The only common denominators I've seen in ID crosses (with the usual number of exceptions) is good bone, good feet and friendly temperaments. I have one with all of those and would like to say she is a great jumper and mover, but she's quite average in those categories. She has the odd spook in her, but I'm pretty sure that comes from her TB mom.

                          If we are really honest with ourselves, these breed characteristics are no more applicable to individuals than human stereotypes are.
                          Click here before you buy.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                            An Irish Draught is a breed. An ISH is a type. Depending upon whom you ask, and whose definition you use, an ISH can be a cross of an ID and a TB, or it can literally be any horse bred in Ireland.
                            Yup. The original ISH was generally a cross between an ID and a TB, but with the influx of different breed stallions now standing in Ireland, and given approval by the Irish Horse Board, the modern ISH can have many different breed influences.


                            • #15
                              I'm sure Columbus will do a better job with this, but . . .

                              The Irish Draught was an all purpose riding, driving, and even some light farm work for its farmer owners, much as were the Gelderlander and Groninger in Holland, and the Warmbloods in Germany. The British used them as one source of their cavalry horses, and to that end made TB stallions available for crossing with the local mares at very cheap fees. The stallions would be located in certain places and the farmers in that area would bring their mares to be bred. IIRC, and it's been a while, the Irish government established the registry for these horses to keep track of their breeding, and I seem to remember that it involved inspections. Can't remember if it started under the Brits in 1911 or with the independent Irish Republic in 1918 or 1921. So the Irish stock has been inspected and registered for a good long time.

                              The Irish Horse Board was formerly in charge of all registrations and it had two books--the RID book for Registered Irish Draughts, and the Irish Sport Horse book for RID x TB crosses. Most of the great sport horses were ISH, although almost all RIDs have TB blood, and many of the mare lines have unknown breeding, since mares were unimportant to the Irish--and in many cases, still are. The IHB made the determination that the RID was an endangered breed with too few "pure" examples, and started a preservation effort.

                              Fairly recently--within the last five years or so, the IHB changed into Horse Sport Ireland, which is both a registry and the FEI NF. Horse Sport Ireland has opened the ISH registry to other than RID or ISH x TB crosses, and Ireland is using more and more WB stallions for their sport horse breeding. The Preservation aspects of the old board have gone by the wayside with the HSI's emphasis on breeding for the jumping disciplines.

                              I started a thread on the Breeding Forum referencing HSI stallion approvals for 2010 and 2011. It's got Eye Candy in the title, and there is quite a wide variety in the types of approved stallions. There is some good information there from people who know a lot more about their breed that I ever would.

                              As the WB x Irish crosses increase in number, it will be interesting to see whether or not the TB part of the ISH cross is a necessary part of their success in eventing (and jumping).
                              "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                              Thread killer Extraordinaire


                              • #16
                                I think we really need a few more strong TB sires in Ireland at the moment. The likes of Carnival Night, Edmund Burke, Ballinvella, Sky Boy etc had such a huge influence in breeding good event horses or if we go further back - Cottage Son and Furioso.

                                Master Imp was a sad loss.


                                • #17
                                  I have ridden about 20 irish horses...mostly thoroughbreds, some draughts and they were all nicer than any horse I had ridden in Canada or the UK. Talented dressage horses, jumpers, and brave x country.

                                  I want one.
                                  Boss Mare Eventing Blog


                                  • #18
                                    Like the Brits and many North Americans, the Irish cut their colts before they have a chance to perform. And sell Stan The Man to Germany. The Continentals have a much smaller urge to geld.

                                    If I were in Ireland and hoping for a sport horse TB, I'd look for a sire line that goes to a horse close up that has won one of the huge GI mile races, has lots of Hyperion and Blandford, preferably near the top, a touch or two of Wild Risk, and all three of the foundation sires on the first page + plus the sire in the sixth for mares in the fifth. All other males in the pedigree are likely to be Phalaris these days.

                                    I don't know where Chair Lift stood, but he has an almost perfect pedigree for sport.

                                    For mares, Dalmary would be a heck of a good choice.

                                    Originally posted by Napoles View Post
                                    I think we really need a few more strong TB sires in Ireland at the moment. The likes of Carnival Night, Edmund Burke, Ballinvella, Sky Boy etc had such a huge influence in breeding good event horses or if we go further back - Cottage Son and Furioso.

                                    Master Imp was a sad loss.
                                    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                    Thread killer Extraordinaire


                                    • #19
                                      As others have said an ISH is a horse bred in IReland and is often a RID X TB, but can be any horse bred in Ireland like Connemara X. In the US, we use the term IDSH to denote the Irish Draught blood in the cross. The only fixed requirement is the ID blood. We have RID x TB and WB IDSH on our farm. - 1 WB X is Holsteiner x RID and the other is WB x RIDSH as well as several RID x TB IDSH.

                                      They tend to be a very personable with a good consitution and great feet. Remember in a cross you have 2 parents with different breed tendencies, and the temperment will come from both sides - often the Irish comes through and makes for a very sensible horse with a keen sense of self preservation, but you will see ones that are much more like the other breed used in the cross. I have ones the are 50/50 crosses and some look very Irish while others look more 75% TB
                                      Epona Farm
                                      Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

                                      Join us on Facebook


                                      • #20
                                        just got one!

                                        A week ago, I brought home a 16 y.o. ISH to serve as a confidence builder as I venture into foxhunting (3rd field, hopefully eventually 2nd). He is sane, solid, talented, kind -- this horse has taken such good care of me already --Absolutely nothing phases him - pigs, goats, tractors, cows, cars, chain saws. A gem.

                                        He was imported from Ireland many years ago, has evented at a prelim level and has fox hunted in Ireland and US -- obviously in the nature vs. nurture conversation, this horse has seen and done alot and it contributed to who he is today. But, I'll be looking for another one after he's ready to retire.