Phyllis Dawson riding Irish Sport Horse Star Bright at the Foxhall CCI***.
 ABOUT IRISH HORSES


THE IRISH SPORT HORSE

    If you are looking for a versatile horse with a great personality, excellent movement, and incredible jumping ability, the Irish Sport Horse is for you.  This highly successful breed is a product of crossing Thoroughbreds with Irish Draught Horses; for Eventing the most usual cross is 1/4 Irish Draught and 3/4 Thoroughbred.  The Irish Sport Horse has a tremendous gallop with plenty of speed, exceptional jumping talent, and has been bred for centuries to run and jump and go across the countryside.  They have the heart and keen intelligence of a Thoroughbred, coupled with a calm and sensible temperament from their Irish Draught blood. They are known for their great durability, soundness and stamina.

      The horse of the Irish countryside, the Irish Draught (pronounced 'Draft') lived in close quarters with the farming family.  There was less need for the type of heavy horse that developed in other areas of Europe; instead the Irish farmer required a versatile horse that was docile, strong, and economical to keep. The horse had to be able to work the farm during the week, pull a buggy in style to church on Sunday and still be fast and athletic enough to take the farmer Foxhunting on Saturday.

      While having the strength and quiet temperament of a working horse, the Irish Draught is not a draught horse in the usual application of that word; the name may be misleading in that the breed is a lighter free-moving animal than the traditional image of the heavy horse.  The breed traces its roots back to Celtic times, when these horses raced at ancient festivals or pulled chariots in battles.  As they started being used more for agriculture, the Irish Draughts evolved into a versatile breed that could meet the needs of the farmer and his whole family.  Ireland's soil, climate and culture makes it the most horse friendly place on earth.  The Irish Draught has benefited from this environment for longer than any other type of horse, and over the centuries has evolved into Ireland's unique contribution to the equine world.
      The Irish Draught is sought after for its breeding qualities, being used to get extra bone and substance in the progeny of lighter type mares.  It is the foundation in the breeding of the great 'Irish Hunter'. When crossed with the Thoroughbred, the Irish Draught is the basic ingredient of the Irish Sport Horse (ISH). 

           In modern times, the Irish Sport Horses have excelled at International level competition in Eventing, Show Jumping and Dressage. The even temperament, durability and athleticism of the Irish Draught, when crossed with the Thoroughbred, has created a fabulous type of horse that has the qualities to excel in many different disciplines.  The Irish Sport Horse tends to have the loose free movement often associated with warmbloods, combined with the intellegence, speed and heart of a Thoroughbred.  They are a versatile, athletic, and remarkably sound breed of horse with a wonderful temperament.  Whether you are interested in Eventing, Show Jumping, Foxhunting, Dressage, Driving or just want a pleasant horse to ride and enjoy, the marvelous thing about the Irish Draught Sport Horse is that it can do any of the above - or even ALL of the them. 

        Irish Horses are well known for competing at the top international level of several sports.  Star Appeal, Cruising, McKinley, Custom Made, Shear L 'Eau, Mill Pearl, and Giltedge are just a few prime examples, and the list goes on and on.  The Irish Sport Horse is sought after by those competitors looking for a horse to take them to the pinnacles of their sport, but they also make fabulous mounts for riders of every ability level.  This is the horse the Irish have relied on for generations to take them out in the morning, secure in the knowledge it will do whatever is asked of it, and bring them home safe at the end of the day. What more could you ask for?

      In the past, it has been necessary to travel to Ireland to search for quality Irish Sport Horses, and import them at considerable trouble and expense.  Now, however, it is possible to buy top class young Irish horses with impeccable bloodlines here in the United States.  Windchase has produced a number of outstanding young prospects by the outstanding Irish stallion Brandenburg's Windstar (now deceased).  We also offer for sale a selection of Windstar's offspring, ranging from foals so horses in competition.  Look for the younger ones on the Windstar's Babies page, and the older ones in training may be found on the  Horses for Sale page.  For more examples of the Irish Horse, follow this link for photos of some of Windstar's older offspring.

     Whether you are looking for a horse for Olympic competition, or one to entrust with your own and your children's fun and safety, choose an Irish Sport Horse for the job - you won't regret it.  Once you have ridden a good Irish horse, you won't want to ride anything else!

      
Phyllis Dawson riding Star Bright at the Rolex Kentucky CCI****, and Enniskerry Imp at Plantation Fields.