Horse Isle 3: Big Book of Breeds
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Big Book of Breeds
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[ INDEX ] Equine Type: Horse Breed: Irish Draught (ID)   [ PREV ] [ NEXT ]
The Irish Draught (pronounced "draft") was developed starting in the late 18th century to be a working horse, owned by farmers who needed a versatile animal strong enough for farm work, yet light enough for general-purpose riding and driving. The horse needed a steady and level attitude, with enough heart, intelligence, and athleticism to hunt across trappy country. These varied demands have produced a singular character in the Irish Draught which is equally valued today.

The relatively small size of most farms in Ireland, as well as the island itself, led to the Irish Draught being of continued use in farming even after the advent of automobiles and mechanized agriculture. Unfortunately, the breed became endangered after many of its representatives were shipped to continental Europe during World War I; the breed's population was severely reduced and as a result, the genetic diversity of the remainder was significantly restricted. For both reasons, the breed is still considered endangered today.

The modern Irish Draught is still a sensible and versatile horse for all the family. While generally too heavy for the contemporary demands of performance horse sport, it is an excellent foxhunter, and is the choice of the Irish Garda Mounted Unit as a police horse. As well, the Queen's Household Cavalry often import Irish Draught stock for the same use in England.

The Irish Draught is found in most solid body colors. It stands between 15.1hh and 17hh.

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