Irish Sport Horse
Chippison (ISH) – 1993 stallion by Cavalier Royale (HOLST)
|Country of origin||Ireland|
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)
The Irish Sport Horse (ISH) (US: Irish Draught Sport Horse), also known as the Irish Hunter, is usually the result of a cross between the Irish Draught and the Thoroughbred. It has been given recognition as a separate breed. It is commonly bred from parents who are also Irish Sport Horses, in addition to being bred from the definitive parent breeds.
The Irish Sport Horse is traditionally used for all purposes, from transportation to riding, and working the land and is increasingly popular as a competition riding horse. Its natural athletic ability and exceptional jumping talents means that it excels in the show jumping arena, as well as competing at the highest levels of eventing. The horse is globally renowned as a fox hunting mount.
The Irish Sport Horse Studbook nearly always wins the prestigious title of the leading studbook in the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses Eventing Rankings. In the 2012 rankings the winning horse was Mr Meddicot, an Irish Sport Horse gelding on 364 points. The ISH Studbook finished on 1427 points, over 100 points ahead of the second placed Hanoverian Studbook.
The Irish Sport Horse receives the sense and honesty of the Irish Draught and the athleticism, speed, and endurance of the Thoroughbred. It has an excellent temperament, being calm, yet lively when needed, and is very tough. Due to its sense and strength, it is popular with police forces in Britain and Ireland.
The Irish Sport Horse tends to fall into three types: light-weight for carrying a rider up to about 70 kg, middle-weight to carry a rider up to about 89 kg, and heavy-weight for riders exceeding 89 kg. Carrying a rider according to this classification includes being able to participate in hunting or other strenuous riding activities. Nowadays, most Irish Horses are middle-weights, and it is uncommon to find a true heavy-weight or a Lady's horse (trained for side-saddle, and usually a light-weight).
The horse has an attractive head with a sometimes convex profile (a "Roman nose"). It has a slightly-arched and muscular neck, long, sloping shoulders, a deep but not overly broad chest, a short, compact back, and a muscular croup with powerful hindquarters. The croup is often sloping and long, a trait coming from the Irish Draught, which improves its jumping ability. The high withers of the Thoroughbred are also evident in many cases.
The Irish Sport Horse can be any color, although it used to be rare to find tobianos and overos, they are becoming increasingly popular in eventing, showjumping and hunter trials. It ranges in height from 15 to 17 hands.
See also 
- Irish Horse Board, Ireland (maintains Irish Sport Horse studbook)
- World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses
- Showjumping Association of Ireland (SJAI)
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