Irish Sport Horse

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Irish Sport Horse
Chippison (ISH) – Dublin 2008.jpg
Irish Sport Horse stallion
Other namesIrish Hunter
Country of originIreland
Irish Sport Horse mare and foal

The Irish Sport Horse (ISH) (US: Irish Draught Sport Horse[1]), also known as the Irish Hunter, is the result of a cross between the Irish Draught and another breed, historically a Thoroughbred but today sometimes a European warmblood.[2] It has been given recognition as a separate breed.[3] It is commonly bred from parents who are also Irish Sport Horses, in addition to being crossbred from the defined parent breeds.


The Irish Sport Horse receives the sense and honesty of the Irish Draught and the athleticism, speed, and endurance of the Thoroughbred. Although the Irish Draught breed standard requires horses to be "any strong solid color",[4] an Irish Sport Horse can be any color as it can receive dilute or broken color genes from its non-draught parent.

It ranges in height from 15 to 17 hands (60 to 68 inches, 152 to 173 cm). It has a good temperament, being calm, yet lively when needed, and is very tough.

In British show hunter and working hunter competition Irish Sport Horses are divided into three types: light-weight for carrying a rider up to about 70 kilograms (150 lb), middle-weight to carry a rider up to about 89 kilograms (196 lb), 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 sidesaddle, 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, said to improve its jumping ability. The high withers of the Thoroughbred are also evident in many cases.


An Irish Sport Horse used in show jumping.

The Irish Sport Horse is popular as a competition riding horse. Its athletic ability and jumping talents means that it is used in the show jumping arena, as well as the highest levels of eventing. The horse is also known as a fox hunting mount. it is popular with police forces in Britain and Ireland.

The Irish Sport Horse Studbook has usually ranked as the leading studbook in the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses Eventing Rankings. In the last ten years it has won eight times. In the 2012 rankings the winning horse was Mr Medicott, 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.[5] The 2013 results were closer, with the ISH studbook winning again but only beating the second placed Hanoverian Studbook by 9 points.[6] In 2014 the ISH studbook won by a slightly larger margin, beating the second placed Selle Français Studbook by 59 points.[7]The ISH studbook was in first place also in 2015 and 2016, keeping a steady hold above Hanoverian Studbook both years by 141 and 160 points, respectively.[8] [9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Irish Draught Sport Horse". Irish Draught Horse Society of North America.
  2. ^ "Irish Sport Horse Studbook". Horse Sport Ireland. Archived from the original on 2013-03-14.
  3. ^ "Irish Sport Horse Studbook". Horse Sport Ireland. Archived from the original on 2013-03-14.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "WBFSH Rankings 2012". The World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses. Archived from the original on 2013-05-13.
  6. ^ "WBFSH Rankings 2013" (PDF). The World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses.
  7. ^ "WBFSH Rankings 2014" (PDF). The World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses.
  8. ^ "WBFSH Rankings 2015" (PDF). The World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses.
  9. ^ "WBFSH Rankings 2016" (PDF). The World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses.

External links[edit]