Irish Draft

The Irish Draft is a versatile horse breed that is popular for its riding, driving and draft abilities.

With its gentle temperament and easy-to-care-for coat, the Irish Draft is an ideal choice for anyone looking for a horse that can do it all.

In this article, we will take a look at the history of the Irish Draft Horse and its characteristics.

So if you are interested in learning more about this amazing breed, keep reading!

Irish Draft Breed Info

Here are some of the key things you need to know about the Irish Draft horse:

Height (size) 15.2 – 16.3 hands high
Colors All solid colors are allowed, however, too many white markings are discouraged
Country of Origin Ireland
Common Uses Jumping, hunting, hacking, general riding, in Irish Garda’s mounted unit

Irish Draft Facts & Information (Breed Profile)

The Irish Draft, much like other European breeds, was originally bred to be a versatile horse that could be used for a variety of purposes, including farm work, hunting, and transportation in both harness and under saddle.

The breed is first mentioned by name in the 18th century, although its origins go back far further in Irish history.

Irish Drafts are said to have originated in the 12th century, when the Irish Hobby was bred with Anglo-Norman battle horses.

The Iberian horses that were stranded on Irish coasts after the shipwrecks of the Spanish Armada in the 16th century are also thought to have contributed to the Irish Draft.

The formal documentation of Irish Drafts began in the 20th century.

The Ministry of Agriculture established the studbook in 1917, with a foundation stock of 375 mares and 44 stallions.

Like many other horse breeds in Europe, the Irish Draft was impacted negatively by the rise of mechanization when it was largely replaced by tractors, and also by the World Wars in the 20th century when they were used in battles.

Many of the remaining horses were either slaughtered or exported for use on foreign stud farms.

The Irish Draft Horse Society was established in 1976 with the purpose of preserving the breed.

The breed’s second problem was the result of its success – the breed was so popular as a base for cross breeding that the number of purebred Irish Drafts decreased, with many mares never delivering a purebred foal.

The Irish Draft breed association does not specify whether it considers its horses to be of the coldblood or warmblood type, however they may be seen as the lightest of the coldbloods, potentially in the same league as Friesians, or as a heavy warmblood.

It is standard practice to crossbreed Irish Drafts with Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods in order to create high-quality sport horses called the Irish Sport Horse, which are in high demand and very popular for competitions.

Irish Draft horses are considered the national horse of Ireland.

If you’re interested in learning more about this fascinating breed, keep reading!

Alternative Names



Easygoing, gentle, adaptable, quick learners

Physical Characteristics

The head is pleasant, and around 9 inches (23 cm) long.

The eyes are kind.

The hindquarters are powerful.

The action of the Irish Draft should be straight and free, with appropriate joint flexion and shoulder mobility.

The Irish Draft has more bone than a European warmblood or a British bred sports horse, and its usage as a producer of sports horses rather than a competitor itself has allowed it to maintain some of the more ‘drafty’ features that have been bred out of breeds such as the Dutch Warmblood.


All solid colors are allowed, however, too many white markings are discouraged

Height (size)

15.2 – 16.3 hands high






1,300 – 1,500 lbs (600 – 680 kg)

Blood Type

Light coldblood or heavy warmblood

Common Uses

Jumping, hunting, hacking, general riding, in Irish Garda’s mounted unit



Popular Traits




Country of Origin



Irish Hobby, Anglo-Norman war horses, Clydesdale, Thoroughbred, Connemara