All About Irish Horses
Ireland has some of the most amazing horse breeds in the world. Known as the land of the horse, Ireland has many historic horses and ponies. They are all unique in their own ways, but do have a few things in common due to their origins. Irish horses were bred for a wide variety of uses, including working, riding, racing, driving, and showing.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we are highlighting some of Ireland’s finest Irish horse breeds.
The Connemara pony is a native pony from the western coast of Ireland. This historic pony is very popular around the world. Bred in harsh terrain with little foraging, these ponies are known for their hardiness. They are wonderful riding ponies for children and adults with a calm deminor, intelligence, and soundness. The Connemara’s level headed personality and athleticism makes them a very versatile pony. Connemara’s come in a variety of colors, including grey, chestnut, Palomino, brown, and bay. They are sometimes crossed with Thoroughbreds, resulting in a larger diverse sport horse.
Developed by the Travelling Community in Ireland, the Irish Cob is a sturdy horse bred to pull wagons in Ireland, Britain, and Europe. This breed is incredibly gentle, but strong and versatile. They are hard to miss with their expressive gaits and flowing hair. Irish Cobs are well suited for riding and driving and are comfortable to ride for longer periods due to their wide, short backs.
This Irish Draught is the official national horse of Ireland. This large working breed has roots that go back to the 18th century. Irish Draught’s were originally bred to be an adaptable horse used for riding, hunting, and driving. They have a lovely temperament and are very willing and adaptable. They are able to handle lots of different terrain and weather conditions. The modern Irish Draught makes an excellent riding or driving horse. They are often crossed with other breeds to produce a lighter performance horse with a mild temperament.
Irish Sport Horse
The Irish Sport Horse is a cross between the Irish Draught and the Thoroughbred. In more recent years, the breed has also seen the addition of Warmblood breeds. The traditional Irish Sport Horse was highly sought after for their jumping ability, courage, and intelligence. These horses are excellent competitors and you can almost always find them competing at the top level of most disciplines.
Irish Warmbloods are a more modern Irish horse breed. The Irish Warmblood was recognized and a studbook established in 2014. These horses are very talented in the jumping world and are quickly gaining popularity in Germany, South America, and Great Britain.
Kerry Bog Pony
This little native horse is extremely hardy and resistant to many equine diseases. You’ll see these horses competing very successfully in endurance, though they are fairly rare. With a strong back, compact body, and rounded shoulders, these ponies can carry heavy weights and were traditionally used as a pack horse. With a calm temperament and the ability to perform in many disciplines, this pony is ideal for families with small children.