The animal chosen for evaluation is the Irish Draught Horse. This animal was developed in Ireland as a versatile medium draught breed suitable for light farm work and harness and also for hunting. The cross between the Irish Draught Horse and the Thoroughbred, commonly known as the Irish Sport Horse is used for hunting and eventing at top levels.
At this stage the Irish Horse Board does not have a breed standard for the Irish Sport Horse, but rather relies on the parentage being a mixture of Irish Draught and Thoroughbred in order to accept horses for registration. As the Irish Draught and the Thoroughbred are bred for completely different purposes (farm work and hunting versus racing speed), it cannot be assumed that any first cross Irish Sport Horse would be set in type, that is there would be some variations in inherited traits which may not suit the resultant animal to the desired purpose of eventing and hunting. The Irish Horse Board has therefore recently proposed performance testing of Irish Sport Horses, which should over time result in a more uniform type suited to the purpose of performing, rather than being a cross between two types suited to diverse purposes (Aldridge, 2000). This report will focus on the Irish Draught and its suitability for hunting, jumping and eventing