Irish Sport Horse

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
fast facts

About Irish Sport Horse

1,150 lb
Strong, athletic
31 years
Best Suited For
All levels of horse owners, trainers, and riders who have the time to dedicate to an energetic horse
Obedient, docile, loyal, amiable, easy to train and manage, intelligent, versatile, and brave
Comparable Breeds
Irish Draught Horse, Thoroughbred Horse
Irish Sport Horse Breed History

As its name implies, the Irish Sport Horse is from Ireland. The breed is the result of crossing the Thoroughbred Horse with the Irish Draught Horse, though the infusion of Continental Warmblood equine breeds has also become more common in recent years.

The Irish Draught Horse is a light breed that evolved initially to be used on farms in Ireland. However, it became popular for its strength, courage, intelligence, gentle personality, and hardiness, so the horses were also used in competitive equestrian sporting events.

Irish Sport horses make wonderful riding horses because of their sensible temperament.

For several centuries, Thoroughbred horses were bred with Irish Draught horses in order to create a sport horse breed that would exhibit the best genes and traits of both of these popular equine breeds.

The result was the Irish Sport Horse, which exhibits intelligence, strength, versatility, athleticism, and a sought-after gentle disposition. These characteristics make Irish Sport horses suitable for a variety of tasks that range from hunting and agriculture, to transportation and pleasure riding.

This unique breed’s athleticism has made it popular around the world, and many of these horses are exported to areas throughout the United States and Europe today.

Breed Traits

The Irish Sport Horse is a popular and beloved breed because it has a wonderful personality that is suitable for all levels of horse owners, trainers, and riders.

Irish Sport horses are known for being lively, bold, and intelligent, though they are also calm and even-tempered. These animals are highly enthusiastic and eager, so they are easy to manage and easy to train for a variety of tasks.

Because these horses have a lot of energy, however, they should be allowed to exercise regularly and enjoy plenty of outdoor activity. These horses need to release their energy, so regular interaction is necessary. Make sure that you can dedicate enough time to this horse in order to ensure its wellbeing and overall health.

Irish Sport horses exhibit intelligence, strength, versatility, and a gentle disposition.

Overall Description

In addition to being strong and athletic, Irish Sport horses are known for their high endurance level and resilience. Their bodies allow them to perform running and jumping exercises with ease and with exceptional accuracy, and these animals also make wonderful riding horses because of their sensible temperament.

The Irish Sport horse’s body should be well proportioned throughout, and the head should be alert and well set, featuring a face that is often convex. You will also notice long ears, a long neck that is slightly arched and muscular, and large eyes.

These horses have a strong bone structure, as well as robust loins and a short and strong back. The shoulders will be long and sloped, and the chest will be deep without being overly broad. Also, the withers will be high, and the croup, which is often long and sloping, will be muscular. The hindquarters will also be noticeably powerful. All of these features combine to give this horse its exceptional jumping ability.

Irish Sport horses need to release their energy, so regular interaction is necessary.


The Irish Sport Horse comes in a wide range of beautiful colors. All solid colors are allowed, including tobiano and overo, but you will not find these horses showcasing piebald or skewbald. Also, the tail and the mane can be any color.

Common colors include buckskin, bay, gray, white, dun, black, chestnut, cremello, palomino, perlino, grullo, roan, champagne, and brown.

Grooming Requirements

Because the Irish Sport Horse enjoys spending time with people, grooming your horse consistently will provide an ideal opportunity to strengthen your bond with your equine companion.

In addition to regularly bathing your horse with the appropriate shampoo, you can also ensure that the animal’s skin and coat will remain clean and healthy by simply utilizing standard equine grooming tools.

You can begin by using a hoof pick, as this easy-to-use tool will thoroughly remove any dirt and debris that has become stuck in your horse’s hooves. As you clean out the hooves, also check for injuries and infections that need prompt treatment.

To get the coat as clean as possible, start with a curry comb, which will effectively loosen any dirt and debris that has become tangled within the coat or that is stuck to the skin. Follow it with a body brush to further remove any debris, excess hair, and dirt that the curry comb loosened or missed. If your horse is sensitive, use a brush with softer bristles.

To get to sensitive areas, such as the eyes and ears, you can use a grooming cloth very gently. And, finally, make sure the tail and mane are smooth and detangled with the help of a tail comb and mane comb.

Photo credit: Mustang_79/; Laura Renwick/Flickr; sazzyb100/

Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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