Welcome to the Irish Draught and Sport Horse Society Australia Inc.
Celebrating Irish Draught and Sport Horses in Australia!

At the Irish Draught and Sport Horse Society Australia Inc. (IDSHS), we’re more than an organisation — we’re a passionate community dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and development of the Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horse breeds across Australia.

Rooted in a rich heritage and committed to excellence, we uphold breed standards, support our members, and continue to grow a vibrant community of equine enthusiasts.

Our Mission:

To preserve, promote, and improve the Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horse breeds through breed pedigree identification, studbook inspections, education, competitions, and member engagement, thereby contributing to the thriving equine industry in Australia.

Our Dedication:

We actively raise awareness, encourage responsible ownership, and provide opportunities for connection. We take pride in promoting the breeds’ unique qualities, including versatility, intelligence, and a remarkable work ethic.

Join Us:

Whether you’re a breeder, owner, competitor, or admirer, we welcome everyone. Explore our range of services, from pedigree registration to studbook classifications, advertising, reward schemes, educational programs, events, and a supportive network. we invite you to explore our website, connect with members, participate in events, and discover the beauty and potential of the Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horse. Let’s celebrate and elevate these breeds together in Australia!

The History of the Irish Draught

The history of the Irish Draught dates back many hundreds of years with a distinct Spanish connection. Ireland and Spain were regular traders for many centuries – with Ireland exporting wool, hides and butter, and receiving wine, cloth, horses and specie (money in the form of coins, rather than notes) in return. The class of Spanish horse introduced was the Andalusian Barb, brought to Ireland’s shores in the 16th Century.

There is evidence, however, that an oriental influence was present in Ireland prior to direct trade with Spain. The Irish infused their native breed, the Hobby, with heavier Norman blood, which provided much-needed size, substance and strength. Next, the Andalusian was introduced to produce the regal presence – an exquisite top line and light, flowing gaits.

​The end result is the incomparable present day Irish Draught, which is a multi-purpose, active farm horse, capable of tilling a small farm, pulling a sidecar to market and milk to the creamery at a steady trot, carrying the farmer out hunting, and breeding a foal each year to sell (usually by a Thoroughbred horse and often to foreign buyers). It had to be quiet to handle, strong and economical to keep. Above all, it had to be dependably sound throughout its working life, because the livelihood of the small farm depended on the reliability and efficiency of this horse.​

The History of the Irish Draught in Australia​​

The first purebred Irish Draught to be imported into Australia was Bantry Bay in 1976.

Dr Arthur Young, a veterinary surgeon from the western district of Victoria, purchased the horse in Ireland as a three-year-old. He was purchased as Silver Laughton, but his name was changed upon arrival to Australia. His sire was Dangan King, by Lahinch, and his dam was Trespain.

He was a great grandson of the renowned Registered Irish Draught (RID) sire Laughton who also sired many show jumpers, and whose descendants are still actively competing today. He was bred by John Dukelow of Dunbittern, Bantry Bay, in south-west Ireland.

The horse was steel grey and stood at 16.2hh and later matured to 17hh. Arthur remarked that, “I thought at the time (1976) that he would be years ahead of his time, in that the show jumping and eventing fraternity were not interested in breeding horses for these purposes. Instead, content to go through numbers of cheap ex-racehorses to find the odd one that adapted.”

Bantry Bay stood for his first season in 1977 and his last foal crop was 1983. He was bred only to Thoroughbred mares and produced some lovely stock, competing in eventing, show jumping, hunter trials and on the hunt field. Sadly, he died of colic in July 1983. Unfortunately, also in 1983, most of the yearlings and two-year-olds by Bantry Bay perished in the Ash Wednesday fires.

The Australian society, inaugurated in May 1989, has an Irish Draught Stud Book, an Irish Sport Horse Studbook and a Pedigree Register. Other societies internationally also have their own stud books and registries. The largest stud book is in Ireland and is administered by Horse Sport Ireland.

The Irish Draught Stud Book contains Irish Draught purebreds as well as near purebreds, as the Stud Book has a breed back component. This allows the infusion of a small percentage of registered Thoroughbred blood.

The Irish Sport Horse Studbook has been established in 2024 and will be the holder of classified and performance tested Irish Sport Horses with a minimum of 1/2 (50%) RID blood and 1/2 (50%) ASB Thoroughbred. 

The Pedigree Register allows Irish Draughts crossed with breeds that include Australian Stock Horses, Arabs, Quarter Horses, Warmbloods, and Thoroughbreds or other breeds. This is the identification register and is where ALL Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horses are first accepted into the Society, prior to being Studbook assessed. 

In the last 40 years, there have been approximately 40 purebred Irish Draught horses in Australia. These include imported mares and stallions, as well as horses bred in Australia. There are approximately 20 purebreds currently in Australia, with approximately 6 or 7 breeders with purebreds.

There are many more breeders who breed Irish Sport Horses with quite a number of studs standing Irish Sport Horse stallions or breeding using Irish Sport Horse mares.

Bantry Bay

Society Objectives

Breed Preservation and Improvement: preserve and improve the Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horse breeds in Australia by maintaining and promoting their breed standards, encouraging responsible breeding practices, and supporting initiatives that enhance the quality and characteristics of the breeds.

Member Support and Engagement: provide valuable resources, services, and support to members. This includes assisting with breed registration, offering educational programs and workshops, facilitating networking opportunities, and promoting a sense of community among members.

Breed Promotion and Awareness: raise awareness and promote the Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horse breeds to a wider audience. By showcasing their versatility, athleticism, and temperament, the society aims to highlight the breeds' unique qualities and create opportunities for breeders, owners, and riders to engage with and appreciate these exceptional horses.

Growth and Sustainability: IDSHS aims to ensure the long-term growth and sustainability of the society by attracting new members, retaining existing members, and continuously seeking opportunities for improvement and innovation. The IDSHS strives to adapt to changing needs and trends in the equine industry while staying true to its mission and values.

Collaboration and Partnerships: IDSHS actively seeks collaborations and partnerships with other equine organisations, including the AHBF, breeders, riders, and industry professionals. By fostering these relationships, the society aims to strengthen the breed community, exchange knowledge and expertise, and collectively work towards the advancement and recognition of the Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horse breeds.

Education and Information Sharing: provide educational opportunities and information to members and the broader equine community. This includes organising seminars, clinics, and workshops on various topics related to breeding, training, health, and care of Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horses, as well as sharing relevant news and updates through publications and online platforms.

Ethical Standards and Welfare: IDSHS upholds high ethical standards and prioritises the welfare of the horses. The society promotes responsible horse ownership, advocates for fair treatment and care of the breeds, and encourages its members to adhere to ethical breeding, training, and competition practices.

The Irish Draught is judged or classified according to the British Breed Standard, which sets out requirements for the breed.

Irish Sport Horses are classified according to the proportion of Irish Draught characteristics displayed, in addition to their pedigree and performance.

Irish Draught Breed Standard

Type and Character
The Irish Draught Horse is an active, short-shinned, powerful horse with substance and quality. It is proud of bearing, deep of girth and strong of back and quarters. Standing over a lot of ground, it has an exceptionally strong and sound constitution. It has an intelligent and gentle nature and is noted for its docility and common sense.

Stallions 15.3hh to 16.3hh approx.
Mares 15.1hh to 16.1hh approx.

Good, strong, clean bone.

Good, bold eyes set well apart, wide forehead and long, well-set ears. Head should be generous and pleasant, not coarse or hatchet headed, though a slight roman nose is permissible. The jawbones should have enough room to take the gullet and allow for ease of breathing.

Shoulders, Neck and Front
Shoulders should be clean-cut and not loaded, withers well defined, not coarse; the neck set in high and carried proudly, showing a good length of rein. The chest should not be too broad and beefy. The forearms should be long and muscular, not caught in at the elbows; the knee large and generous, set near the ground, and the cannon bone straight and short, with plenty of flat clean bone, and never back at the knee (calf-kneed) i.e. not sloping forward from knee to fetlock. The bone must not be round or coarse. The legs should be clean and hard with a little hair permissible at the back of the fetlock, as a necessary protection; the pasterns strong and in proportion, not short and upright nor long and weak. The hoof should be generous and sound, not boxy or contracted and there should be plenty of room at the heel.

Back, Hindquarters, Body and Hind Legs
The back is to be powerful, the girth very deep. The loins must not be weak but the mares must have enough room to carry a foal. The croup to buttocks is to be long and sloping, not short and rounded or flat-topped; hips not wide and plain. Thighs are strong and powerful and at least as wide from the back view as the hips, with the second thighs long and well-developed. The hocks are near the ground and generous, points not too close together or wide apart but straight; they should not be out behind the horse but should be in line from the back of the quarters to the heel to the ground; they should not be over bent or in any way weak. The cannon bone, etc. as for the foreleg should be short and strong.

Smooth and free but without exaggeration and not heavy or ponderous. Walk and trot to be straight and true with good flexion of the hocks and freedom of the shoulders.

Any strong whole colour, including greys.​

Edenagor Star Class 1 RID Ireland

Champion Stallion 2023 at the Royal Dublin Show