Pure Irish Draughts
 

OUR BREEDING AIMS
Our policy is pure and simple- to always breed the PURE bred Irish Draught!
Our registered stud prefix is 'PURE' and you will see this in front of the names of all our home-bred stock. Many people are of the mistaken impression that ‘quality and draught’ do not come in the same sentence- how wrong they are! We have learnt from studying this wonderful breed and from attending many shows in both Ireland and the UK that it IS possible to have both. One of our favourite books on the Irish Draught Horse is by Alex Fell and if you can find a copy I highly recommend it! In her book is this very old picture of a mare called Horna Honey(see top left) who would appear to us to be what we consider the elusive 'Perfect Draught' that we all aspire to. It is this image of a wonderful quality mare with superb bone and substance that stays with us and we will be aiming for this 'type' of horse in our future breeding. Our aim is to always buy quality and to always be aware that the Irish Draught is bred to do a variety of jobs, the very reason it is so versatile and sought after. There is little point in breeding ANY horse if the end result is not useful in some capacity and we will always aim to produce a horse that is bred firstly for soundness and capable at the very least of being a good allrounder for the leisure/riding club market. Of course we all dream of breeding that one 'special' horse that goes on to great success at top level and we can only hope that we are able one day to breed an animal of this quality. Therefore, they must not only have type, conformation and temperament but, most importantly to us, must have good ground covering movement and give a great ride. At the end of the day owning horses is about having the time of your life and there is no better feeling than giving your horse a good gallop- what fun can even the most beautiful horse give you if they are a nightmare to ride?!

RARE BLOODLINES
We have a particular interest in some of the rarer outcross lines and are fascinated(maybe a little obsessed!) with research into pedigrees and breeding. It is extremely important to maintain the genetic diversity of this wonderful breed and we have tried to find a variety of bloodlines with our mares and the stallions we use so that we have a wide gene pool to breed from. It is very important to us to find suitable stallions who complement the mare in type, are particularly strong where the mare is weak and also are not closely related- a task which is getting increasingly harder. Many problems of poor temperament and limb deformity have been attributed to the widespread practices of too much in-breeding. We all have our own idea of the ’Perfect Draught’ and it would of course be boring if we were all the same! We hope in time to increase this interest by standing our own pure bred RID stallion concentrating on a genetically important line to promote the breed.

THE IRISH DRAUGHT FOR SHOW, PERFORMANCE AND LEISURE
Whatever discipline you are looking to ride in: Showjumping, Eventing, Driving, Showing, ‘Happy Hacking’, or purely breeding then there is a Pure bred Irish Draught out there for you! Over 80% of the horse owing public are leisure riders wanting safe, sound, loveable horses to enjoy and this market has often been ignored. The beauty of the Irish Draught is that it will not only compete nationally and internationally with the best at top competitions but it will also be quite suitable for a novice to learn on, be sane and sensible out hunting and have enough presence and quality to compete at the highest level in the show ring. Add to this the most wonderful cheeky characters and loveable nature and ask yourself why would you buy anything else???

STRENGTH AND BONE- THE FOUNDATION BREED
We are very mindful of the fact that the Irish Draught is a foundation breed(NOT a sporthorse) and that once bone is lost it can take many generations to get it back and on many occasions has been sadly lost altogether. If we look at the 3 pics to the left of the famous mares Pink Carnation, Kiltowra Glee(dam of prolific show mare Roma Blue Wind) and Samantha(great, great grand dam of our own colt Ferdi) they are all true traditional draughts. Unfortunately they are also a 'type' of mare that we see less and less nowadays, the long, low heavy mare. We have a personal preference for the heavyweight with 10” of good quality, flat bone and a strong short cannon bone which indicates weight carrying ability. Where do we go for bone if our very foundation stock is too light to be crossed with the TB?? Having said all that, we would not discount something a little lighter if they were right in every other way. Sometimes a mare of slightly lighter bone, with good breeding can produce quality stock with good bone when put to the right stallion. We also believe that although the Draught is undoubtedly a strong 'foundation' breed that can be crossed successfully with the TB to produce excellent sporthorses that this must not be confused with a heavy ploddy 'cart horse' with no use in the modern day. In fact the original type of Irish Draught was a small, compact, true middleweight horse capable of doing many jobs whilst remaining sound and cheap to keep being very good do-ers. Clearly, not many owners of Draughts nowadays are farmers wanting a horse to plough their fields! We as owners and breeders must therefore be realistic in producing quality stock that will predominantly be used for riding(not for ploughing!) and this will inevitably lead to a slight change in the 'type' required by the market. There is a balance to be struck and we are confident we must always be commercial in what we are striving for whilst maintaining breed standard.

THE FUTURE OF THE STUD
We are totally committed to breeding the pure bred Irish Draught and are following a 'breeding up' programme from our 2 graded AID mares- half sisters from our foundation SID mare Ballina Lass. We have a long term breeding plan to ensure that type and movement are retained and from this we hope eventually to be able to breed our own stallion which is a long held dream of ours. We have been lucky to breed 4 quality foals so far all with great quality and movement and we hope with the acquisition of our rare bloodline colt Ferdi(shown as a foal to the left) we have some really exciting times to look forward to. We are very pleased with his first foal, our colt Monty(shown with his big sister Honey x Tobias Corbett). We have a very particular interest in some of the rarer Draught founders- the Woodranger line, Prince Henry line and Laughton line. Woodranger was all but lost to the breed until Timahoe Heather was discovered by Robin and Margaret Cook and stood for just one season at their Roma stud and amazingly produced 3 stallion sons from his last crop- Huntingfield Heathcliff, Huntingfield Proud Tim and Bridgeford Ferryman. We have done alot of research into this line and the quality of the horses produced from this blood with their reknowned jumping ability and superb temperaments is amazing. From our research it is clear that unlike many 'outcross' lines, which were seen as dying out because of poor quality or coarseness from imported cart horse blood, the Woodranger family actually suffered from having TOO MUCH quality! Many old breeders thought this line produced more of a 'half-bred' type of horse which were possibly too sharp for many farmers. Most colts were gelded as they were either superb workers or hunters and the line became more scarce as a result. Similarly the Prince Henry line was saved almost from extinction by the Suma stud in Ireland who stood the fabulous old Draught stallion Glenside in the hope of producing a successor to him- he is universally known as probably the best moving draught ever who astounded everyone with his amazing light action and passed this down through his line via his 2 sons Uibh Fhaili and Glenagyle Rebel. A small chestnut stallion at 16hh he had an incredibly short cannon bone which is something we are looking to re-create in our breeding programme and was said to be a 'proper' old fashioned type with 'pure' draught breeding all the way back in him. We have been lucky enough to buy Rebel Rose by his son Glenagyle Rebel and she is so similar in both her looks and colouring to Glenside, something which struck us very much when we first saw her(pictures of them both to the left). Laughton stock is known for alot of quality and producing superb jumpers and hunters with good temperaments. This line was known for its ability to correct many of the faults of mares particularly in their limbs and produces a very 'typey' Draught. Sadly Laughton stock is becoming more scarce especially in the UK, to a lesser degree in Ireland with only a handful of sons, many quite old now and with no male successor, on the register. We belive strongly in the importance of the mare in breeding, we are fortunate to have some lovely mares with fantastic bloodlines and are always in pursuit of that 'dream mare' who is to us perfection- we hope we will find that one day- our own Horna Honey or Pink Carnation- she is out there somewhere! Most important to us and to the future of our small stud, is the hope that our homebred stock will go on to be loved by their new owners and give many years of pleasure which is something we see as more important than anything else- once experienced the Irish Draught is never forgotten!

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