The Irish Draught Horse Society (GB) is introducing a new affiliated show jumping series for pure- and part-bred Irish Draught horses to commemorate its silver jubilee.
The 2004 Irish Draught Show Jumping Challenge has a prize fund of £1,500, with the horse who wins the most prize-money between 1 April and 30 November 2004 receiving £1,000. The runner-up will be awarded £500. Both prizes will be awarded at the 2005 BSJA Annual Awards Ball.
The series is open to Grade C horses with at least 25% Irish Draught breeding and costs £20 to enter. All horses taking part must have their entry fee paid before the series begins on 1 April.
IDHS (GB) council member, Vicky Mathews explains the aims of the series: “The Irish Draught breed is well known for its jumping ability and many top showjumpers have Irish Draught bloodlines. This new challenge aims to promote the breed by highlighting its strengths, which also include a tough and couragous temperament, making it an ideal sports horse.
“The series will initially be open to grade C horse, but if it proves popular it may be extended to include Grade A and B horses in the future.”
Vicky is concerned that while a lot of people own Irish horses, many have been purchased without breeding papers, which means even though a horse may clearly have Irish Draught blood, it will not be eligible for the series.
“Unfortunately horses exported from Ireland without papers will not be eligible for the series, although with the introduction of passports this will hopefully become a thing of the past,” she says.
The IDHS (GB) is also running a showing series for hunters with Irish Draught bloodlines as part of its silver jubilee celebrations, which aim to raise awareness of the breed.
“I would love to see greater recognition of Irish Draught breeding in sports horses,” concludes Vicky. “In the racing world commentators regularly talk about the breeding of winning horses, but, it rarely happens in other horse sports. It would certainly be a step forward if this became common place.”
Application forms for the series are available from IDHS (GB), PO Box 1869, Salisbury, Wilts, SP3 5XA (tel: 01722 714970) or visit: www.irishdraughthorsesociety.com