South African Irish Sport Horses


As known South African Horse Breeds the Irish Draught and Irish Sport Horses are fairly young. In Europe (particularly Ireland) where the breeds originated, they are recognised as one of the Global Horse Breed Leaders in the Equestrian Disciplines of Hunting, Eventing, Dressage, Show Jumping and Driving with riders and drivers competing at the highest levels throughout Europe and America.

When considering horses as an investment with the possibility of owning a future “star” in its required job, there are two aspects to consider: One, the Genotype (in other words the breeding lines and genetics of the horse) and Two, the Phenotype (the performance aspects, its conformation and its ability to do its required job in terms of stability of temperament, athleticism, rhythm and comfort of paces, obedience, manners and looks).

The Irish Horses (traditionally bred with Thoroughbred and Irish Draught breeding lines) and Irish Sport Horses (Irish Draught bred to Warmblood, Thoroughbred, Arab or Connemara breeding lines) encompass all of these qualities.

In South Africa a handful of Stud owners had the vision to see that such horses could be effectively integrated into the Sport-Horse market, subsequently importing the breed’s SA foundation stallions. These were Kilshane Farms, Kilshane Clover – Irish Sport Horse (Cape), Kinvara Stud – Irish Draughts (Gauteng) Etherow Impasse and Glenagyle Rebel (now deceased) and Ethagyle Casilean (EC) Stud (Northern Cape) with Irish Draught Silver Pride. Unfortunately, a number of imported horses (particularly mares) have been “lost” due to owners not transferring ownership through the host Registering Authority in SA the SA Warmblood Horse Society.


The stallions mentioned above are/were all sons of prestigious stallions known throughout the world, Touch of the Blues, Clover Hill and Glenside form the foundation of the progeny of the breed we see today - competing very successfully in SA Show Jumping, Eventing and other multi-discipline and SANESA competitions (particularly in the Cape).

At the Horse of the Year 2016, progeny of two of these foundation stallions, Etherow Impasse and Glenagyle Rebel were present, some to the third and fourth generations.

Stalwart HOY Irish Horses entrant, Louise Oliver (Gauteng) with her SA bred Etherow Impasse line stallion Myrddin was well-represented in the in-hand and ridden classes and in his progeny group showed three generations of traditionally bred Irish Sport Horse progeny as well as winning the stallion Championship himself. Half-sister to the SA Eventing World Equestrian Games ISH representative Quantum Leap and frst generation progeny of Glenagyle Rebel was EC Brebilene, a true-to-type grey ISH (Irish Draught x Thoroughbred) owned by D Trisos and shown by Lee-Anne Trisos. From Bloemfontein, it was Lee-Anne’s frst visit to the Horse of the Year, going home with several Championship accolades including her sponsored potential Broodmare Championship Shield.

Calronins Escape the Blues (a fne example of a Heavyweight Hunter) was the Working Riding Champion, ridden and owned by Emma Screen and Sam Davies’ Rebel Phoenix ridden by Claire Martin gave a very good account in the Working Hunter and Working Riding classes. Adam Moses and Georgina Roberts were the Judges of the Classes.

During the next year our goal is to develop awareness of these Breeds. For more information, please become a member of our network Group on Facebook “SA Irish Horse Club” or contact Louise Oliver cell: 0824783634 (Gauteng region), Zena Penfold cell: 0836161094 (Free State region) or Linda Squair cell: 0834767292 (Cape region). We hope eventually to have representatives in every region as part of our communication network.