The mighty Irish Draught Horse! We are celebrating them as our January Breed of the Month on #YourDressage!
Dressage riders who choose Irish Draughts as their mounts are eligible for special awards through the Adequan®/USDF All-Breeds Awards program, as the Irish Draught Horse Society of North America is a participating organization.
Here, a rider in Region 1 shares about choosing an Irish Draught stallion to cross with her Thoroughbred mare, and why she decided to breed back for a full sibling.
By Kerry Lammerding
Growing up, my mentor always was breeding lovely horses for herself, and it was something I had always wanted to do – but wasn’t sure where to start. After selling a mare that I had spent some years producing and competing, followed by having a few years of bad luck with horses, I took a gamble. I knew I wanted to breed something with a good mind, good feet, and all-around good personality and conformation, something with not huge, exaggerated movement (Hello back injury from my younger days!)
I spent hours and days looking at stallions that would better my mare Midnight Passion, a lovely Jockey Club registered dark bay Thoroughbred. I chose the ever-handsome Class 1 RID, Gemstone Clover. Irish Draught Horses, while becoming more popular in the eventing world, don’t have a huge following in dressage, which is ultimately where my heart lies.
I contacted Gemstone Clover “Tucci’s” owner, Amy McNair, who was wonderful to work with and is a huge ambassador for the breed, and as COVID started in 2020, I bred my mare via artificial insemination to Tucci. She was confirmed in foal 14 days later, and then the long wait started. She had a textbook pregnancy. On April 26th, 2021, she foaled out a beautiful filly.
From the moment she was born, Julip (RIDSH Whiskey at Midnight) has been nothing but everything I could have dreamed of. A nicely put together, brave, sweet horse. She impressed me so much that a short 6 weeks later, I decided another Irish Sport Horse was needed, and bred back to Tucci for a full sibling. On May 10th of 2022, Julip’s full brother made an entrance and has proved to be just as wonderful. My original plan was to sell Finn (RIDSH Irish Cider Eclipse) but after watching him grow and making his sales video, I decided to keep him.
I spent 2021 showing Julip in the yearling in-hand classes in hunter breeding and dressage breeding classes. She has traveled up and down the East Coast and has proven so far to be exactly what I needed. Easy to handle away from home and curious in the ring without being silly.
I will continue showing her in the 2-year-old classes this coming year, and am excited to represent the breed with Finn, too, in the yearling classes. While in both hunter breeding and dressage breeding classes, Irish Draughts aren’t big contenders, it’s always nice to go out with horses who are good examples of the breed, and I am excited to share them both as they mature and will eventually go on to ridden careers. This year, I have also decided to take them to the Future Event Horse series, and just prove that this breed can certainly play in all fields.
My 9-year-old daughter and Julip have such a special bond that I’m hoping to watch them grow and compete together when they are both older and have more experience. Just another feather in the breed’s cap with having a quiet mind and easy to handle personality.
Both youngsters have proven to me that choosing a stud with a solid mind, good conformation, and feet really does go a long way. They are a true representation of the breed, both are easy going, adaptable, and kind. They both have good bone and incredible feet with a strong back and hindquarters.
I’m looking forward to seeing the breed continue to grow and flourish more in the United States.