Twelve qualifying shows will take place between March and June 2024 for the new British Horse Feeds Irish Draught Horse Society (IDHS) (GB) Ridden Championship Series, culminating in the final which is to be held at the Agria Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead on 27th July 2024.

Aimed at promoting and highlighting the breed, BHF and IDHS (GB) have combined to secure sponsorship for the series across three years, which provides a fantastic opportunity for purebred Irish Draughts (ID), Irish Draught Sport Horses (IDSH) (minimum 25% ID) and their riders to qualify for the prestigious Agria Royal International Horse Show.

Irish Draught is within the breeding of horses across a multitude of different disciplines, from grassroots to the very top of equestrian sport. At Horse of The Year Show 2023, 31 pure bred IDs competed, with 150 Irish Sport Horses in disciplines including showjumping, Working Hunter, and Hunter classes across the weights. Notably, there were two pure bred and one ISH in the Supreme In-Hand Championship which is very good for the endorsement and awareness of the breed.

Irish Draught Horse Society (GB) Show Director Jane Imbush comments, “It is clear that the Irish Draught Horse is a breed that has undeniably had a substantial influence in shaping equine sports. It is hard to believe that the breed has recently grappled with the possibility of becoming endangered, primarily because of crossbreeding and undue strain on its foundation stock, threatening its genetic diversity. This concern is most definitely at the forefront of this Championship series.”

Branca Gebbie, Business and Trade Manager for British Horse Feeds adds, “We have extended the series to also include an Irish Draught Sport Horse class as we believe that this promotes to a wider audience whilst underlining the urgency of preserving the true essence of the Irish Draught breed, through the Pure-Bred class, an objective to which British Horse Feeds is committed to throughout this series sponsorship and collaboration.”

Simon Gaskin, Sponsorship and Marketing Manager at Hickstead says, “We are delighted to be involved in this series and to host the final at the Agria Royal International Horse Show. It is extremely important to safeguard the Irish Draught’s longevity and the inclusion of Irish Draught categories in the Royal International is in perfect harmony with our shared dedication to preserving and elevating this extraordinary breed.”

Find out more about the twelve qualifiers here.