RDS Dublin Horse Show 2017 - Irish Draught Stallions

Cappa Aristocrat
With five horses, I don't really get to take many holidays but Dublin Horse Show week is my week. Just a week for me, no work, no pressure. Just a week of walking, talking, shopping and watching loads of showing classes. I love it!

It's no surprise that one of my favourite classes is the Irish Draught Stallion class. It's the only chance I get to see all of Irelands best Irish Draught stallions, in one ring at the same time. I can compare their confirmations, behaviour and movement all against each other and in my head pick out who Liath would like to be crossed with next. 

I make sure I have a front row seat for the parade on Thursday and the judging class on Friday. You gotta be there early as it gets really crowded and busy, which is brilliant! It's so good to see the Irish Draughts getting so popular again and getting the recognition they deserve. 

This year they had 12 Irish Draughts in the class, a true mixture of former winners and also newly approved stallions. A few years ago many of the draught stallions getting approved were very light and almost indistinguishable from sport horse stallions so it's lovely to see the draughts returning to their original, chunkier type. 

I always like seeing Gortfree Hero and Cappa Casanova in the ring. I think they are both perfect examples of Irish Draughts. Both are proven showjumpers, show horses and have fantastic movement, yet are quite different, and able to cater to different types of mares.

Another entry from Cappa Stud is Milhollow Stroller, who just reminds me so much of the old style Irish Draught. He's small (at 158cms), but has fantastic movement. He really fills the gap in the market for smaller Irish Draughts but who still meet the breed standard of a draught. Most chunky stallions around this size tend to be very cobby and cannot move particularly well. I expect this horse to produce some lovely small hunters!

A slight blip at the stallion parade on Thursday resulted in Cappa Aristocrat slipping from his bridle and having a run around the ring. I must mention that all the other stallions behaved impeccably while this was happening, and full credit to Aristocrat, who, rather than trying to get near the other stallions, seemed fairly happy to just be able to stretch his legs and have a runaround. The run did him good and he was placed first in the class on Friday.

This year features newly two approved Stallions, Cappa Dianthus and Barnaview Grosvenors Star. It's so exciting to see the future of breeding and Irish Draughts. Unfortunately, the latter had to withdraw from the show.

Carabawn Cross was back to defend his title, and he really had his work cut out for him. The standard was incredibly high and the competition was fierce. Every year I enter the public judging competition and I never get it right. It's so hard to know who should place in the top three, or what the judge is looking for. I'm still clinging on to the dream that someday I'll have my own home produced horse in the ring, until then I'll just sit back and enjoy watching. 


  • 1st Cappa Aristocrat (Cappa Stud)
  • 2nd Cappa Dianthus (Cappa Stud)  
  • 3rd Gortfree Hero (Sean Barker)  
  • 4th Killountain Cross (Charles Dullea)  
  • 5th Cloneyhea Spellbound (Seamus Sloyan)  
  • 6th Killinick Bouncer (Ann Lambert)  
  • 7th Millhollow Stroller (Cappa Stud)  
  • 8th Moylough Legacy (Patrick Hoare)  
  • 9th Carrabawn Cross (P. J. Fitzpatrick)  
  • 10th Cappa Cassanova (Cappa Stud)  
  • Reserve Cappa Amadeus (Cappa Stud)

(All images are copyright)

Gortfree Hero

Cappa Casanova

Cappa Aristocrat

Cappa Amadeus

Cappa Dianthus

Millhollow Stroller

Killountain Cross

Carrabawn Cross

Moylough Legacy

Cloneyhea Spellbound

Killinick Bouncer

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