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Irish Hobby

The Irish Hobby is an extinct breed of horse native to the British Isles that developed prior to the 13th Century.[1] The breed provided foundation bloodlines for several modern horse breeds, including breeds as diverse as the Connemara pony and the Irish Draught.[2] Mares of Irish Hobby breeding may have been among the native horse breeds of the British Isles that provided foundation stock for the Thoroughbred. There is ample evidence that the Irish Hobby was imported into and used in England and Scotland for various activities, including racing, "...they be so light and swift." [1]

This quick and agile horse was also popular for skirmishing, and was often ridden by light cavalry known as Hobelars. Hobbies were used successfully by both sides during the Wars of Scottish Independence, with Edward I of England trying to gain advantage by preventing Irish exports of the horses to Scotland. Robert Bruce employed the hobby for his guerilla warfare and mounted raids, covering 60 to 70 miles (97 to 110 km) a day.[3]

The breed is the origin of the term hobby horse.


See also

  • A bit too far:Ireland's Transylvanian link in the Later Iron Age (article concerning an Irish-Dacian horsebit c. 1st/2nd-century AD), Barry Raftery, in Seanchas:Studies in Early and Medieval Irish Archaeology, History and Literature in Honour of Francis John Byrne, ed. Alfred P. Smyth, pp.1 -11. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2000.


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