, ,

Encouraging breeders to think TIH and breed TIH

We are delighted that The Irish Field are featuring some of the highlights from Mary Molloy's extensive research into the performance of TIH bloodlines in the WBFSH rankings.

, ,

Research: Influence of TIH bloodlines in high performance shown

We are delighted that The Irish Field are featuring some of the highlights from Mary Molloy's extensive research into the performance of TIH bloodlines in the WBFSH rankings.

Take a look at Part One here.

Breed a Traditional Irish Horse


The Traditional Irish Horse Association are seeking expressions of interest from the owners of traditional Irish mares who are willing to breed these mares traditionally in 2018.
These mares should have competed successfully to
• 1.40m plus show jumping or have progeny who has done so.
• 3* level eventing or have progeny who has done so.

Please forward Mare details to
Phone David 087 7118029
Before April 13th 2018

We also ask the owners of well-bred Traditional Irish Colts (one to three years of age) with Stallion potential to contact us with their details.

These Colts should be from strong performance families.
Please forward Colt details to
Phone David 087 7118029
Before April 13th 2018


Photo credit Noelle Floyd


TIHA Hunter Show and Go 2016 – Note to Vendors

The Traditional Irish Hunter Show & Go Sale, Tuesday 20th. Sept.  2016

Dear All,

We are delighted to welcome you to our T.I.H.A. Hunter Show & Go Auction.

Please note the following:

  1. It is advised that all horses be on site in Scarteen before 9.30am on Tuesday 20th. Sept.
  2. On arrival , owners must report to the office with (a) Horses Passport     (b) Veterinary  Certificate – without both of these documents horses cannot be included in the auction
  3. Owners will then receive two numbers – One for their animal and the second to be placed on the front inside window of their vehicle – so that potential customers will be able to identify & view your animal
  4. Horses need to be turned out to a high standard .
  1. Riders are advised to wear full hunting gear
  2. If you have not paid your entry fee of €100 per horse on line please do so immediately - if preferred payment may be made by cheque  (Cheques made  payable to T.I.H.A. North Munster Branch)  .
  3. Entry fees for all horses entered in the catalogue must be paid up in full.
  4. As your horse has been selected for the Sale, under NO circumstances can he/she be sold prior to the sale, anyone in breach of this ruling will not be accepted in any future T.I.H.A. Sales.
  5. It is hoped to have the first horse on the track at 10.30am. Horses will run in STRICT numerical  order  for the jumping phase and the Auction  - no exceptions!

T.I.H.A.  have  put  a considerable amount of time and effort into this initiative and we look forward to your co-operation on the day.

On behalf of T.I.H.A. we would like to wish you every success and thank you for supporting our sale.


TIHA Development Programme for the TIH


Click to Download (PDF)


Click to Download (PDF)














The Traditional Irish Horse Association (TIHA) was established in 2012 by a group of breeders and producers who were concerned at;

(A) The fall in the number of Traditional Irish Horses (TIH) being bred.

(B)The fall in the percentage of coverings by thoroughbred sires in Irish sport horse breeding to an all-time low of 12%.

(C) The loss of foreign buyers who were no longer able to fill orders for Traditional Irish Horses in Ireland.

(D) The failure by HSI to identify qualifying horses as Traditional Irish Horses in their passports or in the Irish Sport Horse studbook.

Following a series of nationwide meetings and 3 years voluntary work by our committee, over 600 members have joined our association and are working to conserve and develop the Traditional Irish Horse (TIH).

Our current officers are Chairman Hugh Leonard, Vice-Chairman Chris Ryan, Secretary Joan Bateman and Treasurer Jim Cooke. Our national committee is comprised of elected members from every region in Ireland.

The Traditional Irish Horse (TIH) is a unique combination of up to 3 breeds, the Irish Draught, the Connemara Pony (2 unique native breeds) and the Thoroughbred. All 3 breeds have strong links to the Irish Hobby, a long extinct ancient Irish Breed. Genetic research (Hill and Bower 2010) has shown that the breeds most closely related to the Thoroughbred are the Irish Draught and the Connemara. The Traditional Irish Horse (originally known as the Irish Hunter) was fully established as a sport horse breed centuries before most of its continental counterparts and was used as a breed improver for many of these breeds (for further information see “The enduring success of the Irish Sport Horse” by Kathleen Kirsan on Irish Horse Gateway). The Irish Hunter was later named the Irish Sport Horse and this breed gained worldwide fame in showjumping and eventing throughout the 20th century. The Strategic Plan (2015) for the Irish Sport Horse Industry, “Reaching New Heights” refers to the Golden Age of Irish breeding (1920’s to 1960’s) and states that “in the 1960’s and 70’s Ireland produced the best showjumpers in the world”. At that time our Irish Sport Horse Breed WAS the Traditional Irish Horse-nothing else.

The present Traditional Irish Horse (TIH) population is as much a breed now as the entire Irish Sport Horse population was up to 1989 when the first warmblood crosses were introduced; the fact that horses of practically all breeds and crosses of all types are now included under the ISH breed code does not alter the genetic uniqueness of the TIH or its entitlement to be conserved and developed as a separate entity. Managing the TIH as a breed rather than leaving its future to chance is essential both for its survival and for the successful development of the Irish sport horse industry. The establishment of a development programme for the TIH is a key recommendation of the 2015 Strategic Plan for the sport horse industry, “Reaching New Heights.”

TIHA achievements to date;

  1. Identification; All horses with 3 successive generations of recorded Irish traditional pedigree are now separately identified as Traditional Irish Horses ISH(TIH) in the Irish Sport Horse studbook and given the designation ISH(TIH). It is hoped that our proposed genetic research project will lead to the development of a test which will allow a horse to be identified as ISH(TIH) or not by its DNA.
  2. Passports; All foals registered in the ISH studbook from 2014 which have 3 recorded generations of traditional Irish pedigree are automatically classified as Traditional Irish Horses ISH(TIH) and have this fact stamped on their passports. Owners of older Traditional Irish Horses can have their passports updated by contacting HSI.
  3. Recognition by HSI; In 2015 the Traditional Irish Horse Committee was established by HSI as a sub-committee of the Breeding Sub-Board. This committee is comprised of 3 members of the HSI Breeding Sub-Board and 3 members of the TIHA national committee.
  4. Development Programmes; In 2015 TIHA produced breeding development plans for TIH eventers and showjumpers which address the current challenges facing TIH breeders. These plans, fully costed and aligned with the Strategic Plan, were presented to the Traditional Irish Horse Committee who approved them and forwarded them to the Sub-Breeding Board. We are awaiting HSI funding to implement these proposals. For details see tiha.ie
  5. Promotion; TIHA has introduced several initiatives to promote the TIH. These include the annual Festival of Traditional Irish Breeding featuring a €4,500 Hunter Equitation Class, the Hunter Show and Go, TIH presentations at the RDS and Tattersalls and a TIH stand at Peterborough Show, England. The Hunter Show and Go, now in its’ third year has generated over €700,000 of trade to date. The TIHA Facebook page has over 5,500 followers.

Current Situation

  1. Research ; TIHA have proposed a much needed genetic research project on the TIH, in association with the Irish Draught Horse Breeders Association and the Midland Connemara Pony Breeders. The eminent UCD research scientist Dr Emmeline Hill will carry out this project which will provide valuable information on the origins and genetics of the TIH and complement the knowledge provided by her ground-breaking research on the thoroughbred. We await funding from HSI to carry out this important project.
  2. Foals; The number of TIH foals being bred has dropped to an all-time low of approximately 500 per year. Not only will this lead to a shortage of horses to fill our existing markets but the first cross of warmblood/TIH will also become scarce if this pattern continues. Rich Fellers, rider of Flexible, flagged both of these issues recently, stating that he hasn’t come to Ireland to buy horses in several years because he could no longer find what he wanted; the Traditional Irish horse. How many such buyers have we lost and how much has it cost us in trade?
  3. Mares; The TIH mare-herd is now in a perilous state following decades of neglect by successive governing bodies. Many of our top marelines have no traditional animal left and are lost forever to traditional breeding. Many of our best remaining marelines are related and our reduced pool of top class animals is lacking in genetic diversity. HSI have so far failed to produce the full facts on this situation despite having control of the database for several years. TIHA welcomes the RDS initiative to research the marelines and produce Thoroughbred-style pedigrees for the Irish Sport Horse sector.
  4. Stallions; There are only 5 approved Traditional Irish Sport Horse ISH(TIH) stallions under 20 years of age. There are NO approved proven traditional showjumping stallions that are not closely related to Cruising and/or Clover Hill. Therefore owners of showjumping mares which are related to Cruising and/or Clover Hill have no traditional stallion options. This situation is leading to a further loss of traditional marelines and is compromising our ability to produce top level traditional showjumpers.
  5. Showjumping; We have a few successful showjumping stallion performers including Flexible, Oldtown KC and Ardcolum Duke. We also have some very good mares. As already mentioned, there is a serious lack of genetic diversity among our best remaining stock. Without immediate funding for the TIHA breeding programmes the TIH will soon cease to be a force in top-level showjumping.
  6. Eventing; Irelands position as the worlds leading producer of top eventers over the last 20 years is largely due to the TIH. Recent outstanding TIH’s are Lenamore, Mr Medicott, High Kingdom, Bay My Hero, Kilronan etc. and currently Cambalda and Master Frisky are 1st and 4th respectively in the world rankings. In the USA, McKinlaigh(TIH) has been inducted into the Eventing Hall Of Fame. Only 11 horses in total have received this honour and 8 of them are TIH! Although Irish eventers have almost exclusively topped the world rankings since their inception the failure of HSI to identify and evaluate our top eventing marelines and provide eventing EBV’s for mares and stallions shows the narrowness of its’ focus, with funding and research being mainly concentrated on showjumping. TIHA believes the development of a coherent strategy for eventing is essential to ensure that we retain our position as the world leader in eventing and the world’s best source of eventers.
  7. Amateur Horses/Hunters/Leisure Horses; This sector, which accounts for 80% of the market and €560 million per annum has been badly neglected, misunderstood and underfunded by successive governing bodies. This is the sector where most of the horses intended for top level showjumping and eventing are eventually sold, along with the horses specifically bred for this market. The unique traits of the TIH, intelligence, trainability, genuineness, soundness and longevity make it more suitable for this market than many of its warmblood counterparts. The TIHA Show and Go Hunter sale is now firmly established and along with filling our traditional markets TIH Hunters are now being exported on an ongoing basis-to Holland, the heartland of KWPN!
  8. Stallion Inspections; TIHA believes that rigorous stallion inspections are an essential part of breeding policy. The sudden suspension of 2016 stallion inspections without having an alternative in place does not engender confidence in the governance of the sport horse sector. TIHA wants to ensure that the current hiatus or future approval criteria do not allow inferior stallions to gain approval. Now more than ever, soundness, quality, pedigree and performance are required and stallions need a more rigorous selection process than any other sector because of their potential effect on the studbook. All the top sport horse studbooks we have been encouraged to emulate have comprehensive stallion selection processes, many of which are more rigorous than the current HSI system.
  9. TIHA proposes that as well as having to meet strict veterinary and X-ray requirements stallions should be assessed in hand for conformation and movement AND assessed loose for athleticism. Otherwise badly conformed stallions and/or stallions which lack the necessary movement and athleticism could become approved for showjumper, eventer and leisure horse breeding.
    We advocate a system that is tailored to the needs of each discipline and the attributes of each breed/type.
    TIHA has also proposed that as TB and ISH(TIH) stallions are mainly used by traditional breeders, 2 of the 3 inspectors involved in inspecting these stallions should be suitably qualified TIHA inspectors.
    The issue of unnecessary wastage of money on inspections can be addressed by a cost-effective system which concentrates on the essentials of the stallion inspection process rather than on putting on a show.
  10. HSI; While HSI has recognised the TIHA and established a TIH sub-committee in 2015 it has yet to provide any meaningful funding for the TIH from its €1.8m budget. Without funding none of the TIHA breeding policies can be implemented. We need to start work on these policies before the 2016 breeding season starts so immediate allocation of meaningful funding is essential.
  11. Irish Horse Board; The IHB members on the TIH sub-committee, Neil Henry, Barbara Hatton and David McCann have worked diligently on behalf of traditional breeders.
  12. Strategic Plan Implementation; TIHA welcome Minister Coveneys’ provision of funding for the review of the Irish Sport Horse industry and the development of the Strategic Plan,” Reaching New Heights”. TIHA made a detailed submission towards the Plan and some of its proposals are included in it. TIHA respectfully suggests that it be included in the Strategic Plan Implementation Committee and is willing to co-operate with all stakeholders to implement this plan for the betterment of the industry as a whole.


The commitment of Irish breeders and the work of TIHA will ensure that the Traditional Irish Horse (TIH) is conserved and developed, contributing further Irish successes in equine sports and giving pleasure to countless leisure riders. Funding is urgently required to implement TIHA’s breeding plans which are essential for the conservation and development of the TIH.

The unique selling points (USP’s) of Irish Sport Horses are contributed by their traditional genetics and without the Traditional Irish Horse (TIH) there is nothing about the Irish Sport Horse that is unique. Therefore we must work together to conserve and develop the TIH for the benefit of breeders ,producers , customers, riders and the Irish Sport Horse industry.

TIHA National Committee

A note from Noel Mullins: The Irish Hunter

The Irish HunterPress Release

Noel Mullins’ New Book - The Irish Hunter

Click Here to watch IrishHorseTV video from the book launch!

Photo Journalist and author Noel Mullins’ latest book ‘The Irish Hunter’ a tribute to the Irish Hunter is a hardback cover book with a full colour compilation of over 500 photos with more than 200 images of this unique horse crossing the Irish countryside. Its exceptional ability and its reputation for having that mysterious 5th leg is clearly demonstrated jumping cross country fences such as stone walls, double banks, ditches, hedges, streams, off roads, onto roads, and even man made fences such as wire, gates, pallets, concrete railings, and even a church pew and a bed post that one occasionally comes across hunting in the Irish countryside!

In addition to images from the hunting field, it also contains images from cross country events such as the Ward Antler Challenge, Athlacca/Dromin Charity Cross Country Run, the Ballymacad Hunting Extravaganza, Hunt Chase, Hunter Trials, and Eventing. Added to that are images from National Hunt Point to Point racing that has its origins in steeplechasing in Ireland, Side Saddle, Irish Hunters overseas in the USA, UK, Germany, Italy, France and the Czech Republic, as well as the Champion Hunters at the Dublin Horse Show, and the Clifden Connemara Pony Show.

The book also looks in an informative way at the origins of the horse in Ireland, and particularly breeds such as the Irish Draught Horse, the Connemara Pony, and the Thoroughbred that when crossed in breeding produce the Irish Hunter.

To Order – On line – www.noelmullins.com

Contact – email – noelmullins@hotmail.com

Other Books by Noel Mullins, ‘Horse Tales & Hunt Talk’, and’ The Origins of Irish Horse Fairs & Horse Sales’.

Press Release

15th November 2015

Lady Hemphill RIP

Lady Hemphill was a founder member of the Hunter Improvement Society, the forerunner to the Traditional Irish Horse Association (TIHA) and was the first President of the T.I.H.A.
Lady Hemphill fought tirelessly for the recognition of traditional Irish breeding at all levels .Her knowledge and expertise were unequalled. At every available opportunity she sang the praises of traditionally bred horses which was not always a popular stance to take, but her love of hunting and her expertice as an accomplished Judge ensured that her opinion was well respected and sought after.
She was an inspirational and carasmatic character whose passion for Irish horses was infectious. When one hears the name " Lady Hemphill " one instantly thinks of her beautiful Connemara ponies and stallions, her contribution to the industry has been outstanding .

But, most of all she was a wonderful loyal friend who will be hugely missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.

The T.I.H.A. has lost a great ambassador and a wonderful friend.

Our deepest sympathy to her family .

May she rest in peace.


Have you heard of the Tellus survey? It may be relevant to you.
Conducted by the Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and funded by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, the Tellus survey will be collecting the latest geochemical and geophysical data on rocks, soil and water across Ireland this summer.

The survey, due to commence on the 11th June 2015, involes an aircraft flying at a low height over counties Meath, rural Dublin, Kildare, Offaly and parts of Laois and Wicklow. An on the ground team will also be conducting a soil and steam survey , starting in counties Mayo and Galway.

The aircraft will fly at a low level of 60m over rural areas (approximately eight times the height of a standard two storey house), rising to 240m over urban areas. The sound of the plane is similar to that of a passing lorry, however it may startle sensitive animals, particularly horses or pedigree cattle.

As it is vital to raise public awareness of the project, particularly amongst local communities, equine organisations, farmers and animal owners, the Tellus team has been delivering an ongoing communications campaign in the region, which includes full details of survey operations.

If you have any concerns about the survey, particularly if you own sensitive livestock, or if you are interested in finding out more about the project, you can contact the Tellus Freephone information line on 1800 303 516 or visit Tellus

Uskerty Diamond Lady wins at Mullingar International!

Congratulations to Francis Connors and the connections of Uskerty Diamond Lady on their win of the €10,000 Devenish Nutrition Bet Showjumping Live class at Mullingar International Horse Show last weekend.

Uskerty Diamond Lady


Tattersalls TIHA Display

Come and see a display of the versatility of Traditional Bred Irish Horses and Ponies at Tattersalls International Horse Trials, Ratoath, Co. Meath this Saturday 30th May in the Main Arena at 1.30PM - together with an item of particular interest - a clone of the legendary Cruising!