Just as you don’t have to be Irish to enjoy a Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day, there’s a fair amount of Irish cultural appropriation inherent in the naming of event horses. In fact, over 350 eventers registered in the USEA horse database have the word “Irish” in their name, maybe or maybe not also possessing the Irish blood to match.
Of course, there are plenty of Irish breeds in the mix: I counted 84 Irish Sport Horses, 42 Connemaras, 21 Irish Draughts and three Irish Hunters.
The Thoroughbreds, of which there are several dozen, get a pass as well as Irish racing lines aren’t uncommon on this side of the pond.
But a few of breeds listed… well… the Irish moniker might be a reach. Among them: a Pony of the Americas named Bailey Irish Creme, the Selle Français Irishman De Losgue, American Warmblood Irish Banshee, Saddlebreds Irish’s Sparkling Rose and Captain’s Irish Ladd, Mustangs Irish Joker, Irish Melody and Lucky Irish, and several breeds with a country-other-than-Ireland in their name (examples: the Hungarian Warmblood named Kiss Me I’m Irish, the Dutch Harness Horse named Irish Symphony, etc.)
But hey, Irish is a state of mind, right? And it’s a spectrum as well, with some horses wearing their homeland on their sleeve (Totally Irish and Shamelessly Irish) and others admitting a less direct connection (Something Irish, Stonybrook Mostly Irish, Touch of Irish, Irish By Proxy).
The most popular “Irish” name in the book is, simply, straight-up Irish. Sixteen horses in the USEA horse database are registered by that name.
Irish drinking references aren’t far behind, with 10 horses registered as Bailey’s Irish Cream or some spelling variation thereof, plus another three named Irish Cream and four named Bailey’s Irish Dream.
Killian’s Irish Red is the namesake of eight horses, with Irish Red claiming another four.
Others inspired by alcohol: Irish Stout (three including one very cleverly named Percheron!), Irish Whisky (two), Irish Brew (two), PL Irish Kahlua, Irish Bouncer and Irish Pub.
Additional favorites include Luck of the Irish (10), Kiss Me I’m Irish (seven), Irish Lad and Irish Jig (five apiece), and Irish Rose (four apiece).
My top picks: Irish You Well, because I can’t resist a good pun; Tall, Dark and Irish for sex appeal; and Irish Elvis — um, what?!
Are you the owner of an Irish or “Irish” horse? Send them our St. Paddy’s Day regards and post their photo in the comments section below!
In case you missed them, check out these previous editions of Event Horse Names: Authors, Books & Characters, Battle of the Booze, The Empire Business, Monster Trucks, Celebrities, Snow, Fourth of July, Christmas and What’s For Breakfast?