A sport horse isn’t a breed, and in fact I never came across the term until relatively recently – I mean 20 or 30 years ago.
Many of our sport horses come from Ireland, where they breed wonderful thoroughbreds too, of course. The Irish Sports Horse often has a lot of quality – here’s a photo of one.
But sport horses have become almost like a breed in the way they are described and people buy them, so maybe one day they will have their own classification.
To me a sports horse is one that is normally crossed somewhere with a Thoroughbred. It has to be athletic and often suitable for multiple disciplines. So it may become a showjumper or a dressage horse, or an eventer. But being suitable for multi-disciplines inevitably means that the horse will be a jack-of-all-trades to some extent. He may be good at a number of things, but he probably won’t excel in any one.
So you’d probably have to get a horse that is bred for jumping if you wanted to be a serious showjumper, for example. Or a horse bred for its movement and concentration if you want a top dressage horse.
These specialist horses are incredibly expensive of course, so most people buy a “sports horse” and try to turn it into a super horse by good training. Sometimes it pays off.
This lovely coloured sports horse looks suitable for a number of disciplines. Coloured horses, piebalds as we used to call them and pintos as they call them in America, are becoming more and more popular. That was certainly helped by the Queen’s lovely stallion Mars, who sired some top horses.