The Emerald Isle

The Irish and Their Horses “The grace of God is found between the saddle and the ground.” —Irish saying T he internal combustion engine may long since have seen off the horse as a main means of transport in Ireland, as everywhere else, but in Ireland, particularly, the horse remains an essential pre-occupation of Irish life and society. The reasons are partly historical and partly a natural phenomenon. Stone Age farmers are thought to have been the first to introduce the horse to Ireland about 4,000 years ago, while Celtic invaders introduced horse-drawn chariots much later on. At the end of the 16th century, Spanish Arabian horses, washed ashore from the ships of the Armada wrecked on Ireland’s western coasts, are thought to have interbred with 142

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