Hi all. I've been shopping around for a horse (some of you might recognize my name), and I kind of waffle between stock horses and drafts. The first horse I ever rode was a giant Percheron and I remember how kind he was... but the sheer size intimidates me beyond belief.
I'm a nervous person by nature, but I tend to relax into a situation quite quickly. I've done some reading on draft horses and I think their calm demeanor could strike a nice balance for my anxiety and help me build confidence again. However, I'm still a bit iffy about the size. I'm 5'4 and barely 100 pounds. Is there a draft breed that stays kind of smaller, but retains the beloved draft temperament?
I was looking at Gypsy cobs and Haflingers, but unfortunately... both are rather uncommon in Alberta. I found one breeder just outside of Edmonton who breeds Gypsy horses and I've sent an email off to them, but I figured I'd ask here as well.
What breed would you recommend? Is there a smaller draft breed for me? Maybe there are ways to work through my anxiety about the massive size so I can widen my horizons to Shires and Belgiums? I've read to stay away from Percherons because they can get a little hot and I don't want to scare myself even more.
My use for this horse: a barefoot pasture buddy that I could hop on bareback and take around the trails. I'd prefer a mare, but I'm not opposed to geldings. Color doesn't matter, but I'm a sucker for long, thick forelocks and big friendly faces. White on the face and legs is a HUGE bonus.
Ideally, I'd like to stay somewhere in the realm of 15hh, but I think that's rather impossible for most drafts. Help!