draft cross - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-08-2009, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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draft cross

When looking for a draft/TB cross, is it more desirable for the dam to be the heavy or light horse? I ask because I had a beautiful Shire/TB mare for 10 years. Unfortunately, she had bad hind end problems which caused pain and affected her gait, especially at the canter. She was 16.2 and 1500 lbs. Very well bred. Her dam was a small TB. I spent $5000 to have her problem diagnosed and had about every test imaginable done. No one could diagnose or treat it satisfactorily. I tired corrective shoeing, low fat diet, accupuncture, massage etc. I finally retired her at 13 years. I have been told that leg problems, such as OCDs, hock and stifle problems etc. are fairly common in draft crosses because as youngsters their leg development can not support the development of their body weight, especially in the haunches. I am interested in getting another draft cross. They are a perfect horse for me. If the dam is the heavy horse does the foal tend to have larger/stronger legs to carry their weight? I understand in Europe the dams are mostly heavy horses, while in the U.S. it is reversed and the dams are mostly light horses. Comments and insight will be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-08-2009, 11:43 AM
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i'm not sure whether it matters too much whether it's the sire or the dam which is heavy, the problem with drafts & draft crosses is that too much is done with them at a young age - irish draft's bones don't develop fully until the horse is 8 years old, i would imagine it's the same for other draft breeds, and so many people i know who own drafts have had to retire them early due to people working them too much when they were young

i hope this helps
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-08-2009, 07:41 PM
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I have a draft cross. His mother might have been 1/4 draft or just a sturdy appendix QG or TB and his father was a percheron. My gelding is now 17.3+, around 1800 lbs. and has grown up just fine but I have really taken it easy with bringing him along. Didn't start riding until he was 3 and then it was just short, easy trail rides, at 4 we started doing longer trail rides and trotting more and a little arena work/dressage but just walk/trot. At 5 we finally started cantering (galloping!). We have also done some small cross rails and such but nothing repetitive or hard on him and he is doing very well. I also watched his weight carefully as he was growing up, never let him get too fat which can cause OCD. They sure do grow fast between 1 and 3!!

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post #4 of 9 Old 09-08-2009, 08:10 PM
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I have a Shire/TB mare. She is 16 and going extremely well (knock on wood). Her mother was a registered TB and her father was a registered Shire. She was not pushed when she was young and I suspect that this contributes to her soundness now. For example, she did not start jumping until she was seven and while we do dressage, we hardly work at the upper levels of anything and I cross train her with lots of trail riding. She is a big boned horse but well proportioned and not as heavy as other draft crosses I've seen. If you trimmed her feathers, she could pass for a heavy warmblood.

I've seen draft crosses which look like a mismatch of parts between the light horse and the draft horse. Like the draft front end and the TB hind end. But if you have a good eye for a horse, you can tell whether the "cross" worked in any particular case.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-08-2009, 08:52 PM
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Check out all our draft crosses - all of them have the dam as the heavy and the sire as the lighter horse.

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post #6 of 9 Old 09-09-2009, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyoen's comments. My shire/tb had very good confirmation. She was well put together and correct. I did not start riding her until she was 3.5 years when her knees were closed. Took it very slow. I never jumped her due to her hind end problems. I am still wondering if a heavy dam generally produces stonger legs than a light dam? Or is it just horse by horse? (My mare was out of a small tb). Tim
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-09-2009, 05:05 PM
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I have a 3/4 TB 1/4 Shire mare. Her dam was a very heavy boned TB and her sire was 1/2 TB 1/2 Shire. I have found, that compared to the other babies this farm produced with other mares, my mare's dam's get was stronger and sturdier because the mare was bigger. When dealing with the heavy breeds, I think it is important for the mares to be pretty sturdy, without being chunky and not complimenting the stallion

hope that made sense. haha

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post #8 of 9 Old 09-15-2009, 01:50 AM
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I have a 4yr old Clydesdale x TB gelding. His dam was a Thoroughbred, his sire was the Clydesdale. He's 16hh, and quite balanced.... his head is a bit big though haha. He has very good bone, and long legs. He looks a little bit gangly and goofy right now, but I think that's just young age and random uneven growth. He looks like a warmblood with a big head and extra bone. If you would like to see pics let me know.

There seems to always be a controversy over wether the sire should be the draft or the light horse. I've seen both ways turn out nice, and turn out awkward looking. Personally, I think it's the luck or the draw with draft light horse crosses, not wich parent was wich. Some turn out nice, and others not so nice.... that's just the way it is.
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-02-2009, 04:32 PM
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I wouldn't really think it would genetically matter which parent were the draft or the lighter horse. It's all a big genetics "toss up" in the end anyway...

Originally Posted by 250girl View Post
Personally, I think it's the luck or the draw with draft light horse crosses, not which parent was which. Some turn out nice, and others not so nice.... that's just the way it is.
I agree. It's all a genetics game and a lot of luck to get a nicely built draft cross. I know I was pretty lucky with mine (ex-pmu Thoroughbred/ Percheron foal). But she does have weak stifles since she inherited more of the draft bone and thoroughbred muscle. I just have to make sure to keep her muscled and loose in her back end though, and they don't bother her.

Other draft crosses aren't as lucky and can mature to have some funky conformation...

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