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Draft horse for a first horse? Yay or Nay?

This is a discussion on Draft horse for a first horse? Yay or Nay? within the Draft Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • Dishes with draft horses on them
  • Draft horse fetlock

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    12-24-2012, 06:01 PM
  #141
Green Broke
The Clyde owners did and they indicated what many consider 'cow hocked' or
'close in' was sought out for in Clydes.
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    12-24-2012, 10:35 PM
  #142
Started
Cow hocked and close in are two entirely different things. Unfortunately, people often use them interchangeably, Shame on a draft horse owner for doing that. Cow hocked is a fault. If you drop a plum line from the point of the hip, it should fall through the hock, cannon bone and the fetlock. In a cow hocked leg, the hocks are closer together, the cannon bone angles slightly outward and the fetlocks are wider than the hocks. This conformation adds stress to the joint and soft tissue. Bone spavin and curbs are common unsoundnesses resulting from cow hocks. Sickle hocks are often seen in cow hocked drafts at the same time putting even more strain on the leg.

Close in aka set of the hocks is a draft horse term that describes the desired or correct relationship of the hock, cannon bone and fetlocks. The hocks are set in, pointing inward. The cannon bones are perpendicular to each other and the fetlock is inline with both. The hooves will point outwards at about a 45* angle. (If the hocks point in, the hooves must point out) The distance between the hocks should be the same as the distance between the fetlocks. Doc Neuman has a great analogy that "he should be able to poop one apple, it fall down, hit the hock, roll down the cannon bone, hit the fetlock and land between his hooves". The reason this is desired is for length of stride (he can't reach around the barrel otherwise) and as a horse pulls, his hind legs separate and he looses power the farther apart his legs are. If they start in close, they will not separate as far therefore less power is lost. This is important when hitching horses together. Because it affects the length of stride, the 2 horses need to be similar in hind end conformation or one will always be lagging behind and you will be spending all your time getting after him.
     
    12-25-2012, 10:56 AM
  #143
Foal
Back on topic; OP got any prospects that you find interesting? Any pics of that local one?
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    12-25-2012, 11:28 AM
  #144
Weanling
'cow hocked' is used generically and in very broad terms even by the Secretary of The Clydedale Horse Association. If you want to split hairs about the differences between cow hocked and close in, then start a new thread about conformation. This is going totally off topic. I say let the lassie get a draft horse. It is up to the buyer to decide if the horse is right for them or not regardless. I would highly recommend a draft/heavy horse no matter what. They are just 1 ton (or there abouts) of hairy, huge unadulterated love which just happens tobe horse shaped.
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    12-25-2012, 11:31 AM
  #145
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solon    
The Clyde owners did and they indicated what many consider 'cow hocked' or
'close in' was sought out for in Clydes.
ABsolutely correct Solon! Even the Clydesdale Horse Society members talk about 'Cow Hocks' when referring to 'close behind' in Clydedsales LOL. Lets get back on topic guys.
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    12-26-2012, 12:41 AM
  #146
Foal
DraftGuy- I do, but I'm on my phone so I can't post any at the moment. I will tomorrow if I remember! And Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a great day!
Posted via Mobile Device
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    12-26-2012, 03:36 AM
  #147
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaigenB    
DraftGuy- I do, but I'm on my phone so I can't post any at the moment. I will tomorrow if I remember! And Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had a great day!
Posted via Mobile Device
In 2013, I think there may be one very lucky heavy horse has a new home....You are under STRICT INSTRUCTIONS to post photos when you get your horse. Have a very Happy New Year and if your horse is a gelding call him Dave....LOL The rationale behind that is that in England, almost everyone has an annoying mate (friend) called 'Dave'. The 'annoying bit' is that every time you go to see your horse, you will have nuzzle marks all over you, horse hair down your best jumper, hay down your back and slobber marks over your face, your hair, your hands and if he is near enough, all over the seat of your pants where he pushes you with his nose for fun! ENJOY
     
    12-26-2012, 11:18 AM
  #148
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluebird    
In 2013, I think there may be one very lucky heavy horse has a new home....You are under STRICT INSTRUCTIONS to post photos when you get your horse. Have a very Happy New Year and if your horse is a gelding call him Dave....LOL The rationale behind that is that in England, almost everyone has an annoying mate (friend) called 'Dave'. The 'annoying bit' is that every time you go to see your horse, you will have nuzzle marks all over you, horse hair down your best jumper, hay down your back and slobber marks over your face, your hair, your hands and if he is near enough, all over the seat of your pants where he pushes you with his nose for fun! ENJOY
Awwww...tear in my eye. I want another draftie too!
     
    12-26-2012, 12:12 PM
  #149
Yearling
Just my two cents... Make sure you're comfortable around ANY horse of any size. I've ridden horses my entire life and would consider myself advanced at least in casual riding. I've trained horses from the ground up and broke a couple that were older. I can sit through a buck and show a horse who's boss. So, when I decided to get a second horse and a beautiful all-black percheron gelding came up for a good price that just needed some re-training, I went out intending on bringing that horse home.

Didn't happen. Just a little bit of skittish-ness on those plate-sized feet was enough to make me feel nervous, and I knew that little bit of nervousness would turn in to a lot of heartache down the road since I didn't feel that I had the confidence to work with him. Sad day :( But, that's ok, because I got into endurance, where my new Arab was much more fitting.

Since then, the rose-colored glasses have come off more and I realized it was a blessing in disguise that he didn't work out for me, more than just not being suited to endurance. Not to mention the inherent risk of having a HUGE animal (all horses included, but even mores with drafts), there were a few key points I hadn't considered:
1) Feed - with the price of hay, I'm glad I don't have to feed a draft.
2) Tack - I have a hard enough time finding the right tack for my boy as it is, and he's "typical" sized. But I have to work to find things that are just right as any horse person does/should. If I were restricted by the few things carried for drafts, I don't know what I'd do.
3) Logistics - You have to have a pretty good truck and trailer for a horse that size. I doubt the typical low budget F-150 and two-horse straight load would not get the job done.
4) Flexibility - I'm always expanding and wanting to try new things. I wanted to get into endurance, something that most horses (and I've even seen a few ponies!) can do to some extent, but a draft wouldn't have been a wise choice. Sure, some can do it, but I would hate to have to manage that thing. Ultimately, for the things I'm interested in doing (either now or maybe trying someday down the road), a lighter breed would have been more fitting. (That being said, drafts can do low-level jumps!). I think I would have been much more limited in my choices had I bought that horse.
5) And of course, the simple idea of working with the horse. Remember, you're not the only one that has to - so does your vet, your BO, your farrier, etc. And though they will likely have experience with them, it's ultimately your responsibility to make sure you can train and correct anything that goes wrong. The horse is only as good as it's handler, so if you have holes in what you are capable of, those will be multiplied by horse and every pound he's got.

My point is that there's a lot more to be considered in buying a horse than just the horse itself. But, in the end, if you absolutely love the horse and are willing and able to work with these things, then go get your draft ;)
     
    12-26-2012, 12:41 PM
  #150
Foal
I didn't have a chance to read through all 11 pages of replies, but I've been a long-time draft owner and enthusiast, and I will say these things:
  • Finding a farrier can be difficult in some areas. Many farriers don't like working on drafts. Some charge extra for the bigger feet.
  • Most draft horses are hard to find tack for because they were bred for pulling, not riding, and their conformation will reflect this. Also, just because they can squeeze into a small horse trailer, doesn't make it safe or a correct size. I've seen draft horses soured to trailers because they were forced to ride in ones too short for their height.
  • Any horse should be evaluated on an individual basis, regardless of breed. I've worked with some incredible drafts... the best horse I ever had the pleasure of owning was a draft cross... but I've also worked with some horrible drafts. Any pushy horse can be dangerous, but imagine one that weighs a ton!
  • Drafts are inherent to a myriad of physical problems due to height and weight. They need to be started under saddle later than light breeds. They WILL have bone changes when started too young, regardless of whether they present with any lameness. Most don't have the bone circumference to match their weight, which lends to a whole host of problems with the internal hoof and distal limb bones. Sidebone and ringbone are both very, very common in drafts.
  • Many drafts require a special diet for ESPM. They require more hay than a regular sized horse, obviously.
  • My biggest pet peeve is mounting on the trail. I have some really awesome stories of ways I found to get back on when riding bareback.

I'm sure there is a lot more that I am missing, but with 11 pages of replies, I am sure it all has been covered. I love my drafts, but they aren't for everyone. And just because they are big, doesn't mean they can carry more weight, but I don't get the impression that you are considering them for this reason. Have fun, and make sure you post pictures when you decide on a horse!
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