Draft horse growth rate? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-09-2011, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Draft horse growth rate?

I went to see a 4 year old Belgian Draft/Appaloosa cross mare tonight. I really like her, however her withers are about 16 hands and her butt is closer to 16.2 or 16.3, owner says that her butt just shot up again this year. Will her withers catch up to her butt as a 4 year old? I was kind of under the impression that both drafts and appaloosas are fast maturing breeds and were done growing early in life?

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post #2 of 7 Old 07-09-2011, 10:50 PM
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Quite the opposite, actually. Drafts are slow to mature, from everything I've read. "Regular" horses tend to mature at around 5yo. Drafts tend to keep going until they're about 7yo. So, yes, I'd say her withers are going to definitely catch up with her butt.

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post #3 of 7 Old 07-09-2011, 10:52 PM
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Just the opposite - Drafts are late maturing. My husband's draft cross was only 14.3 or so as a 4 year old and he is now 15.2 as a 6 year old. I'm thinking he is done on height and now just filling out more, but not positive. Another friend had a purebred draft that didn't finish his +17 hands until he was 8.

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post #4 of 7 Old 07-21-2011, 09:25 AM
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I was brought up with the advise that draft horses are fed best with low protien and lots of it. Drafts dont fully mature till 5 yrs of age. In that time their joints, bones are slowly developing. In my draft horse circle, they start out the foals with a high protein diet, to make them grow and mature faster. The end result I have seen is the mature horse starts breaking down at an early age. I have a 26yr old mare that looks half her age, and reciently lost a 29 yr old mare that was still used in parades.

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post #5 of 7 Old 07-22-2011, 08:02 AM
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Drafts mature slowly, although people assume they mature fast because they reach the size of a light breed horse at an early age. I have a yearling Belgian who is 15.3hh and the same size as my Quarab mare... But I would never imagine riding him for at least another 2 years. Their joints and bones and muscles are slow to develop. You might notice that her knees appear a bit enlarged or swollen, thats because she's still growing. She won't level off officially until she is about 6 or 7. Right now my yearling looks like he's on stilts because he's growing up instead of up and out. If she's 16.2hh at her butt right now, you can probably count on her finishing out at about 17hh...
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-22-2011, 10:27 AM
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My draft cross is hopefully finished now at 7! He reached about 17+ hds at 5, then kind of plateaued, then at 6 1/2 had another growth spurt...... He's now about 18 hds, uses a 87" blanket, 66" english girth...... weighs about a ton.....

I have a 3 yr. old warmblood filly who keeps doing the teeter-totter with her withers and butt..... she's 16.2 now in her withers.......

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post #7 of 7 Old 07-22-2011, 10:54 AM
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Dear ghod...you mean Hugo is going to get bigger??? He is 4.5 years old, has very knobby knees, already 17hh and eats like a...well, a horse! I'm pretty certain his genetics are percheron and thoroughbred. His withers are quite prominent and he is just now getting a neck crest.

I'll do my best to get some good photos of him this weekend and post here. I'd love some input. He is the only draft at our barn and something of an anomaly amongst the AQH, paint and appys.

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