Have you looked on dreamhorse? Or any other sales on the web? There are just so many good horses out there now looking for a home. Have you seen the thread on the draft stallion (Romeo, I think)-he was found at an auction & saved from the meat buyer's. I think she wants to re-home him as she has too many horses, but I don't remember her name or the thread title exactly. Maybe someone else can post a link? Since you're tall, I can certainly understand why you want a big horse, but my DH at 6' 2" did quite well w/my large QH mare-she was broad & maybe 15.3-took up a lot of leg & -bonus-she single-footed! Good luck on your search.
I'm not in the market just yet, so I look, just not seriously. I'm in my last year of college, so I am waiting until I am done and have a job to get a horse. =) The perspective foal would be a 2015 baby anyway LOL But I really am leaning towards looking for a horse in the 3 - 10 year old range.
If you think auctions are a crapshoot breeding will be way worse. If its a legit draft horse auction if don't think it will be the type loads of shady people and meat buyers attend. It sounds a little more "high end". You just need a trained eye to come along with. And it would also behoove you to learn a decent deal about conformation & its functions! You can fix training problems but you can't fix conformation! Posted via Mobile Device
SlideStop - I'm scared of either! But I understand completely. This auction is about 80% Amish/Mennonite from what friends of mine who have attended have told me. On that note - again, I am scared of getting something that is not what it was supposed to be! I know Amish trained horses are sought after for farm work, but I have heard about so much mistreatment and abuse.
Regardless of where you get a horse, you should take an experienced person with you (if you are not one), since private sellers and dealers are also fully capable of passing on dodgy horses. You could buy a horse privately and it might not be what the seller told you it was. But at least with an adult horse, you can see what you have. You say conformation doesn't really matter, but if you want to jump it or barrel race (have to say.... I have yet to see a draft or draft cross who will make a passable barrel racer... even lighter ones who do well at dressage or jumping aren't quick enough for barrels), you need something put together well enough to withstand that type of work.
The Amish get a lot of flack for mistreatment and abuse and somehow that gets tied into their identity as Amish. Many, of course, don't abuse their horses. Plenty of non-Amish also mistreat their animals, but it never becomes connected to their cultural identity. You get the same kind of discourse about Travellers here in the UK. It's a way of "othering" people who don't live like "us." And it's as silly as saying that we are worried about white guys from the South -- as a group -- abusing horses because the people who do the big lick Tennessee Walker stuff are generally white guys from the South.
The owner I purchased from offered us a 30 day trial. I have several other people at my barn who will not purchase a horse without this. We put it in writing and the cost of transport and the vet check was on me, but I'd rather spend that money than end up with a horse that has issues.
Thesilverspear - I'm not saying all have done this by any means! And I did not mean for it to come across as such. I know many many Amish that care for their animals greatly. :)
Like I've said - I'm not competitive, I barrel race for fun. I could care less about that puny ribbon. Where we race at is a good mix of young and old, some are like me who just do it for fun, others use the races as practice for jackpots and such. For me, I just like doing lots of different things, and doing them well(maybe not winning, but doing it well) and having a well rounded horse who can run it's heart out at a barrel race on Friday night, then go cross country Saturday, and a nice trail ride on Sunday. Not that I would ride it that much in one weekend, but ya'll get my point! :)
I'll definitely be taking my trainer and my draft horse friend with me. If I go to an auction to buy a horse, or anywhere else for that matter. I would never go purchase a horse without someone more experienced coming with me.
Does NC have a draft horse association. I'd also suggest getting a hold of a subscription to draft horse journal. Just reading back issues can be helpful. Lastly I would suggest no matter what you plan to do with your draft attending a workshop would be a good way to spend some time with drafts and those that love them as well as love to work with them. The Yoders have good schools, Kenny Russell, Lynn Miller focuses more on the equipment now I think, Jason Rutledge is in VA and has schools on logging as opposed to farming. Making contacts can help you find horses.