Draft Horse Questions - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 44 Old 06-27-2013, 11:24 PM
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If you are going to breed for your mount, take into consideration the extra time and effort involved. Babies are cute and adorable, but they are expensive and time consuming (not to mention how long you'd have to wait to actually get to ride!)

I thought about breeding my gorgeous TB/QH mare for a sport horse, but the budget/time restraints are just too great- and I'd rather ride NOW than later haha. So I adopted a draft cross. I think it was the right decision, especially since he's turning out to have a super kind disposition and such a big heart. If nothing else, take a look at all the 'free' horses out there right now- adoption (OTTB) or even a OTSB could be your next best friend/competition mount :)

All that said, it really is hard to say what any draft cross will be good at until you get them and try them out. Some are slow and ponderous, others take after 'the other half' lol. My guy happens to have a wonderfully long, floating stride at the trot, so we're concentrating on dressage. It all just depends on what your horse is good at!
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post #32 of 44 Old 06-29-2013, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by DayDreamer View Post
- How old do drafts need to be before being backed and saddle broke?
- How old before they can be seriously ridden, competed on, etc.?
- Would a light boned draft be suitable for jumping?
- I am considering buying a draft foal/having one bred for me. Would you go with a full draft, or half?
- Do you put your drafts on joint supplements?
- How do you find their temperaments?
- When did you find yours at? I've noticed it seems easier to pick one up at auction, than from a private buyer or breeding farm...Was this the case for you?
The way you train and work a draft is the same as a light horse. I wouldn't use a full draft for jumping, tho nothing would stop you from doing it. Draft are build for slow, heavy duty work. Their conformation and built is not meant for jumping type work, so I would reconsider your breed of choice. You should perhaps look into a draft cross for those types of disciplines. Supplements all depends on a lot of opinions. Some people put them on them, some people don't. As far as tempers go, they can be very gentle, but they can also be very flighty. I dont know there is a standard temper across all draft breeds, like horses they can vary.

Where do you find them? online. I would not venture to auctions unless you have someone experienced to go with you.
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post #33 of 44 Old 07-03-2013, 10:29 AM
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"And, once fully grown, the damage done by jumping. I love drafts, but it worries me that I would hurt them if I ever wanted to jump over 3'. "

Just saying my draft can walk over a 3' jump with no problems! He thinks that large, blue drums are ground poles!

I got my Percheron as a 18hh, untouched, 3 year old. He is now a 19hh, 2100 pound, 5 year old. It took me a LONG time to get him to trust, listen, behave and understand that while I was smaller than him, I AM THE BOSS. When a horse is big, they know it and they know how to use their size! Make sure that if you do this, that you have a trainer, that is familiar with drafts. While they are a horse, their size makes many things different. It does take a bit of a search to find a lead rope that is long enough (I made mine), a halter that is big enough and the list goes on. There are great draft horse supply stores, use them, it's the only way that you know that stuff will fit!

I now ride my horse daily and he's great. A draft horse isn't done growing until age 5-7, so riding them early is not advised. Most people think that just because they are big, they can be mounted and the rider can be bigger. This is not true. Take the time, ground work, drive, etc, but I would wait until at least 4 years to back a draft. Others may disagree, this is just my opinion.

As far as the vet, the cost is the same as a "regular" horse. Farrier, I have one that specializes in drafts and he is about the same. My guy is barefoot and gets trimmed every 6 weeks at a cost of $60.00 per trim. A "regular" horse trim is $50.00, so not much more. WORTH IT! I love my farrier!

It does cost me more for wormer, supplements, etc. My horse needs twice the amount of almost everything for this type of stuff. Though, drafts are more affected by some medications, so you need to make sure that your vet understands this.

The big guys are worth it, in my humble opinion, once you go draft you never go back! Keep in mind though that like non draft horses, they are all different so if you want one that moves with a bit more style, try them out. A Belgian is different than a Shire, which is different from a Percheron and so on. It's a BIG (pun intended) investment, pick the one that will work for you.
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post #34 of 44 Old 07-03-2013, 03:01 PM
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Can't agree more PercheronMom . While we start ground work young and they are perhaps pulling a cart with no rider early in their third year and with later in their third year heavier work including riding is not done until their 4th for us and some even later for riding. depends on the horse and their build. It is a fallacy to think just because they are bigger that they automatically can be ridden younger or carry a heavier load. You always have to consider conformation and back length is a priority when you are putting a heavier person on ANY horse.
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post #35 of 44 Old 08-28-2013, 06:03 PM
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new question

I just started lessons with a draft horse cross. I love him, he is so smooth though he shied at a deer and I fell off. Anything I should know about riding drafts? My instructor says voice commands are used more for the big guys.
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post #36 of 44 Old 08-29-2013, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by urban teacher View Post
I just started lessons with a draft horse cross. I love him, he is so smooth though he shied at a deer and I fell off. Anything I should know about riding drafts? My instructor says voice commands are used more for the big guys.
Just like all other breeds of horses, every draft and draft cross is different :)

In my experience, they tend to be more docile and laid back, but that doesn't mean they can't have a moment! My Paint/Belgian is more spooky than my Thoroughbred Appendix mare- it just depends on your individual guy and how he reacts to new things. That said, he didn't even bat an eyelash at ANYTHING at his very first show :)

My advice is, just get to know your new boy in as many circumstances as possible, and you will learn how to react to and move with him all the better for it.
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post #37 of 44 Old 08-29-2013, 01:06 PM
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Howdy and welcome to the forum .

With the kind of disciplines you're wanting to do, I'd strongly suggest a good cross. They normally aren't quite as heavy/bulky as a full draft and, if they are built right, can be just as good at those disciplines as a larger version of a light horse breed.

However, I agree with others. I wouldn't look at breeding for a cross. When you breed 2 horses of such different styles, the result is always a crap shoot and the resulting foal could be completely unrideable. I'd be okay with buying a foal/weanling if you know enough about horses to judge what the grown horse will look like.

Originally Posted by DayDreamer View Post
- How old do drafts need to be before being backed and saddle broke?
I'd not want to really ride one much at all before 3 years old. Mine, I rode him very lightly twice the fall of his 2 year old year and didn't ride him again until this spring as a coming 4 year old.

- How old before they can be seriously ridden, competed on, etc.?
At least 4. Because they are so heavy, there is that much more stress put on growing joints. For jumping, I'd likely wait until 5+.

- Would a light boned draft be suitable for jumping?
It would greatly depend on the body style. If the body is heavy but the bones are light, then no. However, if the entire body is light and the bones are adequate, then there is no reason why you couldn't jump it.

- I am considering buying a draft foal/having one bred for me. Would you go with a full draft, or half?
For what you're doing, I'd go with half as they are more versatile...given good conformation.

- Do you put your drafts on joint supplements?
No, none of mine are on joint supplements. I suppose for that, it's all a matter of opinion whether you want to or not.

- How do you find their temperaments?
It greatly depends on their breeding and their individuality. 2 of mine are really calm and mellow and 2 are pretty hot-blooded and more flighty.

- When did you find yours at? I've noticed it seems easier to pick one up at auction, than from a private buyer or breeding farm...Was this the case for you?
My Percheron gelding was bought as a yearling at a respectable draft horse sale along with his half-sister for the purpose of being a driven team. Later, we lost her to a snakebite.

My Belgian mare was offered to me by a friend who was going to send her to auction because her mate had been killed by lightening. I took her in and she was heavily pregnant by a QH stud at the time.

That's how I got my older cross. He's now 4 years old and making a very nice riding horse.

Just before John (the Percheron) was gelded, he managed to jump the fence and covered the neighbor's paint mare. Thankfully they weren't upset about it but after the foal was born, their situation changed and they were trying to re-home all their horses. I agreed to take in the foal and that's how I ended up with my other cross. He's 3 this year and hasn't been backed yet, though I need to get started on that.
Unless you are very good at spotting horses who are drugged or slightly lame, I wouldn't go with an auction unless you've got someone very experienced to go with you.

Your best bet would be a private sale and, IMHO, it would be worth the shipping if you found a good cross that would suit your needs but it was a ways away.

I wouldn't hesitate to buy from the Amish nearest me (they are up in Kansas) because I know them. I've been around them enough to know how they treat their animals and I know that they're honest about what an animal is and what they can do.

As for the knowledge needed to train a draft. Any good horse trainer will be able to train a draft, but not all are willing. I've been training horses since I was 15 but the first draft I broke to saddle was John. He was no different than any other horse I've rode. Same with Rafe (my 4 year old Belgian x), he's the exact same, training wise, as any other horse. Drafts aren't like mules, where you need special and different knowledge to successfully train them. All a good horse trainer needs for success is tack that fits and the courage to climb up on something that may be a foot taller and 500 pounds heavier than anything they've ever rode before LOL.
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post #38 of 44 Old 08-29-2013, 06:17 PM
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The falling off was my fault, I'm working on my seat. Apparently he hasn't been in the arena much and shied. I can't wait to ride him more, he is very sweet. But since I don't have much experience with drafts, I'm so glad I found this thread. I really like reading what other people are saying.
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post #39 of 44 Old 09-01-2013, 09:34 PM
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I just wanted to say that as far as driving, each horse is different, by who trained them, who bred them, and what was done with them. Both my Percheron mares are all around. I can ride, drive, drag things, you name it we can do it.

When it comes to riding, each are very different. Smoke is trained better than Trixie as someone took the time to ensure that each discipline she excelled at, with the exception of riding. She knew basic level dressage, but is heavy on the hands and will test her rider, but not in a bad way, also takes a lot of leg and encouragement.

Trixie is not trained as well in riding yet she is a joy to ride. Light in the mouth, quick to do as you ask, she is the opposite of Smoke. Takes care of her rider and like some, doesn't exert a lot of energy but if you ask, she will trot to you say otherwise, with a light touch of her heel or a squeeze of your calves, and her trot....wow!!

Here are the mares, I am on Smoke and have the blue sweatshirt on, my best friend and partner in crime, is on Trixie with the yellow sweatshirt:
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Last edited by GreySorrel; 09-01-2013 at 09:37 PM.
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post #40 of 44 Old 09-15-2013, 02:07 PM
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Buying a draft cross any younger than 4 can be a real crap shoot.

For his wedding present to me, my husband purchased a Belgian/Qtr. cross - age 1 1/2. Gorgeous and seemed to be perfectly proportioned. Then all at once at 4 yrs. old, he developed that massive Belgian body but on Qtr. Horse legs. By 5 he had raging ringbone in all front joints and had to be euthanized shortly after.

He was the smartest, funniest horse I ever had the pleasure of working with and I was devastated that he had to be put down. But he was clearly in pain that would only get worse.

Until their body matures, you really don't know what you will end up with.
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