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Drafts for beginners?

This is a discussion on Drafts for beginners? within the Draft Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • Draft horse wont lift hoof
  • What is the best breed of draft horse for a beginner

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    08-08-2012, 08:36 AM
  #21
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipseranch    
OP the myth that drafts eat more is not true. Drafts metabolism is lower than lighter breeds so the old feed per pound doesn't with them. Sure as in all breeds of horses there are hard keepers but for the most part they are easy keepers. As stated in your other thread, my 18H Belgian eats the same amnt as my 14.2 H Paint. My horses are bare foot so she costs the same for a trim every 7 weeks. As far as tack, etc. her saddle both English & Western were very similar to my other horses and her winter blanket ordered on line was in fact cheaper than my others. If you get a cross of any kind its sometimes tough to tell what genes are going to show up more prominent..hard to know what each individual horse is going to require or cost and I as I recall from your other thread you have not ridden a horse of any kind yet. I really recommend that you start there since it may be a life long part of your life or a passing interest. Best of luck
Pretty much part of the info I was trying to look for. Thank you so much. I'm trying to find a stable that has lessons nearby. So far no luck. But I'm still going to keep trying!
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    08-08-2012, 09:22 AM
  #22
Weanling
Leemew...here is the things to think about when owning a draft horse. I own 2, my team of Percheron draft mares.

Hooves...I have come across many drafts who have crappy hooves. Read up on them, what is good, what isn't. Mine are prone to abscesses, just last night Smoke kicked out, the hoof pick went in the hole and I had blood all over the place. Partly due to bad genetics and bad farrier care prior to owning them, throw in the humidity and mud here...

Hay..again, depends on your area. I have 4 horses, 2 Quarter Horses besides the team. Our hay in VA goes anywhere from $4.50 to $7.00 for a 35 to 45lb square bale of good quality orchard or field grass hay. We go through, in a year, between 12 and 1300 bales of hay. If you have one, it will be quite a bit less money wise.

Farriers...depending on where you end up, many farriers will not work on a draft horse. People are lazy when it comes to teaching their animal to stand, give to pressure, leans, hold the hoof up and to ensure you have a good citizen that is pleasant to work with, you personally need to be able to work with that horse every day, even if it is for a few minutes. Run your hand down their let, pick the hoof up, give it to you, hold it up, etc...can you do this? I make our two lift their hooves for me while they are eating, holding them and if they go to jerk it away, I will growl at them or sharply say their name as I hold onto it till they again settle down. I am 44 so no spring chicken.

Emergencies...you need a vet who is up on draft care as because their metabolism is slower than a lighter horse, they need to be careful on anesthesia, how they work with them, they do not like to be man handled or roughly treated. Some are more prone to colic than others.

Saddles, harness, tack, etc...EVERYTHING is more expensive and harder to find when you have a draft horse. Are you in an area that you can get lessons to learn to drive? It isn't something that you can just do or learn from a book or just wing it. Can you ride? Do you have a place you can go for lessons if not?

Drafts can take advantage of someone if they are let to be pushy. You have to be firm with them and set boundaries. Also, draft horses take longer to cool down if you ride when it is hot and are worked.

And please don't take this wrong but...can you physically take care of a large horse? If there is an emergency and your waiting for the vet, can you walk that animal, sometimes up to a few hours if it is colic? Can you bend down to lift hooves or be on your knees doctoring wounds or anything else that may come up out of the blue? Slog through mud in the middle of winter or rainy season to throw hay, check water, things like that?

Just some things to think about. Not knowing how heavy you are, I can only tell you what I personally do. Oh, fencing too, they can be extremely hard on them.

Can they be ridden? Sure...
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    08-08-2012, 09:23 AM
  #23
Weanling
Just to say, I've met Arabs that are fit and hardy to carry heavier weights than some draft crosses - it's really an individual thing. Warmbloods are also generally good weight carriers, as are larger TBs and large pony breeds like Highlands, Haflingers etc. Even little Icelandics carry massive weight for their size. It all depends on actually how heavy are you, and trying different horses and seeing how they cope with you - and how naturally balanced the horse is.

Stockier bred horses are best, not necessarily height, and not even necessarily draft crosses. The trick is, list the things you need in a horse other than ability to carry weight, and then go and view horses that fit the criteria - you'll know before getting on some that they won't cope by watching them move, and others may surprise you.

And of course, there's always the chance that you just might not 'click' with draft types. I personally, whilst being on the heavier side, have never clicked with the drafts I've ridden, and have always gotten on best with skinny TBs, but they've always managed fine with me. I'd much prefer a WB or middle/heavyweight hunter type than a draft. Don't look at breed, look at your qualifying criteria, and the right horse will come along.
     
    08-08-2012, 09:36 AM
  #24
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreySorrel    
Leemew...here is the things to think about when owning a draft horse. I own 2, my team of Percheron draft mares.

Hooves...I have come across many drafts who have crappy hooves. Read up on them, what is good, what isn't. Mine are prone to abscesses, just last night Smoke kicked out, the hoof pick went in the hole and I had blood all over the place. Partly due to bad genetics and bad farrier care prior to owning them, throw in the humidity and mud here...

Farriers...depending on where you end up, many farriers will not work on a draft horse. People are lazy when it comes to teaching their animal to stand, give to pressure, leans, hold the hoof up and to ensure you have a good citizen that is pleasant to work with, you personally need to be able to work with that horse every day, even if it is for a few minutes. Run your hand down their let, pick the hoof up, give it to you, hold it up, etc...can you do this? I make our two lift their hooves for me while they are eating, holding them and if they go to jerk it away, I will growl at them or sharply say their name as I hold onto it till they again settle down. I am 44 so no spring chicken.

Emergencies...you need a vet who is up on draft care as because their metabolism is slower than a lighter horse, they need to be careful on anesthesia, how they work with them, they do not like to be man handled or roughly treated. Some are more prone to colic than others.

Saddles, harness, tack, etc...EVERYTHING is more expensive and harder to find when you have a draft horse. Are you in an area that you can get lessons to learn to drive? It isn't something that you can just do or learn from a book or just wing it. Can you ride? Do you have a place you can go for lessons if not?

Drafts can take advantage of someone if they are let to be pushy. You have to be firm with them and set boundaries. Also, draft horses take longer to cool down if you ride when it is hot and are worked.

And please don't take this wrong but...can you physically take care of a large horse? If there is an emergency and your waiting for the vet, can you walk that animal, sometimes up to a few hours if it is colic? Can you bend down to lift hooves or be on your knees doctoring wounds or anything else that may come up out of the blue? Slog through mud in the middle of winter or rainy season to throw hay, check water, things like that?

Just some things to think about. Not knowing how heavy you are, I can only tell you what I personally do. Oh, fencing too, they can be extremely hard on them.

Can they be ridden? Sure...
As for the local vet thing, I'm actually going to attend college to be a large animal vet, but I have about 8 years of college to learn everything.

The area as of now, there is nothing equestrian, but when I am accepted into a college of my choice, I'm sure there will be because I've looked into it.

I'm around 250 give or take, and I'm still looking for a stable for lessons, but at my weight it's extremely hard.

And the other part of taking care of the large horse during crazy hours of the day, I wouldn't mind, I've had to take care of smaller animals the same way. It's not the same because they don't weight close to 3/4 of a ton, but I'd be willing.
     
    08-08-2012, 11:56 AM
  #25
Yearling
Hope the link works. Conformation Tutorial I am sure it is copy/pasteable if it doesn't. This is a great place to start and you will understand what and why you need to look for certain builds/type over breed or cross. In general QH, draft crosses and drafts like the suffolk all have shorter backs and sturdy builds. There are others that would work just as nicely. You need to look at the individual horse and it's confirmation.
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    08-08-2012, 12:43 PM
  #26
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leemew    
As for the local vet thing, I'm actually going to attend college to be a large animal vet, but I have about 8 years of college to learn everything.

The area as of now, there is nothing equestrian, but when I am accepted into a college of my choice, I'm sure there will be because I've looked into it.

I'm around 250 give or take, and I'm still looking for a stable for lessons, but at my weight it's extremely hard.

And the other part of taking care of the large horse during crazy hours of the day, I wouldn't mind, I've had to take care of smaller animals the same way. It's not the same because they don't weight close to 3/4 of a ton, but I'd be willing.
you go girl..don't let anything or any one stop you from achieving your dreams..it is smart to do homework any time you enter into a major responsibility. It is awesome for you to be considering a horse's well being..wish more people got this seemingly simple concept...in so many ways just like jumping a baby or jumping a horse so much that their knees are horrible by age 10..horses have an incredible ability to carry us on their back but the strain on their back can take a toll over time. The above post has a fantastic tutorial about why conformation (the way a horse is built) is important. There is no magic answer to your ?? In the original post or other thread..every breed has individual horses that are different by animal & add to that how they were trained or treated it becomes really complicated. Always remember you have to start somewhere to learn the basics...get around horses..even if it is volunteering..you never know what might show up at a shelter!
BTW the comment I read ?? Your physical ability to take care of a lg animal made me smile because...some would ?? Me at 5ft tall & 110 pounds handling a 2200 lb 18H Belgian....guess what we do just fine together & I can nearly walk underneath her!
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    08-08-2012, 12:51 PM
  #27
Weanling
Dbl post
     
    08-08-2012, 02:31 PM
  #28
Yearling
Obviously your concern is about getting a horse suited to handling a heavier person.
Keep in mind that unlike humans, a horse is not really design for carrying heavy loads on it's back. When we put on a loaded pack the weight is distributed down our spine which allows us to safely carry a larger % of our own weight. Horses are built like a bridge with no supports between the front and back. So has already pointed out you might want to look for an animal with a shorter back.
The more time you plan to spend in the saddle riding the larger you'll want the cannon bones to be.
E.g. I were to set out on a 100 mile trek my tack, gear, and provisions added to my personal weight is about is about 280 lbs on day of departure (under 275 on day 2). She weighs about 1360lbs, so she carrying almost 21% of her weight on day one (20% or less is best). With what I'm asking out of my horse ideally I would like my mare to have cannon bones over 10" in diameter. She will eventually get there since they can get larger with work, but currently she's at 9.5" which is marginally acceptable for that work load. Obviously if I lowered the weight or work load then I wouldn't need her to have cannon bones as large.

Most people don't tend to worry about all that, because it tends to be the "ideal", it's no fun tracking the weight of everything and most people don't ride that much.

If you do get a large horse (draft or not) you'll find out what others have already stated....the joys of finding proper fitting saddles and tack. Farriers will cost more and even if you keep them unshod like I do the trimmers will cost more too. (I trim my own, but I know some trimmers and they charge more for large feet)

The only thing I found less expensive about my crosses is the feed. The older eat less feed than any horse I've ever had and the younger eats what my QH or TWH would, although I don't measure their grass intake so it could be more. You need to keep a check on their weight. The challange is watching them to keep them from getting fat. Too much weight with a horse can lead to more health issues than you want to think about. Very easy keepers need to be watched and monitored to keep their weight from exploding.

There's nothing "easy" or cheap about owning a horse and keeping healthy and fit. No matter what the breed.
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    08-08-2012, 03:06 PM
  #29
Started
Oh dear. When will people learn NOT to put kids without helmets on horses.

To Leemew.

Remember, draft horses make our bums look smaller!!

Since you are chubby, a Gypsy Horse might suit you well. Not too tall to climb aboard and chunky enough to not make you look too big for the horse. Very quiet and willing breed. Lots about now and many well trained older horses.

Years ago, many coming from other breeds, thought they wanted a Gypsy of at least over 15 hh. Later they discovered a 13 hand Gypsy, is a whole lot more horse than a 13 hand light horse breed.

Look into them. You might like what you see.

Lizzie
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    08-08-2012, 04:18 PM
  #30
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by FeatheredFeet    
Oh dear. When will people learn NOT to put kids without helmets on horses.

To Leemew.

Remember, draft horses make our bums look smaller!!

Since you are chubby, a Gypsy Horse might suit you well. Not too tall to climb aboard and chunky enough to not make you look too big for the horse. Very quiet and willing breed. Lots about now and many well trained older horses.

Years ago, many coming from other breeds, thought they wanted a Gypsy of at least over 15 hh. Later they discovered a 13 hand Gypsy, is a whole lot more horse than a 13 hand light horse breed.

Look into them. You might like what you see.

Lizzie
And that means what exactly? Haven't seen any children in this thread on horses.
     

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