I am seeing first-time horse ownership in my near future and I've recently become very interested in draft horses. So, I have a few questions.
1) I've read that draft horses cannot carry a lot of weight and that quarter horses are better suited to carrying more weight. I'm 6 feet tall; is 150-160 lbs too heavy for riding draft horses?
2) I would like to ride at least 4 days a week doing light work on the flat including jumping a two or three 2'3 hunter lines once a week. Is my horse guaranteed to develop foot and joint problems?
3) Do all draft horses require a lot of leg? Is it unusual to find a draft horse that moves off of the leg well and is energetic enough to canter and jump a small fence with impulsion? I've ridden only one draft horse, and this one hates doing anything other than standing still.
4) I would like to buy a 5 or 6 year old. Would it be a bad idea to buy a draft that has not been broke to ride yet? I'm an intermediate rider and I currently exercise ride two 5 year olds- one ottb, one warmblood/trakhener,- but I have never broken a horse to ride before.
5) Does anyone know where I can find detailed information about the correct conformation of Percherons? My logic is that good conformation will aid in using a draft as a riding horse and prevent foot and joint problems.
6) Where is the best place to buy a draft horse/percheron? From a breeder? Auction? Personal sale? Mennonites?
7) I've read that drafts horses are prone to over-heating due to their size. If I buy a black Percheron, or any draft for that matter, how can I keep my horse cool in very hot weather (we usually have at least one week of a heat wave every summer with temperatures reaching 30 celsius)? My horse would be on outdoor board year round.
There will definitely be more questions to come!
I am a plus size rider and he copes no bother with my weight and height, I would presume because he's a cross he's a little sturdier than just a pure draft. Maybe if you're not dead set on a pure draft you could get a cross if you're worried this? Although I'm pretty certain you'd be fine otherwise.
I ride a lot in the summer time, sometimes every day and Dino always has tonnes of energy. Saying that I don't think he'd fancy jumping now, but when he was younger it think he'd of loved it. He's just fit enough for trails right now but drafts are more versatile than people think.
My boy has his days, he's very anxious a lot of the time and requires steady pressure from the leg, and very softly. Or else I'd end up in a bush somewhere haha! Other days he falls asleep under me..
Some drafts don't get broken in until much later because it takes longer for heir bones to fuse and grow. I've heard a lot of people with success stories buying their first draft and breaking in but personally I haven't done so.
Saying that, mine was broken in and came with his own set of problems attached to that.
I'd say buy from a breeder, be careful at auctions for hidden health problems, get in and look at their feet if you choose to buy from their. Saying that, my boy was a exhiled police horse- any mounted sections near you?
My boy is very dark bay so gets upset with the heat in the summer, provide shade, bathe him after a ride to help him sweat off, just the usual. I sometimes give him a bath even when I just pop down to the field, he always end up in a mud patch afterwards but it cools him right down. He mostly appreciated shelter, he uses it more in summer than in winter.
I hope this helps!