Good morning, welcome to the world of drafts.
My name is deb and I just found this site. I have one Percheron Mare named Katee who turned sixteen this year.
I too entered into the world of drafts a More than few pounds heavier than when I rode light horses.
I have only read through a portion of the thread so If I repeat info please forgive me. Here are some great resourses for info. Welcome to the Draft Horse Resource! Draft horse, mule, and oxen power - Rural Heritage online
Read up on feeding. It will vary depending on the region you live in as well as the availability of feed. Draft horses require fewer calories per lb compaired to light horses. If you feel the need to feed grain you can substitute Corn oil. There is also a good book.
Draft Horses an Owners Manual by Dr Beth Valentine. Modern info mixed with down to earth common sense.
Drafthorsestuff.com is a good resource for used riding equipment. If you are a novice (even though I have had horses now 47 years I consider myself a novice in many areas) get help from someone who has recent experience in fitting and buying draft gear.
I find English saddles are easier to find in the right size.... Just be aware that just because you have a big horse doesnt mean he will need a big saddle. The biggest thing to consider for Drafts is that their spine is wider than a light horse. Look for saddles that have a wide gullet. Meaning the space on the underside of the saddle will be wider along the spine.
For instance I bought my mare Katee in 2000, I made an assumption that she would need a Full Quarterhorse bars. I bought a saddle for her and quickly found it was the wrong shape. She has a very short back the Big western simply sat on her withers and on her loin and never touched her back. So if I were to go to a western I would be looking at an Arab tree with a wider gullet. Go figure. Then I bought an english trail saddle used that was specifically built for a draft horse which fit better but because I needed a 20 inch seat it wound up bridging too. Though I can pad it up.
If you can get some lessons for the both of you with a reputable trainer Just to help you get familiar with your boy. That trainer can also help you fit your gear. There are lots of things that can be adapted... You can also get custom bridles and halters made by the Amish for just about what you would buy off the shelf for a light horse.
Fence.... Hotwire on top and if you can get those caps that go on top of the posts so your horse doesnt get skewered by accident. Draft or Light... Those T posts can be dangerous and I hate em but they are a necessary evil. Sigh I live in the world where this is the most common fence post. And will be using them on my own property one day. If you can't afford to buy the caps for the posts you can make them by using a short lenght of PVC with a cap clued on it. Just large enough to pound over the top of your T post.
Longivity... drafts live as long as any other horse with good care and good genetics. I have a friend who has a 40 year old pony that she still uses for little kid first lessons.
Good luck with your new boy
Deb "and Katee in Southern California"