So, I'm trying to talk my parents into getting a horse and I'm interested in getting a Draft but first I need to know a few things about them and I was hoping some of you could help me out.
#1 Boarding. Does it normally cost more to board a draft? Will most boarding centers even allow you to board a draft horse being that they're so big? I don't board my horses, I have a farm and can see my kids from the front porch. I can't answer this question.
#2 Cost. Does it cost more to care for a draft than a lighter horse. What does it coast annually on average? I feed round bales of hay at $35 a bale. A 1200 lb bale lasts me 5-7 days with my 4 horses. My Percheron has a cleft palate and cannot eat grain, but my Clyde/Appy filly gets 5 lbs a day of junior sweet feed. She was very malnourished when I got her and the junior feed has helped her immensely. Her grain is $21 a 50 lb bag, which lasts 10 days- so 2$ a day for grain.
They need salt and minerals- I use probably 25$ a year in mineral.
Vet care I'd estimate at $200 a year for vaccinations, dewormings, coggins testing etc.
#3 Shoeing. Do draft breeds have to be shod, or can they go barefoot? None of my horses have ever been shod. I am a firm believer in barefoot horses. It is more difficult to find a farrier willing to work with drafts, and it costs more. My 2 light horses are 25$ per trim, my drafts are 40$.
#4 Riding. What age are drafts able to be ridden and are they good for riding? Do they have good gaits? Every horse is different, but I would never ride a horse younger than 4 years of age. Some drafts are choppy at the trot due to a more upright shoulder.
#5 Tack. Do many places carry draft tack? Does it cost more? Your basic feed store *might* have a little, but I order mine through Draft Tack. It does cost more, but not much more. You get what you pay for.
#6 Temperament. Are they generally gentle or more excitable than lighter horses? Depends on the horse. But, I will say that on the average they are much calmer than say an Arab or TB. A 2000 lb horse can kill a person, they better be gentle.
#7 Grooming. About how much longer does it take to groom a draft? Depends on what they've rolled in.
#8 Breed. What are some of the more common breeds? What are the ones that you like most?
In the US, you'll likely find Belgians, Percherons and a lesser number of Clydesdales, Shires, Suffolks, Spotted Drafts, Halflingers, American Creams, Gypsies, Fresians, Fjords, Brabants.
I love anything big and wide! I have a 19 hand, 2100 lb Percheron and a yearling Clyde/Appy filly. I would kill to get a pure Clyde or a Shire!!!
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