I'm more of an Western event kind of gal. But willing to learn Dressage, just to be able to work with a draft Is there an Western Event a Draft horse breed could compete in, and could excel at it? I just might stick to trails and just have a draft horse for a snuggle bug, but it would be fun to compete together.
But that said, drafts aren't really built to be riding horses and are not over athletic in that way. I don't see why you couldn't do the basics of anything with a draft but don't try to do speed events. Wonder how they do with cows...
I probably wouldn't try speed events with drafts as they're heavier and generally not built to move fast.. but I'm sure they would do some sort of WP! Maybe not higher up, but I don't really know. Here's a video of a Percheron WP class! I think it's absolutely beautiful
I'll say that as neat as that is, for what western pleasure usually is (an open class probably with stock type horses) I wouldn't expect any of those to place well. In a breed class where you can do what you want it's different, but I'll also say there aren't many Percheron breed classes in this area (that I know of at least, but that's still the point).
Drafts, in general, aren't going to be great at any riding discipline. Even on trails, they don't have the endurance of a standard sized horse. If you find the right one, they can do just about anything at low levels, but if you want to win or be even remotely competitive beyond that, a draft generally isn't the way to go. Even at low levels, I generally wouldn't expect to place on a full draft simply because of judge bias.
Are you dead set on a full draft or would you be content with a cross? I've got 2 crosses and I use one of them for ranch work (the other isn't started under saddle yet). He's not very athletic and he tires faster than the other horses, but he tries his heart out and he's very intelligent/easygoing.
Like smrods said, drafts aren't going to your first choice to excel in any riding discipline. Drafts are made to pull and be in a harness, so right there you start off with the disadvantage of not being built to be a riding horse. Their build influences their ability for self carriage, hind end engagement, and ability/ease to support a rider properly. Or rather lack there of.
That being said, a draft is a horse, and like any horse (baring unsoundness) you can train him to the 9's... or as far as his physiology lets him. In terms of events, the ones you will probably have a chance of doing better in are the ones more influences by finesse and training than the horses' natural movement. In english riding you might have more luck in things like low jumpers and equitation classes. In western, classes like trail, horsemanship, showmanship, and western riding require a lot of training an precision. They are judged more so on your ability to handle/control your horse, and how well your horse responds, and less on the horse's natural way of going. If I were you, those are the class types and skills I would focus on. You probably won't be in the ribbons in bigger shows (most big western shows are breed shows anyways), but there's no reason you can't be competitive at a smaller/local/fun level.
Yah I understand how they aren't built for speed, being a big and heavy and all. And if I were to compete it would probably be local events and such, but I understand how a full Draft could only take me so far, especially if I did decide to compete in bigger competitions. And yes, I'm completely alright with Draft crosses I actually found a 15 year old Draft gelding cross with a Quarter horse I'm wondering how that'll look! (Haven't seen pictures yet) he's only 15 hands, not as tall as I was dreaming of haha but recommended for beginners since he was previously working as a lesson horse and has been on trail rides. But I still have a lot of time to look for the perfect one, if I do decide to go with a draft/draft cross. Would love suggestions for a breeder or anybody you know selling any in the Houston/Katy Texas area!
Are you only interested in searching for draft breeds?
The draft cross will probably look just that. My friend had a Suffolk QH cross and she was about 16.2 and a tank. She did dressage and WP with the mare- had a lot of difficulties with the dressage though. I think you may be confusing drafts with some warmbloods, maybe.? As they can look kind of beefy and to an untrained eye the differences btwn the two breeds may not be so obvious..
If you want to do WP with your future horse- do it. No draft is going to be great at any riding discipline, but if you had to pick one that's probably a good start. You'll have a helluva time trying to train a draft to dressage though.