Where are my draft people...I have questions! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 08-08-2010, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Pennsylvania
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Where are my draft people...I have questions!

Ok, so since I have sold Nico, I have started riding my barn owners Percheron mare, Rosie. Rosie is extremely overweight and needs the work for her health. She is remarkably well behaved, rides pretty well and other than general stubborn attitude, shes really quite great. So...here we go again...new horse...new things for me to have questions about on this forum!

Our first issue is a general horse issue. She is a wimp. A total wimp. She is not spooky, she is scared of everything. Not jump to the side scared, run away scared. Its not so bad when we are riding (she so focused on NOT working...she cant run too!) but on the ground, she is truely afraid. She is terrified of the vet. Show her a needle and she will climb the walls of her stall to get away from you. Fly spray? No way. Don't even try. If you are fly spraying a horse two stalls down from her, she will run out of her stall. What can I do to help her? I have tried to console her...it just doesn't work. She trusts me as much as she trusts anyone...sometimes I think she may trust me more than others. Any ideas? Last year when I was working with her and she got scared and tried to run. She tramped on my toe so badly that the nail fell off.

Second problem...kind of. She knows EXACTLY how big she is. If she doesnt want you in her space...she will throw her hip at you. When she doesn't want to walk with you, she will drag you. No problem. How do you physically move a horse out of your space when she is the size of three normal sized horses put together.

Third and hopefully final. Where do you guys get your draft tack? Holy crap that stuff is expensive! Right now, she is riding on a crappy abetta endurance saddle that is just not fitting her right. Im sure it would fit an average draft but Rosie is just too big. Any suggestions on a brand or where to find a good used one? How about breast collars? Do they even make them in draft size? Her chest is enormous. With her lack of withers (im sure they are there...just buried in fat!) She NEEDS a breastcollar to keep the saddle in place. And bits...sheesh! How do you guys afford it when your horse needs a bit! Everywhere I have looked, a draft bit is twice as much! She actually needs like a 5 3/4 bit...anyone know where I can get something functional in that specific of a size? Any ideas on where I should start bitting wise? Her owner had her in a slow twist which she ran right through and a reining bit that does the job but is too small for her mouth.

Oh and just a question. Should she feel like a normal horse trotting? She feels mostly 'wonky' when she trots. Its kind of odd. Nothing much to post to there. She is like riding a semi truck.

One more...sorry to bug you guys! Sheesh this post is turning into a book! Should she have any fat deposits on her body? Her owner is convinced that she is 'just a draft horse...not THAT fat' while the vet feels if she isnt worked, she wont live much longer. She hasnt come into heat in over a year. Vet thinks its because she is too over weight. Right now, she has atleast 2 inch thick slabs of fat over her ribs and from her wither to her shoulder is atleast 4 inches thick with fat.

Enough complaining about the poor girl. Shes a love and wants to please. Took her on trail tonight and she did awesome for a horse as out of shape as she is. Poor girl was weezing 5 minutes in. We had to stop for her a few times but she kept on truckin. Heres a pic so you can grasp the size of her.
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post #2 of 27 Old 08-08-2010, 10:43 PM
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Yes, drafts have a horrible trot- atleast the ones I've ridden and owned. I have a a few links for draft tack for you:

Empire Farms LLC Tack Shop: Your one stop source for everything Equine....and Farm
My Draft Horse Super Store:
The Clyde Store - Books & DVD's
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post #3 of 27 Old 08-08-2010, 10:59 PM
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My horse isn't a draft but his head is huge! His bits are 6 inches. I found that the best place to get a bit like that is on the internet on draft specialized suppliers. lol. Good luck!

As for what type of bit maybe a harsher bit isn't the best thing to use. I find that double up circles are the best. But, in riding big horses sometimes that just isn't possible. Have you maybe thought of using a kimberwick with a small port.

Good luck!

"You know, for as long as I can remember, I've had memories." ~Colin Mochrie
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post #4 of 27 Old 08-08-2010, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Now that I have started looking I am actually even more discouraged! Not only are they twice the price...draft horse bits are very limited in their variety! The closest I found to what I would want to start with is a jr cow horse bit! And its only made up to 5.5 inches! Right now, she is on an old curb but like I said, its too small. Shes actually pretty responsive to it...I would hate for her to get her mouth tore up though...off to search the internet for more ideas!
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post #5 of 27 Old 08-09-2010, 03:59 AM
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Draft Tack <-- This one has TONS of great stuff! Bridles, bits, fly masks .. everything except saddles!

Duett Saddles: The Partnership of Horse & Rider <-- Wide gullet saddles. Pretty popular, but they run around $1000-1200 new + shipping. I bought one for my Perch mare, she's a 36 gullet and we love it. They go all the way up to 44! (The average gullet is 28-30). You can usually find them on eBay and forums for sale for quite a bit less.

Fine Equestrian Products at SkylineEquine.com - Quality English Tack Supplier & Manufacturer <-- They have a plain old snaffle bridle in draft size (it was actually too big for my girl in some areas - had to punch holes to make it smaller!) for about $40 Canadian. Not top quality, but it does the job and it's really sturdy, and looks nice!

As far as her fear and disrespect .. that's a tough combo! If you have a roundpen, I'd really get her working. Even if that means less than ten minutes per day for now. I assume you know basic roundpen work? Transitions, switching directions, etc. Get her listening!

As far as getting her out of your space: Get. Her. Out. Of. Your. Space! Ask, tell, make it happen! If Rosie won't back up? Ask her nicely like you normally would. Then ask harder - swat on the chest, etc. Still no reaction? Get her attention! Yell "HEY! BACK UP!", flap your arms, shake the leadrope, stomp at her, whack her with the rope. Scare the crap out of her, make her WANT to get away from you! As soon as she moves away, release ALL pressure. Stand there quietly. Then, ask her to back up again. Rinse and repeat, until she's moving off when you ask her nicely. You might have to get pretty physical at first, depending just how unwilling Rosie is to listen. Once she's moving away from your pressure, her respect should start to build in other areas - if she tries to drag to around while leading, give her a sharp snap on the halter. If she doesn't listen, get her circling on her hindquarters away from you until she's pretty much dizzy. Try leading nicely again. Doesn't listen? Do it again! She'll get the idea. Percherons are smart.

With a horse this size who knows just what she can do, you have to match her level. If she's getting pushy, you have to get pushier.

I know that my mare became spooky when she lost her trust in me and I failed to show her that I was in charge. Not quite as far as yours, but I know there was one day where my mom's shoe scraped on the ground and my girl literally bolted. It took just a few rides where I really made her realize that NO, that's not something to be afraid of, and YES you're going there, and YES you're going to listen to me - and bam, she started to steadily improve. That was a year ago. Now she's **** near bombproof. I'm not sure if it's the same situation with you, if it's just a complete lack of trust, or something deeper (abused at some point?). It's not the nature of a Percheron to be that fearful. They are intelligent, yes, and more sensitive than the other draft breeds, but not to that point.

Good luck! I'll go dig for some more draft tack websites, I found tons when I first bought Delta.

EDIT: As far as the bit goes, I'd hold out until you've done some work with her. You may find that as her groundwork improves, she won't need as harsh of a bit as you think. She could just need a wake-up call! If she still needs it, fine, but you wouldn't want to overbuy, either.

Last edited by azarni; 08-09-2010 at 04:02 AM.
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post #6 of 27 Old 08-09-2010, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks azarni! Im glad to hear that as a breed they can be sensitive. Thats a great word to describe her! She is fearful, dont get me wrong, but she doesn't want to hurt anyone. Its interesting to go from a big time alpha 14.2hh QH to a 17hh bottom of the pecking order sensitive sweety.

I will definantly check out those sites. I know I need to start her with good fitting tack. Her owner loves her to pieces but doesn't much understand that if the tack doesnt fit, she will never be right.

With bits...I usually start at the least and progress from there. Shes already had some pretty tough bits in her mouth and shes responsive on them. The difficulty I can see is that buying just a plain o-ring snaffle is gonna cost me $20! I can usually pick them up at a consignment tack shop for 3-5. I've even considered a hack with her but she already leans on the bridle...I can only imagine how hard she would lean on a hack!

We have a round pen and she does well in there. She is actually a round pen master as her owner did lots and lots of ground training before she started backing her. I will have to get her back to that. She is 10 now and was started at 3 and since the first time she has been rode shes probably been ridden 20 times. Shes never bucked, reared or shown any aggressive behavior. Her big problem is she wants to go home. When she is in the ring, you would probably mistake her for a horse that has lots of training. Out on trail, you have to keep her on her toes or she will wheel and run.

Thanks again guys! Keep those suggestions going. I know that she is still a horse...shes just big....but I feel like im doing something totally new to me!
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post #7 of 27 Old 08-09-2010, 09:37 AM
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You have to treat them just like they are a mini. My 18.2 hd doesn't know that my 5'4" isn't bigger than him. He knows I'm in charge and if he forgets I remind him. I don't beat on my guys but if they get in the way or don't move out of the way, I do what the lead mare would do, I move them. First with a verbal, then with a touch, if no reaction, with a crop. If they turn their but to me I nail them as hard as I can with the crop, it don't hurt them except for a minute and they know better than to dis. me like that.
You might want to try a chain over the nose for leading until she gets the picture that she's not in charge. There's no pressure on her until she trys to do something stupid and pull you.
Alot of websites charge more for the term "draft". Look on ebay or used horse tack try drafthorsestuff.com for something until you find what you want and need.
As for ride one of my geldings is smooth like riding a couch. The other 2 (driving team that rides) is like riding a tractor accross a field of rocks. I think its due to their gait for pulling the wagon, what was a comfortable gait for them to pull and they have adapted that gait to riding.
Be patient with her as soon as she figures things out she'll never forget.
Try a tarp, I got a 5X8 cheap blue tarp from TSC and started my guy walking over it, shaking it around him, putting it on him, leading him with it dragging beside us. It's helped him alot. Also you might try playing a radio for her, just when she's hanging out eating or something not while working her. The different sounds on the radio sometimes helps.
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post #8 of 27 Old 08-09-2010, 10:07 AM
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Wow, that's weird that you're having a hard time finding a bit...but then again, where do you live? Oh, PA..I don't know, but around here there's lots of Mennonites, and they have all sorts of stuff for the heavies. If there's any Mennonite tack shops around your area, they'll for sure have bits your size. They might even have saddles and such, but around here heavies are for driving, not riding, so I don't know..
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post #9 of 27 Old 08-09-2010, 01:02 PM
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jeffersquine.com has cheep draft tack. Check out their new Nylon draft tack :)
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post #10 of 27 Old 08-09-2010, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
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Rosie had some round pen work today but it had to be called off early because of the heat. I think I may have found a bit to work for her and possibly an english saddle. I ride western but I guess I will have to adapt for her comfort! Finding a draft western saddle in my low low low price range is proving toooo difficult. I can't imagine how small even my 19" seat is going to look on her! LOL
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