Light Horse vs Heavy Horse

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Light Horse vs Heavy Horse

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  • Heavy and light horses
  • Draft horse vs light horse

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    08-07-2008, 05:39 AM
Light Horse vs Heavy Horse

OK... so... I'm planning to buy myself a horse when I head off to college (I'm hoping to get enough scholarships to pay for COLLEGE, then the rest of money from work, etc, can go to a horse), and I'm wondering about what I should look for. Up until recently, I've been wanting to either get an ex-racer Thoroughbred or Standardbred, since those are the horses I've always ridden and worked with in the past.

BUT... just recently I've fallen in love with Draft/Heavy horses. Y'know... the REALLY big ones.

I've never worked with a draft, only stocky ponies. I've seen drafts in real life, and petted them, but never worked with, ridden, etc one.

My questions are these. Very simple, but easy:

1. Which would most likely be more expensive, (without vet bills, and all that, basic care) a light horse (like a TB or SB), or a heavy horse (more like a Clyde, Shire, or even a Belgian or Brabant)?

2. Which horse would most likely eat more (normally)?

3. What are main characteristics of Heavy Horses? (I know hot-blooded racers like the back of my hand)

4. Which one would need more trips to the vet?

5. Which one would thrive better in Texas? (that's where I'll be living for college)

I know that things always depend on the horse, but I'm just asking for VERY basic answers. Just the general thing, not necessarily something intricate, because I know that things need to be said on a horse to horse basis.

I have three years to decide, but I'd like to know at least a bit before I rush into things!
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    08-07-2008, 07:17 AM
Oooh, I love Drafts! I am definitely wanting to get a Belgian or Clydesdale down the road.

1. In general, Thoroughbred's would probably be more expensive since many of them are hard keepers and need extra feed, hay, and supplements to keep their weight up. And if you get an OTTB then you might be faced with more vet bills if the horse has leg issues or health problems. Draft's are usually easy keepers, though there definitely are many exceptions.

2. That's a tough one. On one hand, most Thoroughbred's need extra feed to keep their weight up. But on the other hand, Draft's are huge animals and it takes a good chunk out of the pocket book to feed them. I'd have to say it's a tie.

3. Draft horses are most notable for their size, strength, docile temperament, powerful weight pulling capability and proud bearings. The characteristics vary greatly from breed to breed; for an example, Clydesdales are being bred for a more refined and elegant build that still retains it's looming height and gentle dispostion. They have tremendous athletic ability and have the most elastic, animated gaits out of all the heavy breeds. Then you have Percheron's, who have Arabian blood in them which gave them the distinctive "dished" profile and less choppy strides that make them more suitable for riding then, say, the Belgian, who are more chunky and muscled. Belgian's usually have the typical draft strides; short, choppy, yet not so uncomfortable that they can't be ridden. Belgian's are bred more for strength and build then refinement and elegance. Many draft breeds have straight or convex profiles.

4. If your getting an OTTB, chances are that he/she is going to have higher vet bills then a draft. Obviously, it varries, but from my personal experience, Draft's are extremely easy keepers and as long as you get one that is somewhat conformationally correct, very sound, with good, hard feet (Draft's have a reputation for having not-so-good feet), and a thorough vet check then I do not believe that the vet bills will be any higher than any other horse (Just guessing, as it depends on the individual, and not all tb's are hard keepers and picky eaters and some Draft's are hard keepers as well).

5. I'm not familiar with the climate in Texas, is it very hot and humid? If so, then tb's would probably do better in the heat then drafts, which is a very generalized statement and there are definitely many exceptions.

I hope I was some help :)
    08-07-2008, 09:25 AM
Green Broke
Your questions are really tough because they are really based on unknowns. Some ponies can cost more than larger horses in vet bills - some light horses can cost three times as much as a draft horse. Any horse can thrive in any state if it's got good food, shelter etc.

First thing - drafts do NOT eat more than regular horses. That is a misconception. Because they are big does not equal more food. The only difference being if they are working drafts - pullers. Otherwise, they eat no more. My boy eats 3 flakes hay in the a.m. And p.m.

Draft horses can be as spicy as the lighter horses, so don't fall for the Gentle Giant scam. Gentle Giants are made, not born. Each of the drafts have different characteristics - I prefer Percherons, some love the Clydes, Shires etc.

The number of trips to the vet depends on too many factors to list.

Personally I think they are the most wonderful of all horses. With good solid ground work and bonding they are just fantastic horses!
    08-07-2008, 10:00 AM
I own a 7yr old full Clydesdale, and have since he was a weaner.
I use him as my riding and jumping horse (although we have just both started jumping in May)
Once I started to ride him I knew two things 1) I would never ride a light horse again and 2) I had a one in a million clydesdale.

Solon, is so bang on, they don't eat more then a light horse. Oz gets 4 flakes a day, and beet pulp with his suppliment. No oats for him, and really that's a lot less then some light horses.

The Gentle Giant statement should never be used as a blanket statement to a type of horse. Unfortunately Oz is a Gentle Giant, and I say unfortunate only because I don't like to perpetuate this myth. But it took a bunch of training and time to get him there.

Vet work - just make sure you get a draft knowledgable vet. I had one that sedated to his size and nearly killed him.

The only thing that can be more costly is 1) farrier, and 2) tack - and depending on what kind you get you will be constantly hunting for tack that will fit.

Good luck, one thing is for certain once you go draft you don't go back.

I'll add some of our recent jumping shots in the photo section
    08-07-2008, 10:19 AM
Green Broke
Luckily for us the tack thing is getting A LOT easier! More and more people are riding their drafts so it's getting better to find bridles and saddles.

Ozzy - do you ride English or Western? I'm looking for a western saddle for my boy and trying to get some ideas.
    08-07-2008, 11:43 AM
I ride english, but I belong to BC Draft Under Saddle Club, and they may have a western saddle for drafts on their website.
I'm selling an wide english Wintec saddle with the changeable gullet system, if your interested in coming over to the dark side.

I did have a local (local for me) contact for a draft western saddle but that was a bit ago.... I'll see if they still have it, if they do I will let you know.

Saddle's and even some bridles are getting easier, its finding blankets that fit, boots, bell boots, etc that are a pain in the behind. Although I'm loving that more people are riding these great mounts!

Although one warning though, if you buy a draft and are going to ride it, you best be the kind of person that isn't shy. I find everyone wants to talk with you and know about why and how and all sorts of information... really brought me out of my shell.
    08-07-2008, 11:47 AM
Green Broke
I got a Wintec already. The western saddle is for the pals of mine afraid to ride a horse that big without a horn on the saddle.

I ride bareback though, so the saddle would only get used for my niece and her friends.
    08-07-2008, 11:51 AM
Haha... thanks guys!

I'll keep looking into drafts. I'll probably still go with a TB, just because I know them, but who knows?

If I get a draft, I'll probably be riding him bareback. I assume that they're like really big chubby ponies? Because I've ridden chubby ponies bareback.

Thanks for all the info!

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