I've enjoyed reading this thread. Have to agree with the "tank" description. I've only ridden one draft, lovely Percheron mare, so I am very limited in my knowledge. However, she was wonderful in the walk and canter, but oh my, that trot could loosen my back fillings!
Gotta agree with kevinshorses, would love to have that mare (though I'm sure she's deceased now) but I don't have the same "equipment" to trade!LOL!
If Thoroughbreds are Greyhounds, draft horses are English Mastiffs. That's the best analogy I can give you.
All the drafties I've ever ridden have been like big, round, comfy, lofty, smooth couches. Although my big guy is a bit klunky and clumsy, his trot is heaven. It was really weird the first time I got on my draft colt. I was used to Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, and he had a lower center of gravity and a heavier, slower step. But like I said, I could trot on him all day long. :) If you ever get a chance to ride a draft, go for it.
I'm the complete opposite - I've ridden more draft/draft crosses than anything else since I started riding!
As has been said, they do bounce into canter, so that's something you have to remember. And yeah, they're a bit wider (the "tank" description is accurate!!) so a good stretch is advised before you get on board! Oh, and use a mounting block/step - getting a leg-up onto a 17hh Clydesdale is NOT for the faint-hearted!!
Here's a group of us at a place called Cumbrian Heavy Horses in the Lake District - the only dedicated heavy horse riding centre in the country!
(I'm in the middle, in the orange hi-viz, on the biggest horse - an 18.2 gelding called Ollie!)
And here's two of us racing down a track!
I rode my Sally bareback once - it was like sitting on an armchair.
My Jack (18.3hh shire) is a great ride, everyone who rides him can't help but smile He's responsive, makes downward transitions in two strides, is forward going and all paces are extremely comfortable - his width and the fact that rising trot means you have a moment of freefall are the only differences...that and his slow but steady walk!
This is my perch mare! She does everything and anything and is the best money I've ever spent. I got her as a green 4 y/o and now she's doing great in dressage and hunters. Just recently we started schooling flying lead changes and she has picked them up very quickly. Please don't mind my position I'm working on getting it stronger again!