Why do people want drat horses and draft crosses to train and ride?
 
 

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Why do people want drat horses and draft crosses to train and ride?

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  • Cross breeding draft horses for jumping
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    08-31-2011, 09:12 AM
  #1
Super Moderator
Why do people want drat horses and draft crosses to train and ride?

I am a little confused. I come from a ranch and cutting horse background. I have trained horses for more than 50 years. People always brought me saddle horse stock to train to ride and draft stock and draft crosses to train to drive. Ranchers fed with feed team but I never saw one try to ride a draft horse or cross. I have seen many saddle horses that were broke to drive, but never the other way around.

It seems that many people, mostly newcomers to horses are now buying draft horses and crosses to ride. WHY?

I am not trying to be snide or mean, but, as a trainer, I cannot imagine what they can do as well as horses that have been bred for many generations to be good saddle horses. I understand that not everyone wants a cutting horse or a Quarter Horse or Paint [the breeds I have been mostly training], but for the life of me, I do not understand why it would be better, more efficient or nicer in any way to ride horses that have been historically bred for pulling. I understand why people like gaited breeds, even if I have had limited experience with them, but draft stock does not make any sense to me.

So please, would people that have a lot of experience with these crosses under saddle tell me what is so desirable about riding them. I may have missed something all together, but I have only looked at them as animals that I would want trained to drive. I even have preferred driving saddle stock if they only had to pull light loads and use the Drafties for heavy pulling.

The Amish around here use smaller Hafflingers or Standardbreds for light pulling and use the draft stock for the heavy farm work. The only ones I have seen ridden were ridden in from the field with someone sitting on them in harness. I never saw a saddle on one. I would not know where to even buy a saddle that fits one well or a girth that is long enough.

So please, without being snide or catty, tell me what I have been missing here.

Cherie
     
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    08-31-2011, 09:22 AM
  #2
Doe
Weanling
Cherie

I cannot comment on the US of course. However here in the Uk it is not uncommon. I suspect it is a cultural background difference.

I have pictures of my father riding drafts as a teenager on the farm. They are often considered to have a nicer temperament than say a TB which is the most common horse here and not as stubborn as say a cob (I love cobs and don't follow personality stereotypes but just saying what I hear from people) Also a lot of larger men like to ride them, and even use them for hunting. Also of course in the marshy areas of the country they are much better suited to the softer ground with the huge plates for feet. I know people who use them for sheep herding instead of quad bikes etc.

Here in the Uk we very much go on a size vs weight model which is very different to the US. We would not consider allowing QHs of such small size to carry the weights they often do for example. (not getting into that argument, just stating observation again).

Also some people just like big horses aesthetics are as much a part of horses as with any domestic animal, dogs, cats etc.

Anyway those are just some of my thoughts may be none of these lol
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    08-31-2011, 09:30 AM
  #3
Green Broke
Because drafts make my butt look smaller?


No seriously, some people prefer larger horses. Some prefer to have more horse under them. I like them short and stocky, which is why I prefer Haflingers. But I always liked the power of a draft. They are just "more horse" than stock horses. I do not, however, prefer them for trail rides. When you are sitting up that high you are clearing out the cob webs and getting smacked by branches while all the others on shorter horses aren't. I do think that Draft crosses make excellent performance horses.
     
    08-31-2011, 09:34 AM
  #4
Weanling
Many people want them because they think they will get a docile, naturally bombproof personality from the draft blood. In my experience, it doesn't usually work out that way - they range in hotness and spookiness just as much as any other breed or cross does.

Then you've got folks who are looking for a mount to carry a heavier rider and believe that, because drafts are big and thick boned, they must be able to carry a lot of weight. Almost never the case, but again, way too many people don't understand what to look for in a horse's conformation to assess its weight bearing capacity.

The third and I think most popular (at least in my area) category is the "poor man's warmblood." As you can tell from my username, I own a draft cross, and I do dressage with her. She's never going to be confused for Bretina, but she's got the substantial look (at least she does when she's not a big fat hippo) and big stride that is generally preferred for the dressage ring. She's never going to be an FEI level horse, but then again, I'm also never going to be an FEI level rider and I did not want to pay huge money for a horse with more potential than I would ever be able to use. Instead, I paid a reasonable sum for a horse who is athletic enough to be competitive and fit in at the lower levels of dressage.

A well thought out, carefully bred draft cross does not have to have a huge shoulder and no hindquarter -- there are breeders out there, particularly with the percheron x TB cross, who are producing lovely, balanced animals.

I should add that the fox hunting set loves draft crosses, but that is well outside my area of expertise/experience, so I can't speak too much about what they're looking for in their mounts.
     
    08-31-2011, 09:38 AM
  #5
Foal
Why do some people want Saddlebreds for riding horses?
Why do some people want to ride Thoroughbreds as pleasure horses?
Why do some people want boring, plodding horses to really just walk around on?
Why do some people want mules?

I personally can't ever see myself owning a ranch/cutting type horse because I want a horse that can jump competitively. As the saying goes- "different strokes for different folks".
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    08-31-2011, 09:40 AM
  #6
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doe    
Cherie

I cannot comment on the US of course. However here in the Uk it is not uncommon. I suspect it is a cultural background difference.

I have pictures of my father riding drafts as a teenager on the farm. They are often considered to have a nicer temperament than say a TB which is the most common horse here and not as stubborn as say a cob (I love cobs and don't follow personality stereotypes but just saying what I hear from people) Also a lot of larger men like to ride them, and even use them for hunting. Also of course in the marshy areas of the country they are much better suited to the softer ground with the huge plates for feet. I know people who use them for sheep herding instead of quad bikes etc.

Here in the Uk we very much go on a size vs weight model which is very different to the US. We would not consider allowing QHs of such small size to carry the weights they often do for example. (not getting into that argument, just stating observation again).

Also some people just like big horses aesthetics are as much a part of horses as with any domestic animal, dogs, cats etc.

Anyway those are just some of my thoughts may be none of these lol
Interesting
     
    08-31-2011, 09:46 AM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doe    

Here in the Uk we very much go on a size vs weight model which is very different to the US. We would not consider allowing QHs of such small size to carry the weights they often do for example. (not getting into that argument, just stating observation again).
I do want to comment on this. I would say that, as a general rule, QHs are better built to carry a heavy rider than drafts. Drafts are bred to pull, not to carry weight on their backs. A short-coupled, strong backed small horse will have a much better time carrying a heavy rider than will a long-backed horse (as drafts tend to be) regardless of how large or how much bone the horse has.
     
    08-31-2011, 10:02 AM
  #8
Started
In my experience, drafts tend to be incredibly smooth and comfy to ride. I could trot on Norm all day if he didn't wear out in fifteen minutes.

You should try riding a draft once. It's a neat experience. Kinda feels like sitting on a dump truck, but it's cool. True, drafts can't compete with Thoroughbreds or Quarter Horses in terms of athleticism, but they're nice if you just ride for fun.

Here's a competition that looks super fun. I'd totally do it if my guy was better trained.

     
    08-31-2011, 10:20 AM
  #9
Doe
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by DraftXDressage    
I do want to comment on this. I would say that, as a general rule, QHs are better built to carry a heavy rider than drafts. Drafts are bred to pull, not to carry weight on their backs. A short-coupled, strong backed small horse will have a much better time carrying a heavy rider than will a long-backed horse (as drafts tend to be) regardless of how large or how much bone the horse has.
As I said I'm not trying to enter that argument, just pointing out the differences in 'culture' and the reasons bigger horses are popular here. My own QH is one of the smallest horses on the yard at 15.2. Often referred to as a pony even by my own father lol few men would be happy to ride such a short horse. People much prefer to see me on the 17.3 Irish draft and I'm only 5ft7/8 and around 11.5 stone so not a big build. I get away with it because of my size but any bigger and I would be labelled cruel. It's how it is gauged in traditional circles in the Uk.
     
    08-31-2011, 10:26 AM
  #10
Green Broke
That looks fun!
     

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