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Gleek 03-25-2012 03:12 AM

So i'm looking at buying a 17hh clydesdale (7 years old) that has basic education. I can continue his education but i want to know what i'm in for. I know everyone reckons clydesdales are all sweet but anyone with experience with them, can you say different?

What are your experiences with clydesdales?


yadlim 03-25-2012 03:30 AM

So my exerperience is with Shires, not Clydes, but they are very close in almost every way.

What I loved best about my shire mare was 18.3 hands of black georgous. When she would canter, the ground actually shook! I could spend days loving on her and groomiing her. She was gentil and sweet as could be - on the ground. In the saddle, as long as you paid attention to her at all times, she was safe to put my seven year old on in the arena. I even took my 75 year old mother-in-law out on trail on her. She spooked at almost nothing - completlely inflappable.

She was also very lazy. If there was a way for her to expend two calories less, she took it. And when she didn't wanna do something, she tended to thrown temper tantroms.

All of her tack had to be custom made, though draft riding tack is easier to get now a days.

In spite of everyone telling me that she would not eat more than an average horse, she ate just over 1/2 bale of hay a day - plus beet pulp, weight gain additives, and oil.

If there was a fence she didn't like, she woudl just lean on it until it went away.

A friend of mine had a young gelding who was the exact same, just a bit shorter. He learned early that he could BUCK to not have to go out riding.

She also had a mare who was the complete opposite. This girl was high strung, reactive. Love to run barrels and gymkana (spelled wrong) and was a great jousting horse. She loved to show off, loved to learn and loved to go go go go go.

My biggest problem with the drafts I have worked with is that there is a bit of a time lag between command and execution. Their slower nature leads to slower reactions. Coming from growing up with Arabs who would be GONE in that direction before you even went from though to cue. I could not get past the time lag.

For beauty - they can't be beat!!!

Gleek 03-25-2012 03:42 AM

Thank you! This is helpful! :)

Also i haven't been around many MASSIVE horses. Biggest i've ridden is 16hhand this one is 17hh.. Is it really as scary as it sounds being up there? I don't particularly want to get bucked off a clydesdale.

How was your shire like to handle on ground?

FirstLightFarm 03-25-2012 09:38 AM

I bought an older ClydeX gelding to learn to ride on.:-) Mine's pretty short - 15hh - with lots of bone.

Sweet as anything, but as for ground manners? A bit of a close talker.:D You must insist upon your space! Mine believes I am a wee slip of a girl who needs only a few cubic centimeters in which to exist. Flattering, but not true!:lol:

Also he is supremely convinced his opinion is the correct one, all the time. He was a great horse to learn to ride on, because he's as brave as they come and took great care of me. Now that I am convinced my own opinion is the correct one, though? I might get aggravated with him.

But s'okay - he's in his thirties now and has long since retired from being ridden.:-)

franknbeans 03-25-2012 10:05 AM

I have had a clyde X for almost 20 yrs. He is the barn favorite. Sweet and gentle as the day is long, and takes care of my daughter and myself, but noone else, in fact, will buck them off if they canter :-). He is 16.2, but HUGELY round....and lives on air. Has never had shoes, just an all around easy keeper. I totally agree with insisting on your space.....and don;t tell them how big they are. I always had trouble with mine being very heavy on the forehand, and extremely difficult to bend (like bending a fridge). But-he raised my couldn't be that bad.
I will always have a soft spot for the Clydes-they are really gentle giants.

Koolio 03-25-2012 10:55 AM

I used to work with Clydesdales at an historic park many years ago and while they are generally gentle giants, their personalities can vary as much as within any other breed. Most of the Clydes I worked with were driven either single, as a team or in with an 8 horse beer wagon. Of the 8, four were super quiet and easy going, but two were a little "hotter" and more stubborn than the others. That said, all of the horses were very well trained and knew their jobs well.

While working at the park, I spent most of my time driving or riding side-saddle one of the two Clyde crosses. One was ClydexQH, the other ClydexTB. Both were gentlemen and a pleasure to work with.

I also have a Clyde X Appy. He has a pretty mellow Clyde personality, but he can be stubborn and pushy at times. He can also have a lot of energy where he wants to go and will prance and jig like crazy. (This is also how the two hotter horses in the 8 horse acted). He is super smart and will take advantage of a new or un-knowledgable rider. He knows exactly which buttons to push, but won't push them once he knows his rider / handler knows better and is the leader.

I guess my point is that Clydes are big gentle giants, but they are very large horses with their own personalities and require a handler who knows what they are doing. The gentle demeanour can be misleading, as some Clydes do have more energy and will walk all over you if they think they can get away with it.

yadlim 03-25-2012 02:23 PM


Originally Posted by Gleek (Post 1423000)
Thank you! This is helpful! :)

Also i haven't been around many MASSIVE horses. Biggest i've ridden is 16hhand this one is 17hh.. Is it really as scary as it sounds being up there? I don't particularly want to get bucked off a clydesdale.

How was your shire like to handle on ground?

On the ground my then six year old daughter could do anythign with her, and I do mean anything. We even taught her to play fetch.

Now the first time you climb up on somethign that stands 18.3 hands, you get this "OH YEAH!" feeling that starts at your toes and works all the way to the ends of your hair! There is NO falling off - it is way too far to the ground! There was a day when my mare zigged when I zagged and riding bareback I was told it was quite amusing to watch me wiggly my way back onto her with just one elbow and one knee still on her!

She was occasionally dangerous under saddle. When ridden in a snaffle she would just take the bit in her mouth and use her weight against me and turn and gallop home - of couse I was bareback with my six year old daughter behind me. That was not fun. When my husband took her out on trail she tried the same thing with him, but he was stong enough to turn her, so she reared and almost took the both of them off a cliff.

The reason I sold her was that I just could not deal with the time lag between command and execution. She also had to be constantly watched. There was no relaxing as you were heading down the trail, you had to keep contact with her or she would turn around and go home. In the arena keeping her on the rail was a constant battle.

I, personally, will not have another Shire or Clyde unless it is for pulling a cart as a first job, and riding every once in a while. However, if you are ok with the slower meander, and that they tend to try to use thier weight against you, go for it!

TimberRidgeRanch 03-25-2012 02:44 PM

My stud SAM even though he isnt a clyde he is a huge draft. He is the best stud I ever owned as anyone can do anything with him. Even if a mare is around he is all manners. My daughter who is now 10 could lead him anywhere even when she was 7. He knows when he is to so call "Work" lol and when he needs to pay attention. I love the draft breeds. But as gentle as most are their size they can and do tend to forget your there lol.

Gleek 03-26-2012 01:34 AM

Ok so it's pretty much using their size against everything else... okay...

franknbeans 03-26-2012 05:10 PM


Originally Posted by Gleek (Post 1424265)
Ok so it's pretty much using their size against everything else... okay...

I have never had that issue with mine "forgetting" I am there, and that has NOTHING to do with their size. I will say the only "size" related issue I have found is out on the trail. You have to duck a lot more.:wink:

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