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Shropshirerosie 05-01-2012 05:44 AM

What Breed should I go for?
Hello everyone, I'd love your opinions on this please. The more opinions the merrier, and no-one is wrong.

I move to Alberta, Canada in August of this year with my family, and I will be horse-shopping as soon as I get there (okay, I've already started internet window shopping :) ). In recognition of everything I've given up over here my husband is accepting (even dare I say supportive..!) of me spending a bit of money on a horse and so I'm going to spend happily and I hope wisely.

I am of course familiar with all the breeds in the UK, but the North American market is slightly different, so I would value your input.

I am principally a Happy Hacker - or rather, I will be a Happy Trail Rider.

I also hunt in the UK, and will sorely miss that in Alberta.

I have enjoyed low level Endurance Riding in the past and I enjoy low level show jumping and cross-country, but I will not be competing in any discipline to any great level because my family takes priority in my time at the weekends.

I enjoy dressage schooling, principally for the benefits it gives to a horses overall carriage, mobility and fitness.

I like a big horse with plenty of bone, that is athletic, bold, brave and sensible.

My previous horses were a 16.2 Suffolk Punch x TB Mare, and a 16.1 Irish Draught x TB gelding. Both were bought because they were the right stamp for the right price, rather than a particular drive for a TB cross, but I must say that I like what you get when you cross a TB with a heavier type.

My prejudices which I am happy for you to trash are:-

'all warmbloods are foolish'
'all TB's have poor feet and no shoulder'

and I just don't really fall for the looks of feathered coloureds (paints).

In the Canadian market, in particular I am curious about -

why are Percherons so plentiful and popular in North America?
What is the Canadian Horse like to ride?
Are Canadian Warmbloods as foolish (see above prejudice) as European ones?
What do you all expect when you read 'Sport Horse'?

Thank you all for reading, and having opinions.

its lbs not miles 05-01-2012 07:43 AM

Of course you'll get loads of opinions, but based on ''large, big bone, cross country, dressage, etc....'' you might look at the Georgian Grande. Wouldn't work cattle with one, unlikely to do well barrel racing, but they're generally 16-17 hands, big boned, jump, etc..
I fell in love with them a while back when a woman completed a Mojave enduanc ride on one and I was looling for a strong big boned breed for distance riding.

But thete are msny good breeds out there. TWH are a great gaited ride if you want to look that direction.

Shropshirerosie 05-01-2012 10:06 AM

What, 66 views and only one opinion? Come on, you lot can be opinionated when you try!

And thank you lbsnotmiles, I had never heard of that cross before (cross? breed?).

I've never ridden a gaited horse, and I have absolutely NO IDEA if I'd like it or not.

Oh, and I also forgot to mention that I also ride sidesaddle. So a breed with a nice smoooooth trot would be great!

BlueSpark 05-01-2012 11:04 AM


why are Percherons so plentiful and popular in North America?
Not 100% sure about this one. My cousins have several percherons that they trail ride. They seem to have better movement than alot of the draft horses with a super quiet, easy going temperment. I grew up riding percheron crosses, the draft gives bone and an easy going temperment, the lighter horse more athletisism and less bulk, with more stamina. Done right I love a percheron x thoroughbred or arab, etc.

Dont have much experience with canadian horses


Are Canadian Warmbloods as foolish (see above prejudice) as European ones?
I havent known many 'true' warmbloods to give you the most educated oppinion. We did have one hanovarian/thoroughbred mare(registered canadian warmblood) that was trained in dressage and could jump anything you pointed her at. We did lots of trails and even a compeditive trail competition. She definately was not "foolish".


What do you all expect when you read 'Sport Horse'?
Be wary of this term, its used widely and can apply to any number of things. Often it applys to draft crosses (friesian x, thoroughbredx, etc)


'all TB's have poor feet and no shoulder'
Not true. there are 6 thoroughbreds on the farm right now, they all have great feet, good shoulder and are super athletic, but they are fairly light boned(compared to draftx and warmbloods)

From what you describe, I would look for a draft cross, as you have had before. If you find a good one it would be able to do everything you describe, be tall with good bone, and have a smaller price tag(usually) than a warmblood.

smrobs 05-01-2012 11:26 AM

Heck, you could do well with just about anything. My first thought though is some form of draft cross or 1/4 draft. There are many out there that are large but not too heavy to be effective riding horses.

Being right in the middle of Texas cowboy country, I am rather limited in my experience regarding "unusual" breeds. Most of my experience revolves around drafts and stock type horses; quarter horses, paints, appys, TBs, etc.

I happen to have 2 draft crosses as well. One is a Belgian X QH that is going to turn out to be rather large and bulky and the other is a Percheron X Paint that looks like he's going to be a bit smaller and more refined...though more poorly conformed. The Belgian cross has very pleasant gaits and he is very calm and accepting of new things. The Percheron cross looks like he is going to be a rougher ride (very animated trot) and he is a bit more flighty and high strung. I know that temperament comes from his percheron daddy because his momma was a bit of a dead-head.

For more of a light endurance prospect, you may be able to find a Arab cross that has been crossed with a larger breed for more substance and height but still have the Arab endurance.

Another breed to consider is the BLM Mustang. They are often difficult to find in heights much taller than 15 hands, but the breed in general fits the rest of your needs well. They have good bone, solid feet, and a well conformed Mustang can do just as well at almost anything as any other average horse. The 'stang that I have has the most loyalty, the biggest personality, and the smoothest gaits of any horse I've ever seen/handled/ridden. He does anything and everything I ask of him and usually does it pretty darn well.

Jumperforjoy 05-01-2012 11:30 AM

Haha well although some warmbloods are foolish not all are, I own a Oldenburg mare who I bought from her breeder in Sask (province beside Alberta) and she is bloody amazing, I started out training her H/J but over the years and addition of a human baby I have been doing more pleasure and she has put up with me riding her in a western saddle down a trail, playing around with extreme cowboy challenge, and whatever I want her to do including leading around my almost three yr old son without setting a foot wrong.

I think with warmbloods it's really important to find the right one... Haha if you are a knowledgable horse person (which it sounds like you are) then when you go to look at one you will know pretty quick if it's foolish or perfect ;-p

I have nothing against a really good draft cross though either just need to get one with good conformation and mind, again you can usually tell the junk from treasure right away :-)

my first horse was a TB who never raced and was build like a brick s$@t house and was never lame a day, was a VERY easy keeper, amazing feet and when I sold her the vet doing the exam couldn't find anything wrong with her at age eleven, If possible when looking at TB's I recommend trying to find one that never raced but that's just personally experience as my girl was a star!

I hope you enjoy Alberta! Do you know what part your moving to yet? I am a born and raised albertan and it's not that bad ;)

We don't hunt here but if your looking for a fun new challenge you should look up the canadian cowboy challenge, great people, lots of fun and a challenge :)


its lbs not miles 05-01-2012 12:48 PM


Originally Posted by Shropshirerosie (Post 1481050)
What, 66 views and only one opinion? Come on, you lot can be opinionated when you try!

And thank you lbsnotmiles, I had never heard of that cross before (cross? breed?).

I've never ridden a gaited horse, and I have absolutely NO IDEA if I'd like it or not.

Oh, and I also forgot to mention that I also ride sidesaddle. So a breed with a nice smoooooth trot would be great!

GG are both a cross and a breed. Only about 20 years old as a breed, so you can still foundation animals.

Ok, for smooth ride....go gaited. There are some really nice gaited horses out there, but you might need to shop to find some with good heavy bones. It was easier 40 years ago, but even then things were changing. Breeding for shows has done to many gaited breeds what breeding for racing has done to many TB.

Our TWH (35 years ago) would have fit the bill. He was big boned and could cover the 4.5 miles to the cross roads in short order at a running walk. Of course with the TWH you have to get use to their head bobbing :lol:. Years ago I rode a couple of Saddlebred (not my own) that were an obsolute joy to ride, but they apparently paced instead of doing the racking gait. It matters to some people who worry about those things I guess. To me they were just an incredibly smooth ride. Both my TWH and those Saddlebreds had to be forced to actually trot. Otherwise they went from a regular walk to a very quick smooth pace moving at about the speed of a trot. My Walker really disliked doing an actual "trot".
Of course you need to make sure they gait. You can find some horses that don't naturally gait, even though they're a gaited breed.

Shropshirerosie 05-01-2012 03:16 PM

It is soooo exciting to consider the world is my oyster! Can someone please explain to me how the different gaits of a gaited horse feel? I have never seen one in the flesh, let alone ridden one. My horsey experience is as English as can be.... would I enjoy riding erm gaits, could I ??!

Shropshirerosie 05-01-2012 03:34 PM

argh, I just posted a longer reply then lost it.

JumperforJoy, we're moving to just West of Edmonton. And I'm up for any Challenge, cowboy or otherwise. I'll be planning on learning lots and having a lot of fun.

JumperforJoy and BlueSpark you have persuaded me to open my mind to Warmbloods. I think that my prejudice has come about by sharing a yard with some high level Dressage Queens who ride high-maintenance-high-spook-Diva-Warmbloods. I will cast aside my prejudices when I hit Canadian soil :lol:

SMRobs, it's funny. The breeds you refer to as being 'usual' are the unnusual ones over here. Quarter Horses are like Expensive Hen's Teeth here, and Appy's are fairly rare (or fairly poorly bred). What is a BLM Mustang please?

Anyone any suggestions as to the best route to looking when/before I arrive? I'd quite like to line up some horses to view as soon as we arrive so that I can have some riding time before the snow comes and I have to get my head round how to keep a horse in Alberta in the winter. I've looked at some forsale websites, and some breeders websites, but I feel like it's all so far away that without personal recommendations I'm a bit lost..?

BlueSpark 05-01-2012 03:44 PM

[QUOTE][Dressage Queens who ride high-maintenance-high-spook-Diva-Warmbloods/QUOTE]

every breed has these horses, i've seen thoroughbreds, arabians, quater horses, appys and a pure bred percheron that were big spooky divas. i would suggest surfing sites like kijiji. Quarter horses are every where here(the majority of horses) as are paints and appys. You can find quarter horses over 16hh and I would not totally overlook thoroughbreds either, some of the best horses i've ridden have been off the track thoroughbreds. You might be best to look once you get here. the last three horses i sold were all gone in less than two weeks, so its hard to plan ahead.

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