Can someone please clarify this?
Hi, I'm new to this site, but I've been looking at several posts made in the past by users and also researched the subject online, and it's just a big jumbled mess. Anyways, my question is, what breed/cross is best for a beginner "plus sized" rider? Plus sized as in roughly 250 pounds, I absolutely love horses and I'm still a student but I'm looking into riding lessons, but the closest stable only teaches small children how to ride. I'm not interested in participating in eventing of any sort, just leisure riding. Some people say that larger draft horses are suited for larger riders, while others say that equestrian vets say otherwise. I've also read that people are sticking to the "20%" rule, if that's the case I would have to ride a relatively large draft horse. Other people suggest that a stocky QH would be the best. I have never ridden a horse, but I'm trying to find a horse suitable to be ridden by a larger person like me. Does anyone have a logical suggestion, or possibly pictures to show what I should be looking for? I'm sorry for re-posting yet again another one of the same ranting thread posts, but I'm horribly confused.
It is my unprofessional opinion that riders over 200lbs should be on a horse with a very thick, rugged build. This brings to mind Percherons, Belgians, draft crosses, etc. The key is to make sure that the animal's LEGS and BACK can support the weight.
I think that the opinion that drafts are not the best suited might stem from the same reason that minis are not suited for riding: they are built to PULL, not carry. However, modern drafts and especially draft crosses are built for riding more so than pulling. The key is to make sure the horse's legs and back can support you.
So in conclusion, I would suggest looking for well-developed, middle-aged (10-18 years) draft crosses. I popular place to start might be a Percheron/QH cross, or Belgian (the "American Belgian" is actually technically the Flemish Horse) crosses. Stay clear of such crosses like Georgian Grandes (Saddlebred x Friesian), as beautiful as they are, they are still lighter than necessary.
You might find a Draft Mule to be very suitable as well - smart, big boned, and capable of being very nice all-around mounts, Mules are great trail companions as well; they are steadfast and surefooted, and often times are prone to protect the group in the event of danger.
Hope this helped some!
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I could be wrong but I think it's not size but stockiness. You want a horse that has a short strong back, and can use its back with ease. More bone density.. not necessarily height.
drafts are designed for pulling, even if they werent they eat more, take special shoes, special tack and special sadddles jacking up your expenses.
Look for a beefy well built stocky QH or Tennesse walker. Personally I say the Walker, as you wont have to deal with the trotting and will enjoy your rides. Although there are exception, old school big bodied QH and Walkers are also well known for easy going dispositions something that is probably more important for you right now than looking for a specific breed. Any solid decent sized horse isnt gonna have an issue with you once it gets in shape. I really wouldnt call you plus sized. I also wouldnt pay any attention to the 20% old wives tale little girls like to regurgitate. Most dont even know the source or the conditions the source applies to. If it was true then nearly every western rider in the country would be wrong and abusing their horses.
actually, my 18H draft horse is barefoot, eats no more than my 14.2 H paint & yes her tack is her size just like my Appendix has a long back & can wear a double skirt western saddle but my 14.2 H paint has a short back & wears a barrel racing saddle with a single skirt. my draft drives, rides English & Western & can carry a baby or a plus size person with out a problem....all that being said, OP, a concern for capacity to carry is great but pay a lot of attention to the fact that you have "never ridden a horse before" according to your original post..this single fact is so much more important a horse with the patience to deal with beginner mistakes is imperative!
You haven't owned many drafts have you? My Belgians eat less than most lighter breeds. Right now my gelding gets 1lb of grain a day and a bale of hay a day... He's barefoot and while he needs a wider saddle, most saddle companies are willing to take a wither tracing and make your saddle to fit... The tack doesn't cost anymore than owning a QH.
OP, a lot of draft horses are VERY laid back and easy going. I'd first find a trainer/riding instructor to help you shop for a horse, that way, you have an educated and experienced eye that can catch things that you might not be able to. A draft or draft cross is a very good option, one with a short back especially. A horse with a long back will have too much stress put on its back, with any rider, not just a plus sized rider. Even a halflinger or fjord (they're considered draft ponies although a lot of them can make 14.2h-15h) would work and they'd be closer to the ground if you were worried about height.
Being a new rider, you should look for a horse over 10, maybe about 12-15y/o that has been there done that, beginner/husband safe and can be a confidence builder for you.
If you scroll down on the forum page, there is a group called Plus Sized Riders, I post on there... They can probably help you too!
I would disagree that at that weight a draft be a requirement. My hubby is a very stocky guy (not fat but very muscular) and weighs 220, plus a 35 lb saddle. His favorite to ride here - a 15hh bulldog QH. She has zero problems handling that weight and could go all day.
It's going to be dependent on the horse, solid bone, nice short strong back & croup. The ability of the rider also makes a huge difference, I'd rather see a heavier, balanced rider on any of my horses over a light rider that sits a horse like a sack of potatoes.
I agree with getting lessons & a trainer first. Improving your riding ability may open your options as far as horses go and having a trainer (that most likely hears of horses for sale that may not be advertised) will be a great benefit. Good luck!
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