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Spastic_Dove 08-16-2008 09:14 PM

Draft Advice
I am looking at going more into English riding. Currently I am going to school, and would eventually like to open up a theraputic riding center for abused and or handicapped individuals. I've been working at a few similar places and have had the opportunity to work with some clydes and a fjord and I just fell in love with their tempermant. I am interested in buying a clyde, but I have never ridden one (Rode a belgian once for a few minutes). Unfortunatly I'm too far away from the old place I worked to be able to ride those.

What tips would you have for looking into getting a draft breed? I'm not that big of a person (about 5'5 and 130 lbs) so a cross may be better? I'm not sure...thats why I am asking for advice really.

Any tips/advice would be great.

danastark 08-17-2008 01:27 AM

My colt is probably a clyde cross and I've been thrilled with him. Having never had a draft horse before and learning what I have in the 3 years I've had him, I would say that as a person who has never had a draft horse, start considering what would be different in owning a draft horse- for example clydes have lots of feathers and often get scratches (fungal infection) under all that hair, which requires daily care-would you be able to do that? They also have very big feet which means more expensive shoeing and more difficulty finding a farrier willing to work on your horse, more food and sometimes more expensive diets if your horse has EPSM, a larger trailer, more expensive tack, etc. A draft cross might be better as you still get the draft horse you want without quite so much size, less feathers, etc. Just enter into draft ownership with knowledge :)

Kirsti Arndt 08-18-2008 12:15 PM

i like the crosses too but have never owned or even ridden a purebred draft-read up on all the draft breeds- they are always listed as having a wonderful temperment but it also depends on breeding, care, etc like any other animal-somethings are more expensive- like trailers-, farriers, saddles, but if you find a draft that suits you the extra expense is well worth it. (with english riding a draft cross is great) especially if you have long legs-

Ozzys mum 08-21-2008 09:55 AM

I own a full clydesdale gelding, and am smaller then you (5'2 and about 115lbs) and my size doesn't give me any problem with him. My coach that is a bit bigger then me, she rides him and says the only thing that she finds is if he isn't listening to your leg you need to school on that a bit longer till he listens to you. But that said, we also don't need to lunge him before riding him either.

As long as you were able to buy a quiet clyde (because they are not ALL gentle giants) then you should be fine. The only probably I can see if you want to eventually use one for theraputic riding, is their size. Oz is 18hh and to try and stick anyone on him, even with the ramp, its still a struggle. That said his personality is very theraputic for those that don't have any interest in riding but just would like to touch or be around one of these big guys.

EPSM - well its a crap shoot if your horse is going to get that... but its really no bigger risk then some of the other disorders and issues that lighter horses can get.

The only thing that has caused issues is 1) tack (although he is now totally outfitted, and big tack is becoming more and more readily available 2) larger trailer - this can be expensive 3) wormers - you have to double up all the time 4) farriers - about double a light horse for most farriers. 5) coaches - until I found my incrediable one now, I had a lot of coaches that were intimidated by his size and would coach us. Now as we are flying over the jumps and improving weekly, they relize they made a big mistake.

Is there anything in particular you are looking for tips about.

Solon 08-22-2008 06:29 PM

Drafts should be on a high fat diet - it might help preventing them from getting EPSM although I think that's up for debate. Keep them off the sugar, better to be safe than sorry.

And yes, drafts are NOT gentle giants. I hate it when people say or advertise their drafts that way! It gives off the wrong idea that they are big dumb doggy type horses.

Farrier will be your toughest thing to deal with. So many won't work with them. Get that sort of stuff worked out before you bring one home. I don't know much about crosses except I've seen very few draft crosses that looked good. Usually big bodies and small heads or big heads and small bodies or big bodies and small feet. Not good.

Mine grew out of his trailer and since I don't really go anywhere with him I haven't been trailer shopping.

Also be aware there are different sizes within the drafts. Small, medium and large. Mine is on the larger size. A lot of people prefere the smaller ones that are at about 15 hands or so.

Drafts are certainly the best breed to own!

Spastic_Dove 08-26-2008 07:33 PM

Eek, I didn't mean to call them gentle giants and make it seem like they were dopey. I just love all the ones I've met in general...Of course there will be not so gental drafts. Sorry if that came off the wrong way.=P

As far as the theraputic goes, it wouldnt be so much for the riding aspect as for work with groundwork, taking care of them, building confidence and responsibility, etc.

I havent heard anything much about this disease EPSM? Thats exactly the kind of thing I wanted to know about it. Is it just a certain breed/bloodline or does it run in all drafts? I will have to look it up.

I have talked to some people in the area, and my farrier does work on draft horses so if I was in the same area, he would be able to do it for me. But who knows where I will be when I get one. I am in no rush.

I buy alot of my tack over the internet, so I would probably just do the same for a larger horse. (Though I am looking at more a medium sized horse. 15.3 - 16.3 probably).

The one thing I've been having trouble finding are trailers. I've been able to find extra tall/wide trailers and warmblood trailers but I think I would have to be looking for bigger...Any suggestions for that?

Solon 08-26-2008 07:37 PM

The gentle giant thing wasn't directed at you!! Just people who advertise them that way when selling them. It seems that any draft breed is susceptible and even some light horses.

They shouldn't have any sugar feeds. There is an excellent book called Draft Horses, an Owner's Manual by Dr. Beth Valentine. It is the BIBLE for draft horses, so if you get one, make sure you get the book! You can buy it on Amazon.

Spastic_Dove 08-26-2008 08:03 PM

Thanks a bunch! =)

TxHorseMom 10-01-2008 04:57 AM

Actually, ESPM is an inherited disease. Many different types of breeds have ESPM. They don't get it from eating sugar. Although eating sugar can excerbate symptoms and they should be on a high fat, low carb diet if they have it. You do not have to exclude grain from a draft or draft cross unless they have ESPM or are exceptionally fat.

Here is a good article by Perdue.

Solon 10-01-2008 09:55 AM

I'm following Dr. Beth's work on this subject. She's has some really good information in her book.

And light horses can definitely get EPSM as well, it seems to be more common in drafts though.

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