I've wanted to have a horse since i was a little girl (i'm now 19 almost 20). I've recently been working with a woman, help out with her horses (feeding, mucking out, taking out etc). I'm pretty big (300lbs but will get down to 150/200 before riding) so been think about a draft for a while, and decided on a Clydesdale. I'm planning on getting a yearling (i know they must be atleast 3 before riding them), I've talked with the lady i'm helping out at the moment, and she said she will help me out with training ect (she's owned horses over 30years, and owned a couple of youngsters (one who is now 22)
I'm planning on learning natural horsemanship, and when eventually start riding i'll be using a bitless bridel. And also going barefoot. (i've found a site called wildhooves.co.uk which is very close to me.)
If anyone can give me more info and advice i'd greatly appreciate it.
Are you riding horses now?
I would suggest you take riding lessons, lease a horse under the supervision of a stable or barn before you get a young horse.
I'm not currently riding at the moment, but the lady i'm helping is riding instructor, and works with (and i think helps train) troubled horses, she said that she's willing to teach me to ride once i've lost some weight (the one horse she has is a draft cross, his previous owner was bigger than me, but i think she feels more comfortable with me getting down to about 17 stone). I'm not looking to get a horse for at least a year, so i'll have about 3-4 years yet before i will be riding mine that i get, so i should have learned quite a bit by then (not to sound big headed, but i learn very quickly, lol)
It's not about learning to ride properly. It's about handling horses properly. A yearling is a tender age, where good or bad habits can be made. How long have you been around horses? Would you have the ability to train that horse so it is a polite, proper horse when it is time to ride it? Green horsemen should not own green horses, it can end in disaster for both people. Is there a particular reason why you want a yearling? If not trained properly, the horse can be unruly. And no one wants an unruly freight train with a mind of its own.
If you have never owned a heavy horse before, please don't get a yearling. You would be much better off getting yourself a 3yr old Clydesdale who is ready for backing or a slightly older one already backed. I got my first Clydesdale when he was a backed 4 year old and I was 49. He was an absolute dream horse and I learned so much from him about the proper care of my own heavy horse (even though I have been around heavies all my life). Owning your own is very different. I learned about feeding, foot care, riding style and how it feels with a heavy. Totally different from riding a pony, TB, cob, hunter or sports horse. I waited another 18months before I bought myself a 'baby' Clydesdale. He is a yearling and very, very different to my now 5year old. His nutritional requirements are different, he is not at all sure footed (think Bambi on ice) and is growing at a rapid rate and his body shape changes by the week. He has benefitted from having 'horse' buddies who are teaching him how to behave like a horse and me, teaching him manners around humans. Both my Clydesdales have the most wonderful temperaments but if you want good advice, unless you know exactly what you are doing with Clydesdales, don't buy a baby/yearling for your first venture. Go for a more mature horse, they don't stop growing until they are 7 anyway. You are right that they can't be backed for riding until they are 3 year olds and in the UK, they will not be considered for pulling work, cart work until they are a minimum of 6 years old. They take a long, long time to mature but I can tell you, they are worth the wait. Good luck and there is no such thing as a 'bad 'un' in Clydesdales.
Kayella posted some very good advice.
About the same time I started learning to ride, and posting on horsey forums, a guy I know (who was in the same boat as myself) wanted to know about buying a horse. He wanted a youngster, so that he could bond with it better, etc, etc.
Everyone I know (including myself, and I wasn't an expert but thought it was common sense) said to go with an older horse that had a lot more experience. An older horse will teach you as much as you teach him.
The guy ended up with a 4yo Thoroughbred mare. In the four years he had her, he managed to get 100 yards down the road. She was too much for him to handle, and did absolutely nothing for his confidence.
By contrast, I sat on one horse once before taking her out for a hack by myself. She was Clydesdale-X-cob. It also helped that she was a lot older and had done more in the school or on hacks than his TB.
Learn as much as you can before even contemplating getting a horse. Help out, volunteer at the RDA or something. Even when you do get one, you won't know everything, but you will have a good basis for the rest of your experience. It might take longer than a few years, but remember - you can't learn everything all at once.
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