If I had a quarter for all the negative advice regarding owning drafts...
...I'd have about five dollars already and I've only had my two for about two weeks!
I know that it is well meaning sometimes, but the icing on the cake was when I emailed a ferrier about becoming clients (we are on a small remote island - I need to find that *special* one that will come to us) and he told me it was too far and then "Good luck with your horses. Drafts come with big vet bills!":shock:
Oh geez, I'm really starting to regret this a little, and I haven't even gotten to know them yet. I've never owned drafts before, but QHs for many many years, many years ago.
Is this negative advice/warnings that I'm getting just because people don't understand drafts, or am I in for it more than I would have been with a couple little Arabians or something? I find this hard to believe but I'm in that stage where I know that I don't know anything so I thought I would put it out to all you wise draft admirers.
Relax, drafts are just like QHs some are great keepers some aren't. I've had my guys (3) for over 5 years, had the vet out twice other than regular shots/coggins.
1. was a colic which was both our faults, mine for changing feed to quickly and his for eating it. :-)
2. Testing for cushings which unfortunately was postive.
Alot of farriers will charge more for the big guys, I'm a lucky one mine don't, but he likes my guys they don't give any trouble like alot of the smaller horses.
Also make sure you keep on top of trimmings. The big guys have a lot more weight to support on that 1/4 inch growth than a lite horse does.
Next time some one has a comment that you want to kick them for just say." Thats the price I'm willing to pay to own a REAL horse, instead of a stick pony"
I don't find that drafts come with any bigger vet bills than any other horse. Luckily, we have very healthy drafts, and only see the vet for yearly shots.
The farrier does charge a bit more to trim our guys,but I'm okay with that, he knows drafts and does a great job. Gmac is right, keep on top of the trims though, as a little overgrowth causes too much damage. Ours are trimmed every 6 weeks.
2 of our drafts eat only hay(in winter, graze all summer), no grain, and one eats grain and hay. People assume that big horses come with big food bills, and that's not what I have found. Though they do each eat a bale of hay per day in the winter, that does get costly.
Enjoy your drafts. They are great horses!
I don't agree with the big bills either. I consider my percheron mare to be an easy keeper. At 17.1 / 2000lbs, she eats a little more than our standard painted saddle, but nothing extravagant... The ferrier costs about 15 bucks more also, but other than that, normal horse rules and costs apply (for us).
She WAS a little more intimidating to me when I got her than she is now. She was my first horse and relatively large. But then at about the 3 month mark (of ownership), after she foaled an unexpected colt, I had to really step up to taking care of both mom and baby from about the 4hr point. We imprinted him and helped mom do her thing, etc... Long story short, our relationship ever since (now) is nothing short of amazing. She is the most laid back and wonderful personality, I've really fallen totally in love with her and can do literally anything I need to with her and she knows me just as well.
The point of my rant (lol), in my opinion, drafts are just effin' amazing (especially mine hehe), I'm soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo happy that I got mine! I'd say that it costs (roughly) 10% more across the board for her than our regular spotted saddle.
All horses have big vet bills, its because they are horses. You might have trouble with finding a farrier. In my area, a lot of drafts come out of Amish country and for whatever reason they are not good about picking up their feet. Farriers don't want to handle that so you have to take some searching. I think your best bet to find a farrier for your draft is to talk to someone else with drafts and use their farrier. Take heart I have worked with a lot of quarter horses and would take a draft any day. They just seem to take everything in stride.
I would also make sure that you can handle their feet with ease... Make sure they couldn't care less about having things rubbing their legs etc. so that the farrier doesn't have to train them for you. Also make sure they pick their feet up easily. Just my 2 cents
Thanks everyone for all the positive words! It's nice to know that my gut reaction was right in the first place - bigger horses, but that's about it. I'll take your advise and march confidently forward!
As my farrier said to me: "The cheapest part of owning a horse is the purchase price." Does my farrier charge me a lot more than he charges my for my daughter's horse? Yes, yes he does. I knew this when I bought my horse. Yes, he eats about 3 times as much daughter's horse, but guess what... I've wanted a Belgian draft for 20 years, and I'm finally in a station in life where I can afford one. I wouldn't trade him for anything.
When asked "what are you going to do with that?" My stock response has always been "Why get my fat ass on him and ride him."
My Percheron has cost me way less in vet bills than my Arab. Ahab (Percheron) thinks before he acts and he hardly ever acts anyway. Djinn (Arabian) was a lot more fiery and consequently, hurt himself more.
Also, Ahab doesn't spook and seems unbelievably safe to ride, (partly because it takes a government decree to get him to move :-(), while Djinn was really fun to ride, but would occasionally spook unexpectedly.
In some ways it is also easier to get someone to care for them when you are away; they are pretty predictable. I found out, after the fact, that one of my horse's caregiver had let her 4 year old son crawl around under Ahab's belly and between his legs. After I got over the shock, all I could think was, "Thank God it was Ahab, and not Djinn."
The only thing I've found a lot more expensive is the trimmer - but I'd charge more to have that much weight trying to lean on me too!
People always thing they eat more - like a bale a day. It's weird. Lots of bizarre misconceptions out there!
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