Draft horse for a first horse? Yay or Nay?
So I've heard from a friend, who has 2 Percherons, that they are one of the best horses he has ever had. He says that they will do pretty much anything for you, very hardy, and were the choice horse for the Knights long ago. And that they were even trained to defend a downed Knight.
A couple of my friends, who are partial to Paints and Quarters, say they are a very good, all around breed.
But would they be a very good first horse? I am in the process of buying horse supplies and I'm trying to find a good horse that would fit me.
I don't plan to show, do barrels, or poles, I only really want to trail ride. When I see myself on a horse, I see myself riding through our woods, down back roads, or maybe going out to do trails with friends.
What do you guys think? I've heard a lot of info but it's mainly been from my friends who like Quarters and Paints best so I'd like to hear from some people who have Drafts :)
Any info would be great! :)
Well, there are a lot of different factors involved. It would probably depend on how much horse experience you have and knowing if you would be intimidated by such a large horse. Riding a large breed, even handling a large breed, no matter how gentle can be intimidating. Will you work with someone to give you lessons if you aren't experienced? Will this particular horse need training?
Draft horses are gentle and very forgiving. However, just their size can overwhelm some people. A light horse can accidentally hurt you, and a draft is twice the size and weight sometimes. They may be less reactive than some light horses, but it can be a double edged sword if you don't know how to be the leader and handle them.
If you are experienced or have experienced people to help you, I can't say it would be a bad thing. It could be a wonderful thing. Just have to be very aware of reality and not approach the situation with rose colored glasses.
If you plan on getting a draft horse, you probably won't be able to just start running to your local tack shop to stock up on things....chances are they won't carry the sizes you will need. Usually things like bits, fly masks, sheets, blankets, cinches, girths, reins, halters and bridles have to be ordered. Also make sure that you have a local farrier that will trim/shoe a draft....and without anything special such as stocks. You will also need to do your homework with diet......
If you have everything in order and the knowledge or help, it could be a beautiful thing!
A lot of it will depend on the individual horse including its temperament and training. My husband has a draft cross and it would be an excellent first horse as Apache takes care of him wonderfully. On the other hand my friend has a draft cross and its spooky and hard to handle so needs a more experienced handler but it hasn't been worked with much beyond initial saddle training. Same can be found in QHs as well - or any breed for that matter. Good ones for beginners and others better left to more advanced riders.
Since you mostly just want to trail ride you will not be limited by breed. You could get drafts, draft crosses, QHs, Morgans, haflingers, mustangs, etc. Set a price range and then try out various breeds that fall in that range that are well trained and described as beginner mounts and see which one you are most comfortable with. You may find its a draft or QH or it might even be a mutt of unknown breeds. What matters is that it has the training you need and the temperament for a beginner.
When I do a search for a horse, the only thing I put in is my price range and like a 100 mile radius from my house. The only horses that pop up are pretty much Quarters and Paints. And I don't really want to settle for what those options are giving me. You know? I guess it's kinda hard to describe what I'm trying to say lol
Oldhorselady and Cat gave great advice!
How much expierence do you have?
I had had horses for years before I took in my former Clydesdale. He was spoiled, hadn't been handled in years, but after loads of work he turned out great and had the best personality. All I can add is make sure you choose a horse suitable to your needs. A draft that has been trail ridden, recently, take a knowledgeable draft person with you for a second opinion, and get a PPE.
Good luck on your search! You may want to look around for people who do carriage rides and see where they got theirs, or you may have to broaden your range.
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I have experience but I'd say I'm more intermediate
Sometimes dealing with a draft can be apples and oranges. If you get one that has had someone working with it regularly and has been exposed to trail riding and that type of stuff, you will probably be fine. If you get one that has been sitting in a pasture for years and was not taught those things, you may or may not have a problem. A 2000lb animal that is much less of a reactive-type horse is much harder to push around, or convince to move, than their lighter counter-parts. If you aren't a strong leader, they can just stand there like a statue. The frustration, unlike the light horses, is not out of them bucking or rearing, but out of the balking, trying to get their strong head/necks soft and fluid and them moving from underneath you! And, if one does spook or get nutty, you must be confident and able to direct their energy while they tower over you, rather than next to you....and make sure you don't get stepped on with those dinner plate feet.
Maybe you can work with your friends horses and get familiar and comfortable around them. See how you react to them and practice what it would be like to have one of them.
As already mentioned, it would be easier to get tack for a "regular" sized horse than a draft-have you looked on dreamhorse? Also ads at local feed/tack stores may be a thought to check out. Some might have their tack available also. Good luck w/the horse search.
I would say it very much depends on you and the horse in question.
I have worked with multiple draft breeds and one thing I found common among all of them is they really require a strong leader to keep a harmonious relationship going. This doesn't mean be rougher with them or anything, but more confident. Every draft I have ever met will, eventually, take advantage of someone who is timid or even a bit fearful of them - they know exactly how big they are and it is their terrific temperments (as a general rule) that are to thank for them working with us... But most are not completely above temptation.
That said, my hubby's first horse (and he has little real horse experience, but was raised with livestock) was a Clyde stud colt... Now stallion. It has worked because the match of personality is right on. This horse has a more dominant personality which meshes well with my totally fearless and (some might say) stubborn but calm hubby. Whenever this colt got ideas about taking control, he was corrected and life moved on, the result is a really quiet, well mannered stallion. If he had been my horse, I probably would've sold him years ago. (The two of us, in spite of my horse experience, do not get on all that well at all. I am a bit more assertive and higher energy. .. Our relationship is somewhat comical at times as he enjoys coming up with ways to avoid doing what I ask, I swear, just for kicks... Never really in a dangerous or aggressive way, just in that truly annoying, dread having to work with him because it's "work" kind of way)
I have also met several people who have bought drafts or big draft crosses for their first horse, on the conception that they are calm, placid and very gentle animals... Only to find they can also be willful and stubborn.
You will not strong arm them into anything... And if you come on too strong they will often turn into big, unmoveable, horse statues. They also have the patience of Job... So when they have made up their mind not to do something, it's often a real challenge to change it.
Less reactive? Often, but Not always. My mare is as sensitive as any light horse I've met, and more than some... Caught me by surprise (yes, *hangs head in shame*, I bought a draft thinking she would be kind, quiet and gentle... And found out she is kind and gentle... But not especially quiet and rather "easily offended" - which means our relationship has had some... Large potholes and speedbumps... We are finally coming to terms with each other, it's only been 7 or 8 years... LOL). I love her to bits though, even reactive as she is (and that trait is not entirely unwelcome... She is the easiest horse in the world to work around because she will move, go, turn at the softest cue...), I trust her over most other horses to do everything in her power to not hurt me.
So just really be honest with yourself about your personality/expectations, go meet and work with a few drafts and see how it goes before deciding one way or another. You may find a draft is exactly right for you, or that you want something else.
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