what breed of draft?
I'm considering purchasing a draft for doing farm chores. What breed of draft would be good for tilling soil, cutting grass, dragging timber. I've been around horses all my life but this will be the first time to consider a draft. Any suggestions?
I'm spoiled to Belgians but have worked Percherons, Suffolks, Halflingers, American Creams, Shires, Gypsy Vanners, even a pair of Freisians and driven many a Clyde but never used for farm work just because the owner wasn't interested. My preference is to have a body fitting the work intended and if you are new to drafts a horse already trained to the task. In other words don't buy a hitchy horse that is tall and lean that moves out in a flashy manner for farm work unless you also intend to show or use for carriage work. You want shorter, sturdier and with pulling power for drawing implements through or across the ground.
Just about any draft or even a lot of draft crosses would be good. Belgians seem to be the easiest to obtain - at least around here but we are hoping to someday ad a black Percheron to our herd. It will probably come down to what you can find in your area, what look you like, and the personality & training of each individual more than breed.
Any of them, as this is what they were all bred for.
I personally own Belgians. A lot of people own Percherons. There are others who own Clydesdales or Shires. I wouldn't focus so much on what breed of draft would be best, I'd shop for a draft horse in general, and find one that meets your criteria, regardless of breed.
Somethings you'll need to decide on:
Broke? Needs to be trained?
Broke single or just double?
Temperment? (energetic or calm, every horse is an individual, even in each breed)
If you haven't owned a draft before and are new to driving, I'd suggest you get a draft that is around 12-15 years old, broke and been there done that when it comes to farming and logging. I suggest the horse be easy going, calm and patient as well as confident and steady. These are traits of most drafts, but, the better trained they are and the calmer they are, the better you will be. If they know their job, it will help you learn and they'll be more forgiving of your mistakes as you learn.
Find an old farmer with a beginner friendly team.
Welcome to the forum.
Where are you in the world? That will probably make a difference, as to the horses for sale in your area. Definitely get an older horse who is trained. Well trained. If you don't know how to harness correctly, make sure someone knowledgeable, teaches you.
If you are in the US, you should be able to find well trained Belgians more easily. Trained Amish horses come up constantly in rescues and auctions. Check out rescues first. Give a call to my friend Beth at Squirrelwood rescue in NY. She rescues Belgians and rehabs them. She has a couple she has kept for her personal farm work. There are other Belgian rescues too. Of course any Draft horse can do or be trained to do, the work you want, but since you are new to it, then you need a horse who knows his business. There used to be a magazine called The Draft Horse Journal, or something like that. It was geared toward working horses.
Just remember, that harnessing, hitching to a plough or wagons etc., MUST be done properly or bad accidents can happen, so do get someone to teach you before jumping in.
Good luck and do keep us posted as to what you come up with.
I'd say if you want something showy to pull a wagon, get a Percheron or a clyde. If you want something easy to get, get a Belgian. Farmwork or logging get a Suffolk. They are all great breeds though, the biggest thing is to take your time and find one that has the right temperment and build for you and what you want to do.
My preferance of draft is the big ole Clydesdales.I have a 1/2 Clydes/1/2 paint.Big boy he is.
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