Horseless In Colorado But Saving Up!
Hey everyone! My name is Cali and I'm horseless. I'm 23 years old and have limited experience with horses. As a child, I used to read horse novels up and down. I worked briefly as a stablehand at a local barn about 10 years ago, but I don't remember too much (memory problems from an accident in 2009). I'm sure the basics are stored in my brain somewhere but I just can't recall them.
Anyway, it has become a goal to acquire two to three equines. My current desire is to have a draft (probably a Belgian) and one or two miniature donkey jennys. Ideally, I'll only get one mini, but it would seem that having another donkey pal is most recommended. From my understanding, they are much like guinea pigs in that they do better in pairs or groups and you see some really interesting behaviors when they are around their own kind. I've just started serious research but have decided that I'll be looking for jennys at least 13 years old and perhaps seniors. I'll be looking for a gelding draft of at least seven years. I know that I'll be looking for traffic-safe, friendly, non-spooking, non-green, easy keeper, and trained beginner-level animals. The jennys will hopefully be trained in packing and the draft would need to be familiar with riding. I would consider some carriage experience as a plus.
I get the impression that donkeys in general are not as stubborn as believed if they are trained well and have an assured human. I also get the impression that despite drafts being called "gentle giants" in general, that they can and probably will be stubborn/pushy if they don't have a strong leader. I'm not sure if I will be, but I know I'll find out as I learn more about horses and their proper care. I don't think I'll be too intimidated by a huge horse after I learn what I can and can't do with a horse. I'll just have to watch those feet!
I am currently searching out possibilities for boarding, vets, and farriers because I know it can be difficult finding anything that is draft-appropriate. I'm also doing a separate search for the donkeys as I know their hooves need to be cut at a different angle.
Other than this, I am working on saving up at least $20,000 before getting any sort of equine and I'm going to be taking riding lessons this summer after I lose some weight. I don't imagine there will be many horses that can hold my 207 pounds without some strain. I am currently of the thought that I will end up getting the jennys first so that I have some experience in care and can work more on my riding level. Besides, I'm sure it will take a long while to find the "perfect" draft.
So, I just wanted to say hi and wanted to pose five questions:
Do you think I should wait to get the draft horse until I know how to ride, or find the horse first to learn on?
I know there is a trade school near me that teaches horsemanship. Do you think it would be worth taking classes just to expand my knowledge? I doubt I'll do horsemanship-related careers but may learn some interesting things.
Should I wait until after I get the equines to buy my toolbox of stuff? This would include tack, blankets, hoof care, sprays, ointments, etc. I know it's hard to size tack without having the animal measured, but other basic stuff?
Those with draft horses in boarding, what sort of pen/stall do you have to use? I was thinking a double pen would probably be the best option, though it will be expensive. Or perhaps pasture... I know Colorado tends to be more dry-lot than anything.
Lastly, should I be worried that a large draft will break the pen fences? I can't imagine how one would prep a smaller pen with electric wiring without having the horse afraid to move about a run.
Thanks for any answers. I'd love to meet some Colorado people too! I've been asking around offline for recommendations on trainers and stables, but suggestions from anyone here would be so much more helpful! I've spent a good week lurking here so far and see that there is such a wealth of information.
Welcome to the forum Cali!!
Where are you at? I'm in Boulder.
If you aren't busy and just want to go look, head over to the Adams County Fairgrounds next Friday. Harley's having his spring sale. It will give you an idea of how much draft and donkey equipment runs.
Thanks HorseLovinLady, Left Hand Percherons!
Do you mean April 5th at the Adams County Fairgrounds? I think I might be able to make it. I'm out in Wheat Ridge... practically Golden. Bibber Creek Stables is about seven miles from me if that tell you much. I'll do my best to make it out that way. I was going through one of my favorite catelogs from Valley Vet and I think just for a draft horse I'll end up spending a good $5000 on horse stuff! I haven't even looked at treats, toys, or tack yet!
That's the one. Carts, farm equipment, junky stuff and harness sell Friday. Drafts and light drivers sell Sat. (riders sell friday evening). You don't have to spend that much. I've picked up $1K leather harness for $300. Add a collar and pad $75. A new set of lines another $40. You can sometimes pick up training carts (funky homemade ones that are perfectly functional) for $50-100. If you want a slicker model, that will set you back $600-1K depending upon what accessories you get with it. Saddles are a bit of a chore to get right but I've had good luck with dressage saddles and Wade full QH saddles. Just go and check prices. Get a number so you get on his mailing list. They will have a smaller sale in July and another big one in October. If we don't have an OK hay crop, there will be alot of big horses dumped at the October sale. Friday they are also having the Colorado Draft Horse Association annual meeting and it might be worth it to drop in on that (usually it's right before or right after harness sell). It's tough to buy until you get a horse. You might find a really nice smaller 16H draft or draftX that will never fit into full draft tack so don't buy (unless it's something that's a one size fits all like brushes) I'm going to Opening day or I'd be there.
Too bad you didn't post last week. There was an aged Percheron mare (retired carriage horse) on CL for free. She would of been a great horse to learn to drive with and she was broke WT under saddle. I was actually tempted but I was good.
I will do my best to make it even if I have to bus (just got my learner's permit for driving at 23. Lol). I'll be only looking and researching as I haven't saved up any money at all. I'm... between jobs. I fully expect not to be able to afford a horse for 18-24 months at least. So I am very very glad I missed the aged Percheron on CL. I would have tried to come home with her without being able to care for her. I know horses can get fat on air, but I don't think I should test it!
Half of the tack you listed are ones I'm not familiar with yet, so I think I'll need to look those up too. I'm hopefully going to make the DHA annual meeting as I think it will be great fun, even if I don't have much to share yet.
Does Harley often sale at this place or is it rare?
Thank you for all this information you've given me so far! I never would have found it on my own.
I'm in Northern Colorado in an itty bitty little town (we have a water tower and uh... a cafe that's currently open but is known for going belly up every few years).
I wouldn't buy anything until after you get the horse (except a halter/leadrope... I forgot and trailered a green 4yr old home tied with a dog leash.. oops!). You never know what you will need/want, I bought all new brushes with each horse so far, one only tolerated silky soft brushes, the other likes stiff brushes.
Not sure how far you are from Parker but I bought my guy from a really good trainer there. She does lessons as well as boarding and she started/trained my guy, so I know she's good!
Thanks so much! I might bribe a friend for a ride. It's just so hard to say at this point. My boyfriend is getting ready for one of his trade shows out in Burbank, so we have to take it day by day until he's all packed.
You were right about the link. According to my browser history, I've been there before. The name just didn't click. I'll browse around his site again and find that link.
If you are willing to make me a halter, I would be more than grateful. I don't think most horses care much about color. When I get a bit closer to buying, I will definitely let you know. Thank you again for offering all this help!
Delfina, how did you manage to trailer that green horse! From what I understand greens can and will do some wild moves if they don't understand what's happening. Wheat Ridge isn't too far from Parker. I don't know if you know that area, but I'm near I-70 and Wadsworth. I'm between Denver and Golden. I'm willing to go to Parker for a good lesson teacher and am looking for recommendations. I figure it's the best way to find the best. :)
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