Can someone enlighten me in regards to Belgians?
I am looking for a second horse. I bought a house with a horsebarn and acreage, but my horse is the social type that wouldn't do well without a companion. I'm really interested in learning more about drafts, particularly Belgians. I've always felt more comfortable riding bigger horses, and they all seem like such gentle giants. How are they to ride? If I wanted to show him/her in dressage, (lower levels) would I be better off pursuing a cross? Is there anything I would benefit from knowing about them? So far alot of people have told me they eat far too much, but IME the clyde we had at the barn at one time didn't eat an insane amount more than his shorter friends...
If you have any pictures of your drafts I'd love to see them...
I don't know who has been telling you drafts eat "insanely" more, but they don't; most drafts eat less than smaller horses, or the same amount. In my experience, feed them too much, and you end up with a walking sofa.
I've ridden a belgian and I own a draft cross; both have been very smooth to ride, and I preffer riding them than smaller horses, but I may just either not be picky, or of gotten comfortable rides.
I know nothing of showing, so I can't help you there.
Drafts are usually very gentle and easy to train; if you're new to horses, I recommend you do NOT get a "project" draft. Their size alone makes things harder. If they spook, they're harder to control; if they're tied, they can easily break loose; if they step on you or kick you, it hurts a lot more. Mind you, most drafts are very level-headed. I'm just warning you.
Big, lovely horses with good temperaments. Poop like elephants. :-P
Belgians tend to be one of the more mellow draft breeds. I don't know about how they ride as I have never ridden one but each individual horse will travel differently. Some will be really smooth and others will be terribly rough. If you want to show in dressage and be successful, you might have better luck with a nice balanced cross where you get the size but also have more suitable conformation. I have a belgian mare and a QH cross foal out of her. Both have the most amazing go with the flow attitudes and are perfectly content to stand there and be loved on all day.
I have 3 Belgian geldings, 2 drive as a team and also ride. The ride is pretty smooth at a walk but the trot is terrible to ride. My younger gelding (18.2 hds) is only been ridden and is like riding a big comfy couch. He's very smooth at a walk and trot. He doesn't canter as of yet, I don't think that he's quite balanced enough with someone on his back for a canter. I can't just dismount anywhere I have the have something to get back on with my stirup is above my waist and I'm not that flexible.
I love my guys and wouldn't go back to a light horse for anything. The Belgians don't have as much feathers on their feet as alot of the other drafts do. My team has a little feathering, my single doesn't have any. The drafts (any draft) are very intimidating in the begining. When I got my first one he was only 16 1/2 hds and was a sweet heart, then I got "Junior" 18 1/2 hds I was completely intimidated for a couple of days. I had to get on the step ladder to see over his back, but he's a sweetheart and thinks that I'm the biggest and baddest horse in the field.
The draw backs to having a full blooded draft is cost of tack. If you have a smaller draft that doesn't have an elephant head you can sometimes get away with an XL halter. A smaller draft can fit in a regular size stock trailer my guys have to have a 7ft trailer to go in.
I think my guys eat a little more than the light horses but its not that much.
I've got Percheron X Belgian geldings. They aren't broken yet so I can't speak to the ride. I really don't think they eat that much at all. My Dad's old appaloosa could probably out eat both my boys.
I ride a percheron thoroughbred cross that belongs to a friend and am in love with him, and am in the market for a draft cross as well, so I'm subscribing to this thread!
Here is my Little Belgian named Angel, she is 4 YO
Is that not just a face you can love :-):-)
She will kiss you so gently all day long if you let her, she is a great Horse.
We have a belgian gelding and he is very gentle to work with but he can be pretty spirited to ride, like he would prefer to go into a gallop unless you keep him in check. But all in all I think belgians are beautiful and gentle too.
Wow SouthernTrails, that is an awesome looking horse. Where did her colour come from?
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