New Draft owner-lots of questions!
Hey all! I am not new to the horse owning business, but I am new to owning a Draft horse! I just bought a 4 year old Clydesdale/Belgian mare.I have named her Phylpsy(Sounds like Flipsy) She will arrive in Georgia the last week of August. Currently Phlypsy lives in Indiana. Her owner told me that she is broke to ride but very green. Have been told she does very well for the vet/farrier. Barefoot. I asked today and was told that she is on no feed other than grass and doing very well.
So my questions are:Is it okay to begin training her to ride more at 4 years old? Mainly what I would like to use her for is trail riding.
2-Any suggestions on the feeding?Coming from such a different area,I'm not sure if the grass will be less nutrient-rich or not.Should I just start her out on only grass and see how she does?
3-I have heard of Scratches,but very familiar with it at all. How do I keep her from getting it?
4-Is there anything else I should know specifically about owning a Draft?
Thank you all in advance!
Actually if you read through this section of the forum you will find all answers to the questions you asked. A lot of people ask this question.
Here are some things to get you started:
Gentle giants are made not born.
They do not usually eat more than a normal size horse.
They can do just about any of the disciplines out there.
Ground work is the key to establishing a good foundation.
Farriers can be difficult to find and harder to keep.
For the bigger guys trailers can be tough to get.
Don't buy a permanent saddle until after they turn 6 (they are still doing a lot of growing).
Get established with a vet right away. Better to do so now when you do not need one than in an emergency! A vet can tell you what kind of things are lacking in your area as far as nutrients for your horse (in our area its selenium).
Good hay, some sort of fat (it's recommended drafts be on a high fat NO sweet feed diet - corn oil is what I use but there are other options), a block of salt and plenty of fresh water should be all they need.
There is a great book you can get on Amazon called Draft Owners. Get this book. It is the draft horse bible.
Scratches are usually associated more with a lot of feathers. There are treatments for scratches but they can be really hard to get rid of. I have a Percheron and he's go no feathers so, it hasn't been a problem for us.
Like I said, read through the posts in this section because you'll find a lot of great information.
What are feathers?
NVW I just had an "uh Duh" Moment
Congrats on your new girl! Bet she'll be big, but still has growing to do!
Grass hay should be fine for her, just feed her until you find out how much hay she eats-my gelding eats about 5-7 flakes a day of grass hay. I feed flax seed meal as it makes their coats nice and shiney.
If your mare doesn't have a lot of feathers, she won't have an issue with scratches. Keeping the hair on their legs dry is the key.
She's still growing so just take it easy on the riding. I didn't canter my gelding until he was 5 but did lots of trail riding, up and down hills and such but not to the point where he was exhausted. Now that he's 6, we're tackling dressage! Be careful with lunging that your roundpen is about 50-60 feet and that you don't do it too much, 20 minutes is good or less if she needs it to burn off energy before you get on.
Solon pretty much covered it but I just wanted to chime in on the feathers. If she has a lot and it is pretty wet or humid where you are (I am assuming it is), you might consider clipping her lower legs. That will keep them cleaner and drastically reduce the risk of scratches.
A few things...I have a ClydeX I have now had for 17 yrs. He lives mostly on grass and hay. Did so in VA, and still does so in NY-no different, so my guess is she will be just fine. He gets about a cup of pellets at feeding time just because we have to give him his Cortaflex-he is older now and needs it. I would caution about doing too much too soon. Go a bit easy on the joints until she matures. Not a lot of small circles, or jumping, for examples.
As for the scratches-it will depend upon how "hairy" she is. Im Va mine would get scratches even when I clipped his feathers. So, I have a med from the vet-I believe it is a Silvadene cream, that I keep on hand all this time, and whenever I see them start, I put it on. I have not had ANY issues in NY in 3 yrs., and I have even let his feathers grow out. So, I would say that it depends upon where you are. That said, I think it has to do with the humidity, and being in Georgia, it may be something you just need to keep an eye on, and have the cream on hand. Mine is much happier in NY-he hated the heat in VA. Just sweated profusely just standing there, so make sure you have her in during the day with a fan when it is hot. I also used electrolytes if I worked much in the summer.
I have never had an issue finding or keeping a farrier.....and mine has always been barefoot. I have a feeling that may have to do more with how they behave for the farrier than anything.
Have fun and enjoy her-they are SO cool.
If she is only getting grass in Indy, we're deficient on Selenium too so you might keep an eye out for any muscle cramping and/or stiffness. You can test selenium levels with a blood test. Congrats on your new girl!
^^agreed, was just going to say that. My draft crosses are on full pasture with nothing else right now, but I do keep free choice mineral available mixed for my area - you can usually ask your vet or local extension office what minerals your area/soil is deficient in and get a custom mix for your area at the local feed store.
For farriers it isn't just whether they stand, it's the larger equipment they need to buy. I bought mine a hoof jack with a draft horse cradle and the draft size nippers and rasp.
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