Drafts for Beginners
All righty, so I have a few questions. I know I can Google some of these, but I'd rather hear from everyday people who work with Drafts on a daily basis :) Thanks so much if you take the time to answer my rather ignorant questions!
1. I can by no means buy my first horse at this stage, but I know that I will be doing so at some point and I've started looking at different breeds. I guess I'm wondering what the general traits of Drafts are, since I find myself unexpectedly and suddenly obsessed with them. I saw a few pictures and was hooked. What can I say :)
2. Are they fairly suitable for beginners? "Beginner" being someone like me, who hasn't been riding for very long at all and is new to the horse world in general. I'm not afraid of a challenge, but I hope you know what I mean by this...
3. Is anyone here who owns Drafts living in South Africa, or has anyone heard of them being here? I've only ever seen one Friesian farm here (not that I went looking, but they just seem rare).
Thanks again for your time! :) I will now spend two hours downloading more pictures of them and making an enormous list of books to read about them :D
Oooops sorry, I just found a similar thread...any info is still welcome, though :)
My 7yr old granddaughter rides drafts. She started out on an old Clydesdale mare and now rides an 18.1hh spotted draft.
Drafts are absolutely AMAZING~!
I regularly work with my Clydesdale, and the four drafts she's in pasture with (Two shires, one Belgian, and one Percheron. We lost a fifth horse... another Clydesdale to colic not too long ago . RIP.)
I was hooked on Clydesdales since before I can remember. I wasn't one that was fortunate enough to have grown up with horses, but my obsession with Clydes always stuck with me. I was able to make that dream come true.
You've chosen wisely! Of course, any horse can be less than favorable. But, I'm confident in saying that drafts are the most easy-going, loving horses there are (in my experience). Honestly, I can go on and on.
The biggest disadvantage in my experience is letting their size intimidate you. My Clyde is fully capable and I can trust her deeply, but I play head games with myself sometimes. And you absolutely MUST teach draft horses to respect your personal space. They are very curious. They always have to have their noses into whatever you're doing. They need to learn to keep off your tail unless they're invited. lol
Not sure about South Africa. I'm in the US... California. Clydes are very rare here. And they can be expensive. I bought my Clyde in a different state, though.
So, yes. I'm a huge Draft horse advocate. Yes, great for beginners (but I would recommend an older one).
Sorry for the poorly written response. lol
Here are some pics of our babies:
My girl (Tenacity) is the smaller Clydesdale. The larger is Bartley... the one who passed from colic:
Me and My girl... she's only 3. I'm 6'1" tall. She's pretty big already!
Tenacity and a 3 year old shire, Duke:
Pete (the Percheron)
Star (another 3 year old Shire)
And (sorry for the bad pic) this is Morgan. He's a 17 year old retired Amish Belgian. 19.2hh!! He's absolutely massive. That's my Clydesdale next to him, to put it into perspective:
Oh wow, BackInTheSaddleAgain, thanks so much for all that info! Your horses are absolutely gorgeous, and I'm so sorry about Bartley :( You've confirmed much of what I've heard - that in general they are very loving, gentle horses. I can imagine, though, that their size could be intimidating...I've only ridden a Friesian once, but I was definitely nervous going into the canter haha. Do you know how they do over long distances when carrying a rider? I would imagine they do well, considering their original purpose, but I'm just curious :)
Thanks WickedNag, that helps me with the whole beginner thing. As I said, I'm not afraid of a challenge and I think you can learn a lot from horses that are slightly above your level, but for the first horse I own I would kind of prefer he/she not be too difficult for me to handle ;)
I have been around draft animals most of my life (mostly mules but some horses too). I have a belgian mare and a percheron gelding right now. They are both incredibly sweet and willing, I rode John for a while until even my largest saddle was way too small so now he is just driven on the wagon. As far as the different draft breeds, percherons tend to be a bit more fiesty than the others simply because they have breeding to be more up and showy with big action, Belgians are generally incredibly mellow. The only problem with them is simply their size. I cannot bridle either one of mine without a stool to stand on, I had to fight to get a saddle on john, farriers are more expensive, if you can even find one to work on drafts and tack is generally more expensive too.
That being said, I think they make great horses for beginners simply because of the laid back, go with the flow attitude that most of them have. The most important thing is to not be intimidated by their size and sometimes that's hard, even for the most experienced of us.
If you can't find a full draft, even a crossbreed would probably be pretty close, I have a belgian/quarter horse cross yearling and it appears that he is going to have his momma's mellow temperment.
Just for grins and giggles, I watched this vid of mine again for the first time in months today and now I feel the urge to go shopping for draft saddles so I could start riding him again. He was, I think, 4 here and this was only the 5th or 6th time he had ever even had a saddle on.
I was leasing Duke before I adopted Hunter. He was a big ol black percheron. He was the greatest, sweetest boy. He was great for me as I was just getting back into riding. I Do miss him.
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).
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