Jumping draft horses
Hey I was wondering how other draft horse owners get their horses moving and jumping. Mine will jump but with not much effort and usually knocking down the poles. I only jump about 1.9 ft with her.
I don't know about other breeds of Draft horses, but the Gypsies love to jump.
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I have a Clyde X who loves to jump. He can't anymore d/t some arthritis. However, I found that if the jump wasn less than about 2'6", he made NO effort. Just not worth it for him. He figured he could sort of step over.:D
Do you think I should raise the jump?
That would depend on if the 2 of you are ready to jump higher. I just found he got better as it went up. He was a bit lazy with lower heights. Gymnastic excercises may help too.
My draft cross and I are jumping about 2' although I've discovered he really likes cross country, gets moving, ears pricked, enthusiastic but not so wild about stadium!
My Percheron mare is generally VERY lazy. We've had a couple days where she gets pretty big bursts of enthusiasm though. I think the highest we've jumped is about 2' and it has only happened a couple times. It's not her thing, nor mine, so it's not in my interest to pursue it. It's still fun sometimes, though!
Bear in mind the draft horse was DESIGNED to do one thing... pull (well, push, really, as a horse pushes into the collar, not pulls from it - but that is semantics)... and do it slowly, all day.
Everything from the angles of their bone structure to the massive weight they carry is aimed at strength, in a slow, even gait.
With this in mind, jumping a draft (and I am talking a purebred, or cross which takes after the draft parent) is only asking to injure it, in the long run. Whenever you ask a horse to do something is was not designed to do, you increase the chance of injury to it.
The hip/pelvic angle of the draft is not ideal for jumping. It is ideal for working slowly, with a lot of power.
The angles involved with the hindquarter construction of the draft are also designed for working slowly, with a lot of power... not for the ability collect, thrust and support the whole weight of the horse.
The bone the draft has is large in comparison to a light horse, but is proportionate to the amount of body mass they have - so they do not have the "big bone" which is desired for jumping/dressage/cross country... those who DO have large bone for their breed type, are likely too heavy to be good jumpers anyhow.
The shoulder and neck of a draft horse is designed for the job they were bred to do as well, not for jumping. The length of neck, the thickness of neck and the slope of the shoulder allow a draft to jump, but it certainly won't make an "ideal" jumper.
Jumping puts added strain on joints, it stresses the back, and one wrong approach (even over something so "tiny" for a big horse) can lame the horse for life. Why take that chance on a horse which isn't bred for it in the first place? Yes, drafts CAN jump... yes, many of the "lighter" crosses even do well in jumping classes (the heavier ones, you'll often find, later on, with arthritis, bone chips, stifle injuries, foot problems etc.)
I'm not trying to be a downer, but this has got to be one of my biggest equine pet peeves. In all honesty, if you want to jump, get a light horse with the conformation to complement that job - otherwise, love your draft for what he/she was bred and is easily able to do.
I own drafts (and I do ride one of ours - the other is my husband's and he drives/logs)... I love draft crosses for riding - provided they have the conformation to support that job... I am in no way "anti draft"... but I do think it's important to understand the biomechanics of the horse, and how it applies to the job you're doing in order to protect the long-term soundness of your horse.
And before anyone says "I only do it once in awhile"... bear in mind it only takes ONCE to do serious damage.... especially if you don't or haven't taken jumping lessons under a qualified coach.
I know of a 18hh Clydesdale mare who is now permanently lame because her owners wanted to jump her (did something to her stifle jumping a 2' oxer), I know two Percherons - one PB the other a HEAVY cross (He's a QHXPerch... but very stocky) one with severe arthritis (was shown up to 2'3) the other with a few soundness issues (was jumped twice... he was lamed while being "tried out" for a new home... something happened to his knee, and hock)... a PB Belgian who used to do little baby stuff at home, once in awhile, stumbled after a jump and bowed a tendon which never healed quite right. To me... totally not worth the risk.
i agree that the full drafts shouldnt be jumping..at any age,but it really irks me when people say they shouldnt be ridden,not everyone can afford all the gear involved in cart,and if it wasnt for people wanting to ride them,they would be extint,well here in oz anyway..but as for dressage.. i personally know of a pure clydesdale that is competing at prelim level and is doing extremely well..he is 18hh and very heavy set..so there are exemptions to the rule...Eucalypt Park Chieftain - Dressage Clydesdale | Facebook
I never said they shouldn't be ridden??
I do ride my mare... I said so... actually. I have no issue with them being ridden (unless they're being ridden by VERY large people... in which case my concerns would be the same as a heavy-set rider on a light horse...). She's a lovely ride, and prefers it over harness work (just goes happier). It won't harm her to do flatwork, and trails (though I find it hard to make it through some - she's big enough that low branches are a real issue LOL)... and as long as I remember that there are some things her conformation makes harder for her and keep that in mind when I'm working with her, there will never be a serious issue.
Dressage means "Good Training"... and therefore ANY horse should be taught "dressage" (be they ridden or driven), at least as far as their conformation will allow.
Big difference between dressage and jumping as far as wear and tear on the body though.
(That Clyde in the link is a VERY nice looking boy!)
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