saddle breaking a Percheron
I have a potential client who want me saddle break her percheron (sorry i know it's not spelled right) I've saddle broke many horses but never a draft. Is there any specific thing I ought to do differnt?
They're no different than a light horse in how you would approach the process. Tack is always a challenge. Some will fit into 5 1/2 bits on an O/S bridle while others need 6 or 6 1/2 with custom bridles. Dressage saddles tend to be the best fit option unless they are young and don't have much back muscling. Those ones will be in 32 cm+ or full QH bars. The biggy is your leg strength. Some are so animated and powerful in the way they move plus with the added girth, it can be exausting just to stay on. The other one is no impulsion so you're constantly after them. Mine rarely canter even at liberty. Be prepared to spend extra time getting that done.
If the horse has been broke to drive, alot of the work is done. He knows how to be "saddled", turn, stop, back, stand... The big difference is your legs (use voice commands to reinforce the leg, seat and hand cues) and working above him. Do your first few rides in his driving bridle so he's not worried about what he is now seeing behind him.
Make sure the tack fits. While this SHOULD be a prerequisite for starting any horse... the last thing you want to be fighting is an explosive draft-sized reaction to poorly fitted tack. I've found most drafts seem quick to trust, but if you lose that trust it can take a lot of hard work to build it back. They are smart and far more sensitive than most people give them credit for.
I start drafts the same way I start every horse, with the most emphasis on building a solid, trusting relationship on the ground first, and then moving to backing when the horse is 100% stress free.... this seems to create a confident horse from the get-go.
thanks for the tips. I was/am concerned with making sure the tack fit right. I don't have this horse yet but from what Ive been told they've been teaching him voice commands from the ground. We shall see what the horse tells me when I get it.
After training regular light horses, the thing that impressed me about my perch was how he just took everything in stride, no big deal. Tack was somewhat difficult to figure out at first but I've gotten some nice things like my 66" girth from drafttack.com. I had to order my saddle XW and glad I did. How old is the horse. I went very slowly with my gelding when it came to riding. Saddled him at 2, led the kids around on him at 2 1/2, I got on and did easy, walking trail rides at 3, started some easy trotting on the trail at 3 1/2, upped the intensity and length of the trail rides at 4, didn't even do arena work or canter until he was 5 but he is still growing, even at 6 1/2 so don't want to damage his joints when we have the rest of his life to ride :)
thank you for the info. i believe this horse is 5 or 6.. The owner is not planning on lopeing much at all. She is fairly new to the riding side of horses, she used to train draft horses to pull...long story short she isnt comfortable being up that high on a horse, and she'll be taking it slow too.As she plans to let me give her lessons on my quarterXwho is short (14.2) Thanks again for the info!
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