Your opinion...Do drafts/draft crosses make good trail horses? - Page 2
   

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Your opinion...Do drafts/draft crosses make good trail horses?

This is a discussion on Your opinion...Do drafts/draft crosses make good trail horses? within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • How long of a trail ride can my belgian handle
  • How much does a draft cross weigh

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    01-24-2013, 07:38 PM
  #11
Yearling
The heavier the muscle the horse has, the harder it is for that animal to get rid of excess heat. Any horse can be conditioned to go the distance. The speed they travel is the biggest difference. I doubt you will ever see a draft horse finish in the top 10 at an endurance race. They just can't move at the speed of the lighter muscled breeds of horses for that kind of distance. But you big muscled horse will always power to the top of a big hill faster than the lighter breeds. They each have their place. As long as you are happy meandering along the trails, your draft should be fine.
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    01-28-2013, 07:49 AM
  #12
Foal
My BO's husband has an 18 hand Belgian draft mare that he trail rides exclusively. She's probably the best horse at our barn, even when she has to babysit inexperienced riders. I think if you can get used to the size, draft horses are great. For full size draft horses you may run into the problem of finding tack in their size, also some drafts have docked tails, which is a serious impairment to their ability to defend against flies. I'll probably stick to my tiny Arabs, but I would definitely suggest anyone interested in a draft to go for it!
     
    01-28-2013, 02:58 PM
  #13
Foal
Drafts are on average very philosophical horses, with cool thinking headpieces. But of course every horse is a different person, and the breed may not count for much. You may not know until you bring her out there, but I'd rather bring a draft on a trail ride/trip than almost any other horse, any day, including Mondays and April 1st.
Mind, I am not talking of any sort of sport events but of "real" trail rides/trips, where reliability counts way more than speed.
     
    02-01-2013, 11:02 PM
  #14
Weanling
My nephew has a Haflinger we often use on some pretty tough trails in the AZ mountains. He seems to handle things well. He stands about 15+ hands and weighs-in at about 11-1200 lbs, but his barrel is not much bigger than most QHs. He just has massive chest and rump muscles, stout legs, and large hooves. He is a very inquisitive horse and tends to break things, sort of like a 2 year-old kid. He'll put his hoof on a box or something and see how much weight it will take to crush it. If that is your lunch box, or tool box...well, you see what I mean. He will lean on fences until they break. Not a mean bone in his body, just curious...and very strong.

My dad has an old boat trailer in the corral where he is kept. We often look outside and see him standing in the middle of it. He just steps in, tries to break something, then walks out the other side. That's exactly how he is on the trail. He prefers to push stuff out of the way rather than walking around. Nothing riles him.

He is not a fast walker, although he has the ability to go at a pretty good walk...if he wants to. He would rather walk slow, then trot to catch up, and I defy anybody to be able to convince him to do differently. He will walk along beside, behind, or in front at anytime. He will keep pace with a normal QH, but gets behind with one with a good stride.

Overall, thumbs-up on him as a trail horse, but you have to pay attention to him. He breaks stuff. You either keep him tied at night, or inside an electric fence. Oh, and as a pack horse, he's great. He can carry twice what most horses can carry, and do it all day long.

We feed him the same as our other horses when we're out on the trail and he seems to keep his weight, but I've never had him out for more than a week.

The mule in the pics is about 13.5 hands or so, for comparison. My buddy in the green-striped shirt is about 6'4" and 230 or so.
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    02-03-2013, 02:47 PM
  #15
Yearling
Of course. My friend has a 16.2 warmblood that she trail rides. Probably isn't the best horse to fall off but she's very calm and she doesn't spook.

Any horse is a good trail horse. I just suggest lots of desensitizing before you go out!
     
    02-03-2013, 06:28 PM
  #16
Weanling
I trailed my 18.2 draft all the time. Although that meant we were designated branch trimmers but we dealt. They may not be the fastest but they've got a pretty decent stride and I never had a problem keeping up with and of my friends on lighter breeds at any gait. Just make sure you know your trail because if it gets too narrow or there's lots of downed trees you might have some difficulty. As long as she's not spooky and enjoys trails there's no reason not to try. But there are a lot of unknowns on the trails, I.e. Dogs, joggers, hunters, wild animals, so if she's spooky or not used to that sort of thing she might not be good trail companion. If you've got any near you try walking her down them first to see how she does instead of just jumping on her and hoping for the best.
     
    02-04-2013, 11:39 AM
  #17
Weanling
I take my 17 hand Percheron bareback on the trails and she does great. When someone else is riding with us my Percheron is always in the lead! She has a very fast but comfortable walk. She has a cool calm disposition which makes for a great trail riding buddy.
     
    02-04-2013, 01:39 PM
  #18
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenrie    
My nephew has a Haflinger we often use on some pretty tough trails in the AZ mountains. He seems to handle things well. He stands about 15+ hands and weighs-in at about 11-1200 lbs, but his barrel is not much bigger than most QHs. He just has massive chest and rump muscles, stout legs, and large hooves. He is a very inquisitive horse and tends to break things, sort of like a 2 year-old kid. He'll put his hoof on a box or something and see how much weight it will take to crush it. If that is your lunch box, or tool box...well, you see what I mean. He will lean on fences until they break. Not a mean bone in his body, just curious...and very strong.

My dad has an old boat trailer in the corral where he is kept. We often look outside and see him standing in the middle of it. He just steps in, tries to break something, then walks out the other side. That's exactly how he is on the trail. He prefers to push stuff out of the way rather than walking around. Nothing riles him.

He is not a fast walker, although he has the ability to go at a pretty good walk...if he wants to. He would rather walk slow, then trot to catch up, and I defy anybody to be able to convince him to do differently. He will walk along beside, behind, or in front at anytime. He will keep pace with a normal QH, but gets behind with one with a good stride.

Overall, thumbs-up on him as a trail horse, but you have to pay attention to him. He breaks stuff. You either keep him tied at night, or inside an electric fence. Oh, and as a pack horse, he's great. He can carry twice what most horses can carry, and do it all day long.

We feed him the same as our other horses when we're out on the trail and he seems to keep his weight, but I've never had him out for more than a week.

The mule in the pics is about 13.5 hands or so, for comparison. My buddy in the green-striped shirt is about 6'4" and 230 or so.

WOW! LOVELY horse!!!
That sounds like my Kaylee, who is also a Haflinger (mostly).
She is a bit smaller than him, but still very strong.. Also I have never seen her breaking things on purpose, although she did break some things now and then out of cluelessness and stubborness (like scratching herself against the side of a ut until it wobbled all over).
BUt she is inquisitive and greedy and will find bread, sandwiches, apples and burgers in any container that is left in reach. And her nose can reach very far out.
I had her on the road for 5000 km, in all sorts of situations and she did very well. Very good keeper even in the scantiest grazing. Would get a few handfuls of oats on very hard working days, and treats, that's all.
By night she was mostly in a battery powered electric fence. When she was very nervous (early spring, with heat, or sometimes in winter when wild boars and hunters were around) she might get tied to a highline or hobbled, but that happened very seldom.
You must use three hobbles (front-front-hind) or a horse can still GALLOP and JUMP. If you ever see your horse galloping and jumping in hobbles you never want to see that again, believe me.
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    02-22-2013, 06:36 PM
  #19
Weanling
While visiting montana 5-6 yrs ago. We went riding at a stable, near lake mcdonald. The horses were walker X draft. And they did real well. Slow going but for a renta horse type stable, that was what was necessary. I was told on the tourist off season the horses were used by guided elk hunts. They were used for packing in and out.
     
    02-22-2013, 07:57 PM
  #20
Yearling
Two of my horses were draft mixes and they were wonderful on the trail.

Drafts tend to get hotter faster though, as stated above.
     

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