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So I LOVE draft horses, even if they are only half draft. I have ridden a few purebred drafts and one Draft/TB cross. However, the Cross's dam was the draft horse. I would love to know if it is safe to take any other breed (minus ponies and the lighter boned breeds like Arabians) and cross them with a draft stud. I don't want to make a career out of it, but I was just curious if it was at all possible to take maybe a Paint or a Tennessee Walker or any of the taller breeds (that aren't classified as Drafts) and breed one of the mares to a draft stud.
 

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The old saying is 'blood on bone'

You are way better to breed a draft mare to a blood horse. Firstly, the draft mare has more room to grow a foal, a heavy boned foal in a lighter horse can cause tearing at birth. Secondly, you are less lightly to get the 'faults' of the draft. (Mainly this is cow hocks.)

Some of the best hunters are quarter draft.
 

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Years ago, a lady at a show had a gorgeous horse. I asked her what breed it was, she said it was a Percheron Arab cross. That horse was beautiful, and moved with such flair.
 

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Draft cross..today that is called a "Warmblood" and that "special" name = more $$$$$$$$.


That's it...
Go back far enough in any "Warmblood" lineage and you find the draft horse introduced.


Many breed crosses make spectacular riding/driving horses.
Possibilities are endless...
Just remember, at any time the draft coarseness can show and instead of a large horse with refined, finely chiselled features you can get a large horse huge with undesirable features too..
Actually same can happen to any breeding...they are not all gorgeous babies hitting the ground. :|
Only guarantee is seeing when on the ground and features at that point that will change as baby matures...
I would be very cautious about a draft stallion to a finer boned mare...that baby needs ample room to grow and momma needs ample room to deliver that baby through... :|

:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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One of the women I trained for would breed her Saddlebreds and National Sow Horse mares to Belgian stallions. The NSH babies overall were more refined than the Saddlebred babies but she was breeding mares that had been proven as brood mares and would stamp their babies no matter what they were bred to. She'd spent a lifetime breeding before going this route and knew the blood to bone but wasn't going to sell her herd and purchase new. She used the most refined hitch type stallion around that was not much taller than the mares. Not something I would want to risk but she always said the uterus stretches, its the hips that can be the problem and why you want mares that have delivered that you know have bodies that are made for birthing with ease. I have a mare that isn't. She was bought pregnant and having been around breeding farms and breeding my own I wasn't worried. She lost the baby because of the combination of the size of the foal and her narrowness that didn't relax and stretch enough so baby got hung up. There was no malpositioning. It was one of the worst experiences. Not one I ever want to repeat. Moving here I only had a small herd of Belgian mares but had established contacts for sales to mounted units that wanted bigger boned, taller horses. The mares were from more refined hitch horse lines bred to a nice stud. Nice babies. But even if they had been coarser they were not intended for upper level show horses so they still had place and purpose.



If you are interested in breeding starting with like to like and learning from those that have been there is your best bet. Otherwise I'd look to crosses of individual horses that have put nice babies on the ground. We have two Percheron-Arab crosses here that are as different as night and day. One looks like a cartoon horse, the other like what you would picture as a war horse. Both do what they were bought for really well but aren't upper level horses. That limits what you could sell them for job wise and price wise. Unless you have an established, ready market it isn't something you're going to make money at.
 

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QH or Paint x Belgian or Percheron are the hottest thing going around here. Larger riders are looking for heavier-boned horses, and a lot of these crosses are about 15.2 with good bone and a good temperament and they can still work cattle and hold up to long hours on the trail. I've met quite a few good ones and would love to have one if I can find one in my price range that has the traits I want. Unfortunately, draft crosses are also snapped up by Asian slaughter buyers at auctions for far more than most people can pay, so there are a lot of people sending weanling and yearlings to slaughter in Asia because of it. At the last sale I went to, nearly every draft or draft cross youngster was bought by these buyers, and at ridiculous prices to ship to Asia for meat. Draft horses fatten quickly and even paying 2-3 times what the horse would sell for to a buyer who wanted him to use, they can make a big profit. Breeders of drafts/draft crosses are being told if they don't want their horses to go to slaughter, sell them privately, but when faced with a big feed bill and an auction upcoming, most will take their chances. A large percentage of the country's draft horses sell at auctions-- far more than most light horses, so it's an issue that will continue. Even the high-end auctions are seeing some of these buyers showing up.

Like anything, there are risks. Most people use draft mares and breed to the light horse stallion. This helps eliminate some of the risk of a mare carrying a too-large foal. Draft mares also tend to have a quiet, placid disposition and that is beneficial to the foal. There are studies showing that the mare's body is what determines foal size, so theoretically you could breed a smaller mare to a draft stud without issue, and I know some people do, but it would be something I'd worry too much about to ever try. I looked at a nice Quarter Horse mare a few months ago, but passed on her because her owners said she'd been exposed to a Belgian stud... a 19 hand Belgian stud. This mare was 14.2 on her tiptoes. Not a risk I'm willing to take, unfortunately.

When doing a breeding like this, look for quality. Don't just pick a random draft-- pick one that has the traits you want. Sometimes you'll get a beefier saddle horse, and sometimes you'll get a weedy horse with a big draft head and no rear end, and then you'll wonder why you even considered this...

A friend of mine grew up in the UK and picked up a nice Percheron filly at auction about 10 years ago. She's since bred that mare several times to a good TB stallion, and has a collection of GORGEOUS 'heavyweight hunter' type horses for her family to ride. Lovely individuals, all of them, but they are from a very nice mare and a carefully chosen sire.

The US draft horses are separating out into two types-- farm/work type and hitch/halter type. The hitch/halter horses tend to be very tall, leggy, and with a fierier disposition. If you breed to one of those, be very careful the horse has the temperament and ability you are looking for. Draft horses also carry a higher likelihood of some PSSM-type issues, as well as some unique issues with feet and legs one needs to be aware of, even in a cross-bred.
 

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Personally, I would never breed a draft stallion to a lighter breed mare. In fact, I wouldn't breed but go buy what I wanted. I'm not a gambler. If I wanted something heavier but not too tall it would be a Haflinger. This will probably never happen but it's kind of fun to think about.
 
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