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JenLS
Jul. 23, 2010, 07:02 AM
I'm in love. sigh.

I've been shopping for a trail horse to replace my aged gelding. I've been looking for the last month, and found a couple that were ok, but nothing that blew my skirt up. Last night I'd gone out to a local farm to look at another horse, and while he wasn't what I wanted the owner and I got to talking and she took me around the back of the barn to see a big draft gelding. He's gorgeous (IMO) and while very tall he's soft and gentle and didn't bat an eye at anything.

His owner's willing to let me take him on a lease to make sure he'll work out for me, which is super nice of her.

I'm waffling because I've never owned such a big horse in my life, and I'd not considered a draft horse. I was looking for a horse that I could trail ride with a goal of doing some novice competitive trail rides next year.

I'm posting here to see if anyone else has a draft horse that they trail ride. Pros/Cons, general advice anyone?

AKB
Jul. 23, 2010, 07:38 AM
I have an Irish Draught who I love. He is totally steady on the trails. He also does low level dressage and eventing. He is truly a good citizen.

ChocoMare
Jul. 23, 2010, 07:48 AM
Got two and will never go back to light horses again.

My main riding/trail horse is a Clydesdale/Standardbred cross. At 15.2, she's just the right height but she's totally built and feathered like a Clyde. Her gaits, tho, are all Standardbred. She is my dream horse!

My other is a full Percheron... all 17.2 hands, 1900 pounds of her. Tank is like riding a sofa! Very gentle, exceptionally smart and a real crowd pleaser.

Congrats!

pnalley
Jul. 23, 2010, 07:50 AM
We met a lady earlier this year that rides a draft horse. she rides him 30 miles several times per week with no problems. He was big beautiful and kind natured. Our horses were not fit enough to keep up with them

Wayside
Jul. 23, 2010, 09:39 AM
I own one, thought he's mostly retired now.

Stan has the most wonderful personality ever. So willing and good natured, tolerates rider mistakes cheerfully, is calm and sensible either out on the trail or at shows. Really, I can't say enough good things about his personality and disposition. He spent some time in a therapeutic program, was used for numerous 4-H demonstrations, and was loaned out for the horseless horse 4-H-ers to show with.

However, he is HUGE, and that comes with a few problems of his own.

His bulky body makes it very hard for him to dissipate heat. He gets hot very easily, sometimes to the point of breathing heavily when he's just standing around the pasture. When I was showing him regularly, I'd often get out at 6am to work him, because otherwise he was completely miserable in the heat.

Finding tack could be a big pain in the rear, though fortunately he wasn't all that wide in the saddle area, so that was one headache averted.

We own a large slant load stock trailer, 7'6" inside, and Stan takes up two spots in it all by himself.

Thankfully mounting wasn't really that big of a deal, since he's so steady. Generally I rode English with extra long stirrup leathers, so I could drop them down to get a foot in, mount, ad then reel my stirrup back in :lol: He was also quiet enough that you could mount from darn near anything.

It was way more difficult getting and keeping him fit than any of the light horses I've owned. It took a very determined effort to increase his fitness every little bit, and he'd lose it quickly when given time off.

Stan is also the clumsiest horse I've ever owned, though that might just be him. He was great on smooth flat trails, but anything hilly or rocky was a nightmare. He'd trip over everything.

Anyhow, if you're considering competitive trail in any way, I'd be very hesitant to go with a full draft based on their tendancy to retain heat and the difficulty in getting them fit. For leisurely pleaure trail riding, absolutely, but anything more difficult is really going to be a challenge, imo.

Luckydonkey
Jul. 23, 2010, 09:53 AM
I own drafts.I do trails mostly, but we show too- at regular open shows. Many drafts jump, many drafts do lower level eventing. There is no reason you can't do lower level stuff wit ha draft horse. Like someone else said though- they can be hard to keep fit, and can be clumsy, but keep it in mind. Tack can be hard to find- but on one hand if you are a tack junky, you will collect less stuff that way,lol!

Fessy's Mom
Jul. 23, 2010, 10:55 AM
I do pleasure trailriding with my big girl, and have an absolute blast on her! :D She's steady, and very forward - not wild, but if I ask her, she's more than willing to go! :yes:

I also take her to open shows where she's so easy - just hop on 5 minutes before the class and march right in and she's awesome.

I agree with the others about fitness though. I think you'd really have to spend some serious time working them up to a level where they'd be comfortable going for hours at a time.

But even if that didn't work out, you'd be so happy that you got him and having so much fun with him doing other stuff that you wouldn't care! :yes:

Outfxed
Jul. 23, 2010, 10:59 AM
Obviously from my screen name, I used to have a Big Belgian. All 18.1 hds. and 2600 lbs. of him. I broke him to ride and drive. He was by far the happiest horse with the best work ethic of any equine I have ever owned. No cheat and always gave me his best.

That being said, his tack cost a small fortune and the shoeing was the biggest headache of all. NO farrier in our horse polluted area wanted to touch a draft horse with size 10 feet. I had to import a farrier from either PA or down in Southern VA to come and shoe to the tune of $250-300.00 a pop. I drove extensively on gravel or asphalt so keeping him barefoot was not an option.

He was like riding an ATV out trail riding. There was never anything I worried about him not being able to bully his way through. Low branches and tight places OTOH, were a different story!

Fitness took longer to achieve and harder to keep than light horse. We did low level CDEs and cooling out after cross country was hard. His respiration and pulse would come down quickly, but his temp remained much higher for longer.

Eventually, I had to truly assess what my riding goals were and admit that I wanted to go back to foxhunting and harder trail riding. Both of them would have been unfair to ask of my big guy though I know with his work ethic, he would have tried his heart out for me.

fefedog
Jul. 23, 2010, 11:34 AM
After my very timid 16 yr old daughter lost her quarter pony we needed a quiet bomb proof horse and found a perch/quarter horse which is perfect for her she can trail ride it and even does gymkanias with her. surprisingly she (the horse)even pull a 22 sec on barrels with someone else riding her .so she is big but somewhat agile ,she loves poles. The great thing about her she may never beat a speed record but will be sane for the next class and settles right down.My daughter would never ride again if she got hurt on a horse as I said she is very timid. So I have found the perfect horse for her. Even after the horse sits for weeks sometime (she the horse )is very consistant with temperment stays the same as if she had been worked . The only problem with her is personal space but we work on that when ever we handle her. She has very large feet.Some day I may have her broke to drive would be another fun adventure. Good luck hope you enjoy you new find.

ManyDogs
Jul. 23, 2010, 11:37 AM
My PerchX is not too tall-prob. 16.2 but definitely a big girl.
However, apparently she is small enough :eek: to open the man door of the barn by pulling/turning the doorknob so she can amble in and feast on hay. Fortunately, she is mild mannered enough to be turned around and escorted out. :lol:
I don't know about trails, but she sure has a big dressage-y trot!

Kyzteke
Jul. 23, 2010, 12:13 PM
My neighbor has a Perch/Morgan x that I like very much and is not only a solid, calm trail horse, but trained to 1st Level dressage as well.

But as for a pure draft -- well, you have gotten alot of good advice from those who have been there....so of which I never thought of (like the cost of tack).

Also the shoes -- for instance, my farrier, who I adore, will not do drafts.

I think alot depends on what sort of trail riding you plan on doing and where you live. If you want to do alot of extreme trails, a draft probably wouldn't be a good bet, because they aren't that nimble.

I would say take the horse on trial and see how it works...that gives you time to truly evaluate the horse. And maybe, if this one doesn't fit, start looking for draft crosses -- lighten things up abit, but still retain the qualities of the big boys that you like.

LuvMyperch
Jul. 23, 2010, 08:30 PM
I have a 13yr old Percheron gelding that I bought when he was 4...my first and only draft in a 40yr span of horse ownership. He is by far the most kind hearted soul ever. He is forward moving enough to keep you on your toes and I have trail ridden him quite a bit. He's wonderful but not the bravest soul on earth....that being said, his occasional spooks are like a regular sized horse but in slow motion :) so easy to sit. Im a mostly walk, occasional trot and rare canter type of trail rider nowadays. I just cant imagine competitive trail riding a full draft, even at the novice level. A draft CROSS, yes...but not a purebred.

I needed all new tack of course, but I didnt have any trouble finding bits/bridles/reins. As far as a saddle goes, I use a Wintec Isabelle with the largest gullet and it fits him. But, he's pretty fit and not at all fat so that helps.

Ditto with the farrier issues. Its not easy to find someone who will shoe a draft and if you do find someone chances are they will only do it if they stand REALLY well and dont pull their feet away etc...... And you can expect to pay more than you would for a light horse.

Drafts are notorious for having hoof problems so be careful there. ALso, there are no hoof boots out there that will work very well......some of them do come in draft sizes but dont waste your money.

Soooo, if you want a great friend/companion/crowd pleaser and you have room for him i.e. a 12 x 12 minimum stall if you use stalls.....if you board, some facilitys do not take drafts, go for it. But maybe look for a draft cross if you want to compete.

Trakehner
Jul. 23, 2010, 10:06 PM
I've had Shires, 18.2 mare, almost 18 hand gelding, 17.2 hand Perchie and a Perchie/Saddlebred cross now.

First problem: Heat...draft horses are like a big truck with too small a radiator. They overheat nicely and really suffer in the summer heat. My mare would be dripping in the field just standing there.

Tack...really not a problem, lots of internet shops to buy tack...you'll have a problem finding nice stuff, seems like lots of crappy stuff out there, no Passier level leather besides custom.

Shoeing...the Achilles Heel of draft horses is shoeing. If you can find a farrier, he'll be expensive. Really really expensive. Lots of drafts have bad feet. They tend to be fairly flat and seem to lose shoes pretty easily. Expensive.

They are fun to ride and really take a lot of stuff in stride. My big Shire mare walked up to a man using a chainsaw, she wanted to see what he was doing. You will get a face full of spider webs since you'll be higher than the other riders. They are fun though.

Before you think of getting a draft, find a farrier first. See if you can find one who will come out if your horse loses a shoe. Remember, you won't find any boots to fit them if the lose a shoe. Nobody makes full draft boots that seem to work well.

Good luck, they're a lot fo fun, but you'll really have a few more challenges than a light horse.

Kyzteke
Jul. 23, 2010, 10:14 PM
I As far as a saddle goes, I use a Wintec Isabelle with the largest gullet and it fits him.
..........if you board, some facilitys do not take drafts, go for it. But maybe look for a draft cross if you want to compete.

I find this hysterical, as I used to ride in a Wintec Isabelle, also on the wide gullet, for my 14.1+ Arab!:D Of course, when she spooked, she could teleport herself to another county before I knew it.

Also, I've known 2 drafts that were kicked out of their respective boarding facilities because they were constantly pushing down fences & gates. Someone told me that unless a draft is started early on fencing w/hot wire, so they learn respect, this destructiveness becomes a very bad (and life long) habit. Is that true?

I like a more refined line myself for horses, but I live near one of the biggest draft horse shows in the nation, and I always try to go at least one day (3-4 day show)....I love seeing those guys!

My favorite is the 8 horse hitch -- man, can that guy drive!!

Wayside
Jul. 23, 2010, 10:34 PM
Also, I've known 2 drafts that were kicked out of their respective boarding facilities because they were constantly pushing down fences & gates. Someone told me that unless a draft is started early on fencing w/hot wire, so they learn respect, this destructiveness becomes a very bad (and life long) habit. Is that true?

Stan (and most of the other drafts I've known) has been really hard on fences. Didn't think about it offhand since we've finally managed to work all the kinks out of our electric fence. A good strong hot wire keeps him in just fine, but anything else he'll lean on, and itch on, and eat over, and visit over, and things just break really easily when you have that much horse pushing on them.

Plus he's so tall that it was easy for him to reach over the fence to eat out of the neighbor's hayfield. We had to replace a charger with one that pulsed faster, since he actually would listen to the clicks, and lean over and grab a bite between them. After doing that for a while, he'd have put enough pressure on that something would short out or break, and then all the t-posts in that section were bent outward at a 45 degree angle :rolleyes:

Personally, I never had a problem finding a farrier, but there's a pretty active draft horse community around here, and I can think of three farriers offhand that show drafts of their own that will service my area. There are a few more that mostly do light horses, but are willing to do drafts as well, and though it is more expensive to have Stan done, it's not cost-prohibitive.

suz
Jul. 23, 2010, 10:35 PM
and than there are the draft ponies to love, don't forget them!
i have a full haflinger--the blonde bombshell--she is the most athletic, forward, fun trail mount ever. my older mare is an arab/canadien cross, another super horse in a smaller package. she 's big boned, 15'1 and goes anywhere i point her. love the drafties, especially draft crosses. i especially love the arab influence in my crosses.

MunchingonHay
Jul. 23, 2010, 10:59 PM
one thing that I did not see the other posters mention is height...sure they mention their 17+ hand horse is great on the trail and I am sure they are, but I am 5'8 and when I ride a 15.3-16 hand horse my head is really high off the ground. I am not afraid of heights, but I HATE getting wacked in the head with branches all the time.

SO bear in mind ducking, and trying to avoid low and not even that low branches on trails that are not well groomed.

just food for thought

DandyMatiz
Jul. 23, 2010, 11:14 PM
for trail riding casually they work great imo. For CTR I'd be wary. They don't cool down as easily as the light breeds, aren't as "handy", and pretty much all the aforementioned reasons already posted.

hundredacres
Jul. 23, 2010, 11:22 PM
I used to board and ride a boarder's Percheron. I enjoyed how big she was, but ultimately she became too expensive to keep here and I had to have the owner move on. She broke everything - our fencing was all replaced during her 3 years here. She also had ringbone and she was quite young (4-5 I think) and she was in VERY light, seasonal work. Her previous barn had also kicked them out, and I just heard that the barn she left after me just kicked her out. My SIL who raises drafts warned me when I took her on but I didn't heed the warning...I do regret it.

I'm not trying to discourage you - just saying most barns aren't built for the big beasts. They rub their butt or lean on stuff and it just breaks.

painted spirit
Jul. 24, 2010, 04:18 PM
I have a wonderful percheron who is a reject from the amish. He never grew "big enough" to keep up with the others on his team. He is 15.2 and uses my regular western saddle but I did have to get a draft bridle. This horse is a dream. He knows what "whoa" means and will stand forever if I ask! He is calm, afraid of nothing on the trails, and has a work ethic I've rarely seen. He doesn't have extremely large feet and eats just a little more grain than the rest. His former owner comes by often to check on him and misses him in the traces. All we needed to do to make the transition from driving to riding was work on leg aids and he had to learn it was ok to canter. It took prolly 2 to 3 months to get things together. I am really happy with how much he wants to please and do something. While he is in shape enough to do some distance riding - we ride him regularly for 3 to 4 hrs every couple of days - he just couldn't compete with those araby-type horses. I took my inshape gaited horse and lost to a 20 yr old arab mare! Most horses just don't have the recovery rate naturally that an arab type horse has. If you want a draft for pleasure trail riding there are alot out there. Go out if you have amish nearby to thier feed stores and ask if someone has a horse that no longer has the stamina to plow for 12 hrs or too small to keep up with the others. You'll find a horse that is well behaved, and may only need alittle work with a trainer to do what you need them to do. My horse is only a 11 yr old and I look forward to many years with him.

Guilherme
Jul. 24, 2010, 06:31 PM
Draft horses are great for pulling loads. As saddle horses they are sub-optimal for a bunch of reasons.

IMO if you want a saddle horse then find one what will do for you. Leave the drafters to the teamsters. :)

G.

silverfox0308
Jul. 25, 2010, 05:51 PM
I have a 16.2 full draft gelding. He's got the most laid back personality ever. I went out last month for our first trail ride in over a year (darn being pregnant and having little ones!) and other than being out of shape he didn't bat an eye. And he is not seasoned by any means. He's a small step above being green. Can't beat the draft temperament IMO. However, he is obese on just pasture and everything does cost more. I don't use a traditional farrier though. I have a local barefoot trimmer who is AWESOME and keeps his feet in tip top shape. I also pay her really well! Luckily the barn where I board here in Colorado also has draft horses so the fencing isn't an issue. It's a converted buffalo farm so the hot wire is high and hot. At a previous barn he did rather enjoy rubbing his behind on anything that wasn't hot so their solution was to run hot wire around it. It worked!

Overall I'd say it depends on the individual horse. Drafts can do CTR but it depends on the horse. Best of luck!

JenLS
Jul. 25, 2010, 10:13 PM
Thank you all for your responses. I decided to go ahead and get him, and I picked him up today for a 2 week trial period.

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee314/JenLS_2007/IMG_3726.jpg

maxxtrot
Jul. 25, 2010, 10:30 PM
i have an irish draught and he is a doll. no problem with the fencing, just 3 board, he never touches it. he also is great in the heat, no problems. he to has done some eventing, jumpers and fox hunted in ireland before being imported. lovely horse!

Kyzteke
Jul. 26, 2010, 03:09 AM
i have an irish draught and he is a doll. no problem with the fencing, just 3 board, he never touches it. he also is great in the heat, no problems. he to has done some eventing, jumpers and fox hunted in ireland before being imported. lovely horse!

The Irish Draught is a wonderful horse, but I think it's important to point out they are nothing like most American (and English) DRAFT horses, like Perchs, Belgians, Clydes, etc. Like the WB, the RID was bred more to be an all-purpose horse who could do alittle light pulling and then ride to the hounds, jump, etc.

Draft horses were bred to pull heavy loads, period.

I would put the RID more in the category of WBs, rather than "draft" horses.

ChocoMare
Jul. 26, 2010, 08:46 AM
Thank you all for your responses. I decided to go ahead and get him, and I picked him up today for a 2 week trial period.

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee314/JenLS_2007/IMG_3726.jpg

Yay! Me likey!!! :yes:

Fessy's Mom
Jul. 26, 2010, 09:19 AM
Aw, he's adorable! Let us know how you like him. :yes:

(...p.s. I think Kyzteke is a "draftist"..:uhoh:) LOL!

selah
Jul. 26, 2010, 09:24 AM
Thank you all for your responses. I decided to go ahead and get him, and I picked him up today for a 2 week trial period.

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee314/JenLS_2007/IMG_3726.jpg

Getting a trial period is great...and says the owner really wants to be sure the two of you are suited...that is great! I look forward to hearing how it goes.
I have an awesome, gorgeous draft mare...probably 16.2+. I bought her several years ago for my beginner daughter, thinking that she would be laid back and easy. While she does not have a mean bone in her body, she is smaaart, and knows exactly how big she is, and if the rider is unwilling or incapable of being the boss, Dolly is more than willing to handle that job! She was waaay too much horse for a beginner. But she is major eye candy, has ideal draft conformation, is a brilliant mover, and an air fern. My farrier hates to trim her, though she does not need stocks to be trimmed.
I tried several saddles...settled on an Ascot, which is leather, comfortable, inexpensive, and fits her well.

analise
Jul. 27, 2010, 06:46 PM
OP, let us know how it goes!

I've got a 16.3 Perch/Paintx (mostly Perch). He's wide and he's big but I love him. You can see him if you click on my blog link below.

Anyway, I really don't always understand why people say they had a terrible time finding tack that fit. I mean, finding a Western saddle that fit him? Wasn't easy, I eventually went treeless. The treed western saddles that fit him best were actually Arab-treed saddles, for the record (and I have a friend with a draft cross who rides in an Arab-treed Simco). But I found an English saddle easily enough (Duett!) and bridles, halters, etc? Not so hard to find, either. Heck, my halters usually buy for less than $10 when they're on sale at horseloverz. Bits can be problematic. It took me a while to find an eggbutt french link that was 6" wide but there are lots of basic loose ring snaffles out there in the 6" size and for a reasonable price. I'd still like to find something with copper in that size to see how he likes it (he's kind of mouthy) but I haven't one across one yet.

Mounting can be a challenge, in that I am not really flexible enough to do so from the ground. But it's not too difficult to get him to stand next to something for me to mount off of (I've mounted off of hay bales, coolers, mounting blocks, logs, fences, plastic chairs, large tractor tires, barrels, and from a leg up).

Drafts definitely can be a challenge for some trail riding if it's very rough or hilly, or, as we discovered on a camping ride last year: the trails were obviously made with light horses in mind and a few spots were very tight. Plus the branch issue someone else has already mentioned. And the fitness issue. I've been on long rides with drafts (long for us is four-five hours) but we mostly walked. I couldn't say how well they'd hold up to doing mostly trotting during that time but I'd definitely make sure to condition carefully (I mean you should, anyway, but especially with a draft).

Also, keep in mind that a lot of drafts are prone to something called EPSM (http://www.draftresource.com/EPSM/Draft_EPSM_Report.html). It's not debilitating, in and of itself, typically, but it does require the horse be on a high-fat (not high carb... Resist the sweet feed!) diet. You can read more about it at the link but basically, it means the horse can't properly metabolize carbs for use by the muscles. My horse is on a high fat diet (it can't hurt to give the diet, even if you don't have a definitive diagnosis of EPSM, a lot of horses are diagnosed simply by seeing if they improve when fed a high fat diet) as a preventative measure.

I could ramble on all day on this subject but I'm attempting to restrain myself. Suffice to say, if you're looking for a pleasure trail riding horse, in many cases, I'd say a draft is one of the best ways you can go. If you want to be really competitive at CTR...I'm not sure a draft is the horse for you but if you wanted to be really competitive I have to imagine you'd know that already?

And, I suppose, full disclosure: I volunteer for a draft horse rescue here in Maryland (http://www.gentlegiantsdrafthorserescue.com).

JenLS
Jul. 31, 2010, 06:14 AM
His vet check was yesterday and he failed spectacularly. Low ring bone in both front feet and thin soles. Vet said he'd have to stay shod year round to help keep him comfortable. We didn't do xrays as she felt he wouldn't stay sound even with the (imo) little amount of riding I wanted to do.

The draft horse farrier was a couple of hours behind the vet's appointment. He liked the horse and said he'd be no problem for what I wanted to ride and drive unless I started doing road work on him in which case he'd need full shoes and some special work done to him.

Just to clarify, when I meant the competitive trail riding I wasn't meaning 25 mile endurance rides. They have competitive rides around here that are about 6 miles and they have obstacles along the way and you're judged on them.

I have about 2 - 3 days a week that I'd be trail riding around the farm and would hope to be able to haul out and ride occassionally too.

Talked to the owner about it, turns out she was fully aware of the problem, but chose not to mention it.

I'm having a hard time making the decision to return him. I know it's the rational decision, but I'm emotionally vested now lol.

If anyone wants to chime in with encouragement or a kick in the pants that's great!

DandyMatiz
Jul. 31, 2010, 06:43 AM
Send him back!!! Just being a draft, doing CTR (even 6 miles) he isn't the best choice. With his leg issues already... And yeah, the farrier will love you if you do road work with him lol.. shoes upon shoes upon shoes. The vet already told you that he won't stay sound for what you want.. it's not fair to either of you.

selah
Jul. 31, 2010, 06:48 AM
OK, I'll chime in!

Return him, and visit him every now and then with a pocket of carrots.

AEM74
Jul. 31, 2010, 08:36 AM
He's as cute as a bug's ear BUT heed your vet's *expert* advice. She said the horse wouldn't stay sound even for the limited amount of riding that you want to do. Why chance it? I know you're emotionally invested but it's not fair to this horse. We have to make good, thoughtful decisions on our horse's behalf and if trail riding him, even just 6 miles, is likely to break him down well, I just don't think that's very fair/kind. You don't sound like an unkind person, I know you like him, but think about what he would want. Sore ankles, legs and feet? Definitely not. Sorry, I don't mean to sound preachy...

Send him home and visit him with a pocketful of carrots occasionally as Selah mentioned.

There's your kick in the pants. ;)

Oh, and P.S., I am the adoring owner of a draft cross so I fully understand how easy it is to fall in love with one. If a draft or draft cross is what you truly want, keep searching and find one that's better suited to your needs. They're out there.

SmokenMirrors
Jul. 31, 2010, 08:57 AM
Draft horses are great for pulling loads. As saddle horses they are sub-optimal for a bunch of reasons.

IMO if you want a saddle horse then find one what will do for you. Leave the drafters to the teamsters. :)

G.

OP, it is up to you to do what is right, if you want to invest in a horse you may not be able to ride later down the road then that is your option and your time and money. I have a mare who has the start of ring bone and she is as sound as anything right now. Her issues aren't ring bone at the moment.

And Guilherme, your so off base I actually smiled about drafts being sub optimal and that they should be left to the teamsters. I have two 17.2H Percheron mares and they BOTH do it all, and I ride them a lot. Trixie is very forward and showy under saddle, she enjoys to be worked and to have a job. Smoke, who is registered, also is shown under saddle and does well, she may take a bit of leg but that is her. AND her and I were featured in the Trail Rider Magazine about owners who use their drafts to trail ride as well. So you see, draft horses may have some issues that the owner needs to be educated about when riding but there is no reason why they can't be ridden.

And after seeing how our oh so wonderful draft club teamsters work their drafts, would rather they be ridden and loved than how they "work" them.

Kyzteke
Jul. 31, 2010, 02:19 PM
His vet check was yesterday and he failed spectacularly. Low ring bone in both front feet and thin soles. Vet said he'd have to stay shod year round to help keep him comfortable. We didn't do xrays as she felt he wouldn't stay sound even with the (imo) little amount of riding I wanted to do.

The draft horse farrier was a couple of hours behind the vet's appointment. He liked the horse and said he'd be no problem for what I wanted to ride and drive unless I started doing road work on him in which case he'd need full shoes and some special work done to him.

Just to clarify, when I meant the competitive trail riding I wasn't meaning 25 mile endurance rides. They have competitive rides around here that are about 6 miles and they have obstacles along the way and you're judged on them.

I have about 2 - 3 days a week that I'd be trail riding around the farm and would hope to be able to haul out and ride occassionally too.

Talked to the owner about it, turns out she was fully aware of the problem, but chose not to mention it.

I'm having a hard time making the decision to return him. I know it's the rational decision, but I'm emotionally vested now lol.

If anyone wants to chime in with encouragement or a kick in the pants that's great!

Pant kicker here!!

Seel, I'm not emotionally invested, so my response is to return him ( btw, nice owner...:confused:) and get something sound, but that's up to you.

Seriously is this a young horse? So are you REALLY willing to feed him for the rest of his life (easily another 10-15 years), invest all that $$$ on his care, shoes, etc. 'cause of his big brown eyes?

And when the ringbone gets worse (let's say, in another 2-3 years) and he can't do squat?

AND HOW MUCH HAVE YOU RIDDEN HIM ALREADY? Do you even know if he's safe out on the trails? Have you even tried him out u/s?

If not, you need to do that several times before you can truly make up your mind.

Honestly, if you want to be a "rescue" then have at it, but if it was me I'd me taking him back.

Not sure what his owner is asking for him, but I sure has heck wouldn't pay a DIME for him. If she wants to GIVE him to you (good home and all that), then maybe.

Otherwise...hook up the trailer, he's going home....
\
Edited to add: I already know you are going to keep him and you are probably actually going to give the owner $$ for him as well. So just do me ONE favor...contact me when you are ready to buy your next horse. You are the kind of buyer we all dream of! :D:winkgrin::lol:;)

Kyzteke
Jul. 31, 2010, 02:29 PM
And Guilherme, your so off base I actually smiled about drafts being sub optimal and that they should be left to the teamsters. I have two 17.2H Percheron mares and they BOTH do it all, and I ride them a lot....... So you see, draft horses may have some issues that the owner needs to be educated about when riding but there is no reason why they can't be ridden.

She didnt' say they couldn't be ridden -- she said they were suboptimal as riding horses....which is true, like it or not.

The issues have been pointed out by many posters here -- soundness, tack fit, height, mounting, cost of shoes, lack of nimbleness, inability to condition for trail riding, etc. etc.

That obviously doesn't mean EVERY draft horse will have these issues, but enough of them do to make them suboptimal as riding horses. I'm sure we could find a poodle who could be a police dog, but not many.:lol:

You aren't going to find anything in a draft that you can't find in a well trained, easy going "light horse," and they wouldn't have the laundry list of issues (for riding) a draft will.

I've put 500lbs of grain in the back of my Geo Metro hatchback, but that doesn't mean it was meant to haul weight on a regular basis!

Cielo Azure
Jul. 31, 2010, 02:45 PM
Draft horses are great for pulling loads. As saddle horses they are sub-optimal for a bunch of reasons.

IMO if you want a saddle horse then find one what will do for you. Leave the drafters to the teamsters. :)

G.

How offensive (or ignorant).

I am a teamster (as in Smoke in Mirrors).

I drive all the time but I ride all the time too.

Nothing beats a draft horse for riding, in my opinion and certainly, certain lines of Percherons have always been bred for both riding and driving. I currently have 12 Percherons.

Yeh, I have a couple of light horses, I never ride them. Too much of a PITA and I don't like feeling that low to the ground and they aren't very smart. I love riding my sherman tanks on trails, we go every where. I love their work ethic. I love how they can think. I love to be able to trail ride or drive. And yeh, sometimes I do serious farm work with my horses.

Today, my seventeen year old son and I put serious miles on two mares, both in the ring and on a trail ride. One of them is going to the Congress in Oct. We had great fun, then I drove another mare to condition her for the World Percheron Congress. Tomorrow, I ride the one I drove today and drive the one I rode today. Right now, we are riding and driving everyday. We will probably hitch a team (maybe unicorn) this weekend also.

I will be riding and driving at the Congress (same time as the WEG and it will be a lot more fun, in my opinion). The World Percheron Congress will have riding and driving class! So, clearly more than a few people, who really work their drafts, think that riding drafts is perfectly fine. We will enter riding, pleasure driving, carriage driving and some farm classes.

We have never had a case of ring bone or side bone in one of our main horses, that we ride or drive. Does it happen? Of course! But draft horses that are used properly, shod properly and those with good conformation, tend to hold up very well. That isn't to say, that just with all teen-aged horses, it happens. Just as with light horses.

The Percheron Assoc of America has no breed standard. Why? They believe in the versatility of the breed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7UKz2sZ84Qhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9PrhT66J2Q
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wH8Bw2ytF8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rw31PgxG6o

They are anything but suboptimal!

BTW Most draft horses don't have to be shod and most farriers will be glad to trim them.

Tack is not anymore expensive, that is just...silly. Ebay, adjustable saddles make finding tack a breeze. So many people ride drafts these days.

As to height, each to their own. I never have an issue with it. I use a mounting block to get on and then a hill or rock or tree stump to remount, if I am on the trail. If I have to, I can swing up on my 18.1 hand mare (I just look terrible doing it), and I am almost fifty! My working students, who are much more fit than me have no issues what so ever.

Sub-optimal...not!!!

JenLS
Jul. 31, 2010, 03:05 PM
He's 10 yrs old. He's been quite extensively driven, much more so than ridden and he's very safe and experienced in that manner. I've ridden him and taken him out on the trail and had no problems at all. He did super on the trail, and I didn't even feel a bobble except walking across the gravel driveway. I think that's why I'm having such a hard time with it, because he seems just fine. If he was head-bobbing, three legged lame, I'd get it.

I already have a 30 year old NSH gelding that has been retired except for light riding for 7 years. I'm committed to him, I've had him since he was 7. Realistically I can afford 1 pasture pet and a trail horse, not 2 pasture pets and a trail horse.

Guilherme
Jul. 31, 2010, 03:50 PM
How offensive (or ignorant).



Were you born rude or are you a self made man/woman?

My opinion is based upon draft horse ownership, too. Both full blood and half blood. And boarding them, too. And upon a study of history (of light horses and draft horses).

Opinions are like noses; everybody gets at least one. You certainly are entitled to yours. As am I. If mine offends you sugest you learn to live with it.

G.

P.S. My appologies to the rest of the group for my testiness today; it sometimes happens when temps run 90 plus for several weeks. ;)

Kyzteke
Jul. 31, 2010, 04:11 PM
He's 10 yrs old. He's been quite extensively driven, much more so than ridden and he's very safe and experienced in that manner. I've ridden him and taken him out on the trail and had no problems at all. He did super on the trail, and I didn't even feel a bobble except walking across the gravel driveway. I think that's why I'm having such a hard time with it, because he seems just fine. If he was head-bobbing, three legged lame, I'd get it.

I already have a 30 year old NSH gelding that has been retired except for light riding for 7 years. I'm committed to him, I've had him since he was 7. Realistically I can afford 1 pasture pet and a trail horse, not 2 pasture pets and a trail horse.

OK -- here are the good points as I see them:
1. Your NSH is 30 -- seriously, how much longer can he last? So I'm betting, within another 3 years, you will be down to 1 horse. I know this sounds gruesome, but it's not meant to be. We all have our limits $$-wise, and it's smart to think of these things.
2. So if the draftie is riding sound NOW and you only plan to use him lightly AND he is walking sound now (and I would ask how the vet determined this since he didn't do any rads. Hoof testers?), AND you actually sit down and compute the realistic costs of shoes, etc (including all the extras he might need that the farrier mentioned) AND you really think he is the love of your life (exactly how many other horses have you looked at?) AND you can live with all of this, I say take him FOR FREE! Or at least only 1/2 what the owner is asking.

This horse is not readily marketable -- and doubly so in this market. I can get a TEAM of Belgians in this market for $1200 in my area (QH mostly) and I bet they are even cheaper in the Midwest. So the owner will probably thrilled to get anything at all.

But if you can live with it, and you are fully aware that you MIGHT end up with 2 pasture puffs in 6 months -- hey -- it's your dime!;)

Maybe you end up not riding much -- I sure don't ride mine that much...and have a horse more for a pet -- that happens.

If this attraction is that strong and you can live with the costs & (possible consequences), then go for it.

There is an old saying, "Life says, 'take what you want, then pay for it,'."

In terms of horse buying, it's not a smart move. But sometimes there IS more to it that that, and Beings come into our life for other reasons...:yes:

Good luck which ever you choose.

Kyzteke
Jul. 31, 2010, 04:19 PM
Nothing beats a draft horse for riding, in my opinion and certainly, certain lines of Percherons have always been bred for both riding and driving. I currently have 12 Percherons.


Yeh, I have a couple of light horses, I never ride them. Too much of a PITA and I don't like feeling that low to the ground and they aren't very smart. I love riding my sherman tanks on trails, we go every where. I love their work ethic. I love how they can think. I love to be able to trail ride or drive. And yeh, sometimes I do serious farm work with my horses.

Today, my seventeen year old son and I put serious miles on two mares, both in the ring and on a trail ride. One of them is going to the Congress in Oct. We had great fun, then I drove another mare to condition her for the World Percheron Congress. Tomorrow, I ride the one I drove today and drive the one I rode today. Right now, we are riding and driving everyday. We will probably hitch a team (maybe unicorn) this weekend also.

I will be riding and driving at the Congress (same time as the WEG and it will be a lot more fun, in my opinion). The World Percheron Congress will have riding and driving class! So, clearly more than a few people, who really work their drafts, think that riding drafts is perfectly fine. We will enter riding, pleasure driving, carriage driving and some farm classes.

We have never had a case of ring bone or side bone in one of our main horses, that we ride or drive. Does it happen? Of course! But draft horses that are used properly, shod properly and those with good conformation, tend to hold up very well. That isn't to say, that just with all teen-aged horses, it happens. Just as with light horses.


They are anything but suboptimal!

BTW Most draft horses don't have to be shod and most farriers will be glad to trim them.

Tack is not anymore expensive, that is just...silly. Ebay, adjustable saddles make finding tack a breeze. So many people ride drafts these days.

As to height, each to their own. I never have an issue with it. I use a mounting block to get on and then a hill or rock or tree stump to remount, if I am on the trail. If I have to, I can swing up on my 18.1 hand mare (I just look terrible doing it), and I am almost fifty! My working students, who are much more fit than me have no issues what so ever.

Sub-optimal...not!!!

So why do you think there are so many responses on this thread, by draft lovers/riders, pointing out all the various shortcomings of having a draft as your main riding horse?

Surely there must be some truth to it? Almost every poster here (most of whom DO ride drafts and love them) pointed out many of these shortcomings ('cause, not being a draft person, I wasn't aware of most of them).

I'm sure there might be breeding programs where you stress riding your stock, but this is not the norm, apparently. Drafts WERE bred to pull, not ride. Historically, Perchs were not ridden.

I'm sure there was a reason for this.

As a point of fact, does the OP's horse REALLY sound like a good deal?

Cielo Azure
Jul. 31, 2010, 06:08 PM
Historically Perchs were ridden and driven, you are wrong. Would you like me to cite a number of historic books in my collection that write about Percherons as riding as well as driving horses in the 19th and 20th century? I found one book on line (it isn't the best example but it is the one that is on the net), written in 1886 look at p 136- 137:
http://books.google.com/books?id=c3QYAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=weld+percheron&source=bl&ots=Hg9rmMp5zL&sig=US4-Aqx2o2UEwW0FRzXz8azWgDY&hl=en&ei=459UTP_UIIP58AbistX3BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBIQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

Seems to me that riding and even racing "fast drafts" (as percherons were often called back then), was done. Also, there is a chapter in that book that writes of three different types of Percherons (one light, one medium and one for heavy work)

Many, many people on this thread own draft horses and attest to their being fantastic trail horses and riding horses. A few people (many, don't even have a draft horse) tend to chime in about how they shouldn't be ridden. What was written was that they are unsuitable and sub-optimal and should be left to teamsters to drive. I find those comments so totally false, that yes, I do find it offensive.

As to prices of good quality, sound and registered drafts right now (take a gander):
http://www.horsesall.com/Article.aspx?ID=20461

pAin't_Misbehavin'
Jul. 31, 2010, 07:53 PM
:no: I know it's hard, but return him now.

I have a lame eleven year old. I'm keeping him - but that's because I've had him since he was three; he's 14.0 hh; and he lives on air.

And still, I shake my head at the thought of the vet care and farrier care for (God willing) the next twenty years for a horse I'll never be able to ride again.

You, OTOH, are looking at BIG feed bills and BIG farrier bills - and maybe BIGGER vet bills than you would with a light horse.

I wouldn't take the risk, were I in your place.

SmokenMirrors
Jul. 31, 2010, 08:54 PM
I just want to clarify....just because a draft horse is bigger doesn't mean that their vet bill will be bigger as well. My draft horses are no more expensive or cheaper than my two Quarter Horses, shots are the same, teeth floating the same, etc. And an emergency is just that....depends on what the emergency is for and what has to be done.

As for tack, again, depends on where you look, what your looking for and how much your willing to spend. Harness wise, I have 3 sets of team harness. One is old, heavy brass spotted leather that is a nice work harness, got it for $250 out of someone's barn in the mid west and once it was cleaned and a few minor repairs, does well. I have another work harness that is bio-thane and nylon. It is nice, cleans up well but it is for work so it is dirty and we use it when were conditioning during the year or a get together or plow day. Then I have a bio-thane show harness, everything on it is nice, clean, and shiny. That and the bio-thane and nylon work harness came with Trixie, along with collars and pads. Saddles I got used and good condition. Same with the head stalls and girths. You CAN outfit a draft for a lot less than what most people are thinking you can and still look good.

Feed, what is so expensive about it? My two mares don't eat anymore grain nor hay than the Quarter Horses...it is the farrier care that is more expensive out of everything, but they have issues with their hooves that I have cared for since getting into drafts 7 years ago. It is a misrepresentation of the facts about draft horses and people who don't know or don't do their comparative shopping or ask those who DO have draft horses, they assume they are more expensive when in reality, they are not.

Trakehner
Jul. 31, 2010, 09:16 PM
Draft horse shoeing and their feet are the Achilles Heel of the breeds. Just finding a blacksmith can be tough to impossible. Finding a good farrier can be really impossible.

I have a friend who almost got out of Shires due to not being able to find a farrier...she had a nice boy at stud too!

I used to haul my shire over 45 miles each way to get him shod. One farrier charges me $260 for a reset!!! Obscene, welcome to the world of drafts.

Iron Ridge
Aug. 1, 2010, 03:19 PM
Draft horse shoeing and their feet are the Achilles Heel of the breeds. Just finding a blacksmith can be tough to impossible. Finding a good farrier can be really impossible.

I have a friend who almost got out of Shires due to not being able to find a farrier...she had a nice boy at stud too!

I used to haul my shire over 45 miles each way to get him shod. One farrier charges me $260 for a reset!!! Obscene, welcome to the world of drafts.

Or it depends upon where you are.

My drafts are blatantly obvious from the street, and I still have farriers stopping by OFFERING to work on them. I have a steady farrier, who I've kept for almost 5 years now (LOVE him) and I pay a whopping 10 bucks extra for trims.

Draft tack hasn't been a problem for me at all. Mounting is no different then with a tall warmblood. Feed costs for a draft are less then for, say, an OTTB (at least my OTTB).

In my opinion it's not about being sub-optimal, it's about being different, and draft or draft cross owners need to be made aware of those differences. Lack of knowledge of ANY breed of horse can cause problems and raise costs. If those differences make the breed/type sub-optimal for YOU, then you shouldn't own one. For others of us, these are simply things to consider, and any horse purchase should be well thought out.

analise
Aug. 2, 2010, 09:49 AM
As far as riding horses goes:

I don't consider them "sub-optimal" if they're being ridden appropriately for their abilities.

I mean, very very few drafts are ever going to be, say, a Grand Prix dressage horse. Or a 5 foot showjumper. Or compete in eventing at Rolex.

But I think they're very suitable for the vast majority of rider who wants a quiet horse that can ride a few times a week, go on trails, and put guests on when they come visit. The vast majority of drafts I've met fit that description. Of course, there are also those drafts who are well aware of their size and how it can intimidate people and use that to their advantage, those drafts rarely make good beginner/re-rider horses (and not saying the OP is either of those things, just speaking in general) unless their handler stays firm at all times. I mean, many times the rescue has seen people come in talking about their draft with a behavior problem and it really came back to being a handler problem.

Anyway, all I'm saying is I don't think drafts needs must be driving horses only. Sure, they were bred for hitch and pulling and such like, but that doesn't necessarily completely relegate them from also being ridden. The drafts at Gentle Giants have done all sorts of things: play day games shows (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QBgPg-VRg0), local hunter (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v463/anaili/gentle%20giants/saddleview%20may%2016%202009/DSC09842.jpg) shows (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs311.snc3/28206_10150159290020062_777030061_11918492_863150_ n.jpg), team penning, dressage, parades (http://hphotos-snc3.fbcdn.net/hs262.snc3/27748_10150167933405062_777030061_12111223_3559974 _n.jpg), drill team (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ8VG2z7Fec), pleasure (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v463/anaili/gentle%20giants/1215482995.jpg) trail rides (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs244.snc1/9131_137377753790_522988790_2701618_5687303_n.jpg) , camping (http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs264.snc1/9131_137377308790_522988790_2701544_3268258_n.jpg) , judged trail rides (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewrbD_cIouk) [like the ones the OP is talking about doing], sled pulling (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRzgL1HWFgQ), public meet-and-greets (http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3309/3624747739_60d1e3098c_b.jpg), and yes, driving a cart. (http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3360/3624768355_31a7dbb142_b.jpg)

EDIT: and as far as farriery goes: Does it cost more? YES. My well-behaved draft who'll stand for his feet getting trimmed (and he only needs trimming) still costs $65 for a trim. I'm given to understand light horses typically cost about half that. Shoes, too, are more expensive (and they'd have to be if only for the fact that drafty feet are so much larger than light horse feet). And I understand it can be difficult to find a good farrier willing to work on drafts, especially if they've only ever worked on drafts who hadn't been taught good manners (annnnnd we're back to that handler problem again). That said, I know of at least three good farriers in the MD/PA area who'll do drafts.

Auventera Two
Aug. 2, 2010, 11:23 AM
Get more opinions before deciding one way or the other. I trim a huge Saddlebred/Clydesdale cross with severe articular and nonarticular ringbone - his pasterns look like they're full of golf balls. This big guy is totally sound for moderate trail riding as long as he gets joint injections. He is barefoot and has been barefoot most of his life. He's also on oral joint supplements and gets a gram of bute here or there on a sore day.

A safe horse you can TRUST to not kill you on a trail is worth a LOT. Even the cost of joint injections, in my opinion. But then I own, and have owned, horses with medical issues and it just doesn't bother me. Any horse is going to have SOMETHING. I'd rather it be something that is medically manageable than something mental/behavioral.

And seriously - a vet who diagnoses a horse as "won't stay sound" due to "low ringbone" without the benefit of radiographs? That's absurd. That vet has no way to know what kind of damage there is without radiographs. Low ringbone is ossification within the DIP joint. That cannot be seen without radiographs.

How the heck did this vet manage to diagnose this when the horse is sound and obviously doesn't have disfigured pasterns or you would have noticed it???? Get another opinion. Seriously.

The draft cross I trim has the scariest radiographs I've personally seen but you sure wouldn't know it as he and his owner are galloping across a field. No, he cannot be stalled, and no he cannot do tight turns. Big deal!

And I wouldn't let thin soles scare you away either. There are plenty of options. And while Drafts due tend to have a flatter, thinner sole (in my experience), you can use things like Durasole and Sole Guard in lieu of shoes, or in combination with it. Very easy, and affordable. And not all Drafts have gargantuan sized feet, so depending on the size, you may be able to buy hoof boots to fit him so you don't have to keep him shod.

If it were me, and I really really liked this horse, I'd use this as a major negotiating tool with the owner, and I'd go for it. But that's just one opinion.

Just yesterday I was at a dressage show and was introduced to a lovely 25 yr old mare with hind pasterns and fetlocks that look like they were run over by a mac truck. They're 3x their normal size, and full of lumps and growths. The joints are mostly fused, and the horse's ligament and tendon tissue has mostly calcified. This horse does First level dressage, and even won her division yesterday! She's on 24/7 turnout and she does fine for the work her owner wants her to do.

katarine
Aug. 2, 2010, 11:30 AM
I don't care for them as riding horses. If they are too heavily muscled, they have a hard time with heat management, just as heavy muscled QHs do. And the height makes getting up and down a challenge..and you get to hit every limb and spider web all the others rode under. And trailer sizing and shoeing were already noted.

Just not my cuppa joe. I like 'em lighter bodied and nimble.

AEM74
Aug. 6, 2010, 09:01 AM
So, OP, just bumping this to see what the verdict was. Whichever decision you made, I hope you're happy and things are going well.

spotnnotfarm
Aug. 6, 2010, 12:35 PM
I do not have a comment about riding a draft because I have never ridden one. However, I have ridden with Chocomare and Penny and know that her darft walks out! The light horses have to trot to keep up and are worn out after the ride:lol:

OP since it sounds like you like this horse why don't you have a different vet come out and give a second opinion or ask the owner if you can do a long term lease on him?

JenLS
Aug. 9, 2010, 10:03 PM
Well, I made the decision to pass on him based on the vet check. I spent a miserable week unable to stop thinking about him. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't get clear, and cried at the drop of a hat. It was like being pregnant again :)

So, I decided to smarten up and listen to my instincts and I went back and got him. I was able to purchase him for half of the original asking price.

His front pasterns are a little lumpy, but since they were uniformly lumpy I just thought that was the way he was made; until the vet told me otherwise.

I've got some photos below. I don't have a bridle that fits him. I have one on order, but in the meantime we've been cruising around with a halter and lead ropes. Normally I am dressed riding appropriately...

Apparently I can't figure out how to link a photo either. Sorry.

http://s229.photobucket.com/albums/ee314/JenLS_2007/Tommy/

prudence
Aug. 9, 2010, 11:29 PM
You two look so happy together! Congratulations and may you two have many great rides in the future :D

Trakehner
Aug. 10, 2010, 07:08 AM
Have a lot of fun with your new boy. He's cute and your smile gives away how you're enjoying your new boy.

Remember, almost all drafts will get ringbone, once it's all done being dramatic, they're fine.

Watch out for the heat with him. Lot's of muscle, heat generated and a small "radiator" can make summer rough for these guys (no matter what people say, drafts have a harder time cooling themselves than light horses do). I drove my Shires with a heart monitor on them to make sure I didn't overstress them...they were always so willing to try and had such big hearts I wanted to make sure I kept them within optimal parameters.

I love draft attitudes (well, some breed's attitudes more than others) and their willingness to say, "OK, we can do that" and then they walk on through all sorts of things. I had a mare that loved chainsaws...if someone was using one of these noisy things she was drawn to it. Surprised a lot of lumberjacks ("...and I'm OK, I sleep all night and I work all day. I cut down trees, I eat my lunch and go to the lavatry, on Monday I go shoppin' and have buttered scones for tea").

Kyzteke
Aug. 13, 2010, 10:56 PM
Well, congrats on your new boy!! I hope you have a blast with him. He looks very sweet.

Jocko
Aug. 14, 2010, 12:43 PM
Congratulations on your new draft horse. I have owned them for 14 years and love them.

About that ringbone: I have dealt with it in two drafts I owned. As many have emphasized, a good draft horse farrier is a must. Ringbone does not require shoes but expert trimming on a 6 to 8 week schedule is a must. Since ringbone is arthritis (of the pastern joints), a low dose of aspirin can relieve inflammation and pain. Keep Bute on hand for flareups.

BTW: I love your pictures and he appears to be a strawberry roan Belgian. Cute, cute, cute ... did I mention he is cute.

UrbanHennery
Aug. 14, 2010, 08:09 PM
Congrats - enjoy him! Sometimes the best horses are those that find us.

I was on a search this spring and must have looked at 25-30 horses. Had two home on trial that failed PPEs. Then went and looked at a paint/QH that (I learned upon arrival) really didn't meet any of my requirements for training (he's green), size (he's 15.3 not 15), conformation (built for dressage not reining) or color (I swore no more red/white paints). But as soon as I met him I had to have him - he was just "the one". After all my careful searching I bought him on the spot - no vet check, no farrier check, no trainer consult, no guarantees.

3 months later I can't imagine not having him, crappy feet, diarrhea and all.

AKB
Aug. 14, 2010, 08:32 PM
What a cutie. Congratulations.

We own two horses who failed the vetting miserably, and one who had to go back 3 times before he passed. The two have required maintenance (joint injections, Legend, and other treatments), but I am so glad we have them. The older one is now 24, and actually quite sound, although retired. The 22 year old did well until age 18. Keeping him going since then has been an effort.

Get a good farrier and talk with your vet or a vet lameness surgeon about how to keep him sound. You may have some bumps in the road, but it certainly looks like you got yourself a lovely horse.

Enjoy.

Gestalt
Aug. 15, 2010, 07:46 PM
Some people buy horses to further their showing or riding career and others buy horses for love. I, like you, bought the one I fell in love with. You know the problems he has and can map out a program to keep him as healthy and happy as possible. When you love something, taking care of it is not a chore.

He is CUTE and your smile says it all. Congratulations!

JenLS
Oct. 29, 2010, 11:05 PM
http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee314/JenLS_2007/Tommy/EthanandJohnFallPond2010_05.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee314/JenLS_2007/Tommy/2010-10-1203-51-12-100_5414crop-1.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee314/JenLS_2007/Tommy/EthanandJohnFallPond10-12-10_38.jpg

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee314/JenLS_2007/Tommy/IMG_4127.jpg

Had to post updated photos of Tommy! He's so handsome and such a good boy. I love his head shot, I think it looks like he's smiling.

SmokenMirrors
Oct. 30, 2010, 09:20 PM
Glad to hear things are still going well with you and your boy! He sure is a cutie!

prudence
Oct. 30, 2010, 09:36 PM
Yes, he does look like he's smiling. Best wishes to both of you and thank you for sharing such happy pictures!

sunnycher
Oct. 31, 2010, 03:14 PM
Have 4 right now, 3 of them broke, and have owned probably 5 more crosses. LOVE them - great brain, hubby horses, low level eventers/h/j and great all around citizens. Good luck...

LuvMyperch
Oct. 31, 2010, 05:13 PM
That head shot is fabulous. What a kind looking gent he is. I dont think Ive ever seen a roan with such a blonde mane. That is absolutely gorgeous! Now I can see why you just HAD to go back and get him.......Enjoy him!

analise
Oct. 31, 2010, 10:06 PM
He is ADORABLE.

Glad you guys look like you're having fun together. :)

rugbygirl
Nov. 1, 2010, 02:46 PM
BTW Most draft horses don't have to be shod and most farriers will be glad to trim them.

That's pretty region-dependent. MOST (10/12 called last summer) farriers in Northern Alberta refuse outright to do any draft...until you uncover the world of DRAFT farriers (who often refuse outright to shoe anything but drafts.) :) There are enough horses around to keep the farriers busy...they can afford to be choosy.

To the OP, glad you found a horse who makes you happy, I wish you all the best! I regret every day giving away my Clydesdale mare...even though she is kind of in a horsey-heaven type of retirement home! I brought her to the Rocky Mountains 2 years ago and she trekked along with the light horses absolutely stunning me again and again with her surefootedness and ability. Bonus, when crossing rivers with the draft, you never worry about being washed away, and usually your feet stay dry than the people on their light trail horses ;) I trail rode her everywhere! She didn't even need shoes on the asphalt around home.

My mare was a wash out as a driving horse, and she got a second career with me doing exactly what you describe, local shows and trail rides. I'd not hesitate to buy a draft again for that level of riding work. It was tough for her to really get up under herself and on the bit and took a LOT of rider effort...so progressing through the levels would have been tough...but let's be realistic, our potential was just as limited by the rider as the horse :lol:

Spooky: http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q188/Perrys_mama/Spooky%20and%20Zoh/P2180188.jpg?t=1288636633

http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q188/Perrys_mama/IMG_7329.jpg?t=1288636993

http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q188/Perrys_mama/IMG_7592.jpg?t=1288637152

Zugabe
Nov. 1, 2010, 04:58 PM
My 17.1h ClydeX is by far the most athletic horse I've owned out of many light breeds. He has a wonderful mind, will jump anything you put in front of him, yet has the collection for upper-level dressage.
I also owned a full 17.2h Percheron gelding that was superb on trails, and would not tire that easily. He would also jump well, even though I used him mostly for lower-level dressage, and trails.
Of course it depends on the horse, but I think drafts and draft crosses are truly amazing athletes. I'd give your guy a go!

Oscar-Owen
Nov. 8, 2010, 03:30 PM
I have an Irish Draught who I love. He is totally steady on the trails. He also does low level dressage and eventing. He is truly a good citizen.

Oh man, someone else with an ID! I saw your post and I had to say something. I to have a part-bred Irish Draught, and I was thinking of doing novice competitive rides with him. Have you ridden yours in any competive rides?

Mersy
Nov. 10, 2010, 12:03 AM
What a cutie!
I love drafts. Use to have a PerchX that was the sweetest horse I ever knew. She was honest and steady. She did get hot easy though and I had to be careful with her on competitive trail rides and long trail rides.

HOOF123
Nov. 10, 2010, 12:09 AM
CUTE!!!