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Draft Cross Thoughts?

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  • #61
    Originally posted by columbus View Post

    Some of the traits of the draft are very dominant...they have been bred for a long time to have that steep short hindquarter and to have the hind feet close together...
    Why? What is the purpose?
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    • #62
      Originally posted by Lost_at_C View Post
      Any decision to breed ANYTHING should always begin with a truly honest (bordering on brutal) assessment of conformation. If the mare owner doesn't possess the knowledge/experience/detachment for this then it's best to consult reputable breeders, vets, or trainers in the intended discipline. There are basic conformation flaws that are more common to some breeds than others (for example, some drafts can be problematic with steep croups, straight hocks, short necks), but each individual must be evaluated separately. Don't count on even the nicest stallion improving a mare, and if at all possible do your research into your mare's ancestors' conformation too.

      This exactly. I bred Shires stallions to TB mares for years and the outcome was really outstanding. But one has to do the homework, be uber objective...see the offspring that both the mare and stallion have produced (within their own breed) to make a good judgement about what each can offer for what you are trying to produce. Even then it's a crapshoot.

      I used imported Shires (Wales and England) not U.S. Shires...very hitchy, too close a gene pool, rebred for "pulling" here in the U.S when they were introduced in the 50s. Not the "riding type" (back to front movement, not vice versa) bred in the UK and Wales for eons. And that effort paid off.

      And I consider myself lucky-- because I remained objective. Studied conformation of each, movement of each and what they "passed on" to offspring in their own breed breeding.

      They all made very good dressage horses to mid level...3 of the 8 I bred were superlative by anyone's standards (including BNT's who did clinics here with them).

      Never had any soundness problems, even in hard work every day in the dressage school...well into their late teens. Some are in their 20's now, still sound. No joint injections, no nothing.

      But I think my good fortune is because I really exhausted myself in the process studying prior progeny then matching mare to stallion individually. Not for the weak of heart or the "I love draft crosses" in making such breeding decisions.
      Last edited by sid; Nov. 28, 2012, 08:34 PM. Reason: puntcuation, typos and a forgotten thought.
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      • #63
        Originally posted by Eclectic Horseman View Post
        I've seen two of this rare cross (Clyde/Hackney.) Both came from Canada. The first evented Novice Level, and then concentrated on dressage to 3rd Level. He didn't have much of an extension, but his other marks made up for it.

        The second is an amazing first flight field hunter. His name is Rudy and you can see him here:

        http://northstreetwarmbloods.com/photo3.html
        Clyde/Hackney crosses are called Commercial Horses. You might have better luck finding them if you search that term instead for the cross. They are mostly used for driving.

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        • #64
          cgc421, they are gorgeous!!! Very nice cart horse types that should cross well with light horses IMO.

          I've had 3 draft crosses in the last 10 years - so yes, maybe a small sample size, but it's a 100% of them that I've encountered! One 1/4 Perch, one 1/2 Belg, and this one is 1/2 "something draft but unidentified". Based on his appearance, I'd guess Shire, but maybe Perch.

          Are they heavy on their feet? Yes, but not one of them that I've had has been phlegmatic. That's a training issue IMO. They've been smart, kind, and interested in what I had to do. But they are *different* and it's different motivation. I've had no issues with getting an uphill canter, but mine were all built uphill. I have noticed that to keep them from going into plodding mode, you can't drill them. You have to be "on an adventure". I abhor horses who are behind the leg, and mine aren't or haven't been.

          My current half-draft opens gates, is a titch spooky, and is very very forward. His attitude is *let me at it*. He reminds me of a golden retriever. And he's a heavy sort - short back, as wide as he is tall. He has a lovely canter, a very forward and active hind end, it almost feels like you're riding on a horse with moon boots. And he does have reach as well. He'd been driven before I got him so his attitude, ground manners etc. are to DIE for.

          I also love light horse breeds, but there's something about the way drafts *tend* to be contemplative that I really like. Even if he's spooky, he stops, thinks about it, gets over it. He's no dead-head, but I was able to try him for the first time 100 feet from where they were butchering pigs.

          Dressage shows should be no problem. ;-) Actually - he's probably going to do a little bit of everything. Is he going to be an UL eventer or Dressage horse? No. But seriously - how many of us are REALLY going to be there. What most of us adults need is a horse that can do a little bit of everything, that we can trust to not be ridden for a few weeks and not require a trainer, and that we enjoy. Out of the 12 horses that I've had in the last 10 years, only my draft-crosses have been those. All of the others required a lot more management.

          Are they "warmbloods" like the Euro breeds? Meh - whatever you believe there is debatable. But I do believe that they have a special niche, and that they are worth paying attention to.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by CGC421 View Post
            She is bred for a 2014
            Originally posted by CGC421 View Post

            She is in foal for 2014 to a son of RFW Eddy.
            Originally posted by CGC421 View Post
            She is bred to the same breed for 2014.
            Ok ... now I'm confused. If your mare is pregnant now, she will foal in 2013. But I've only bred "regular" sized horses, so maybe drafts have a much longer gestation period than other horses ...
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            • #66
              Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
              I have to disagree about warmbloods being challenged to collect. Some may be but the addition of jumper blood (combination of warmblood and Thoroughbred) has created much more athletic horses.
              I was just presenting what a few of my authors have said regarding the different challenges of dressage horses. For example, Carl Hester says in "Real Life Dressage", chapter 2 Dressage Horses - Are They Born or Made? that "Top dressage horses come in a variety of shapes and sizes" and "...a big moving horse can have its own problems. ...Huge movers can find th work extremely difficult...a big moving horse does not necessarily always have the speed in the hind legs, which develop collection, nor is it able to attain the degree of flexion required for the piaffe."

              This sentiment is echoed in another of my books in which the author (another trainer/rider) says that baroque horses by their conformation find it easier to collect and more challenging to extend, and warmbloods, by their conformation, find it easier to extend and more challenging to collect.

              They're basically saying that there is no perfect dressage horse breed. They all have their challenges.

              When I have a citation for that second paragraph I'll edit and add it.

              Paula
              He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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              • #67
                I can't get the multi-quote thing to work but
                Originally Posted by columbus

                Some of the traits of the draft are very dominant...they have been bred for a long time to have that steep short hindquarter and to have the hind feet close together..."
                Originally posted by Pocket Pony View Post
                Why? What is the purpose?
                The hind feet being set close together (aka base narrow) and so that they travel with a crossing (one foot in front of the other aka plaiting or rope walking) have been selected for so that the horses did not step on the plants in the fields they were working in - ie the could fit in between the rows and still have the pulling power to drag the harrow/plow/farming implement and not ruin half the crops.
                The base narrow stance and plaiting way of moving is what makes the canter so difficult - they are not bred to canter - they have been bred for the specific purpose of pulling farm equipment in heavy footing.
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                • #68
                  Interesting. I never knew that but it makes sense.

                  Originally posted by Tasker View Post
                  I can't get the multi-quote thing to work but
                  Originally Posted by columbus

                  Some of the traits of the draft are very dominant...they have been bred for a long time to have that steep short hindquarter and to have the hind feet close together..."


                  The hind feet being set close together (aka base narrow) and so that they travel with a crossing (one foot in front of the other aka plaiting or rope walking) have been selected for so that the horses did not step on the plants in the fields they were working in - ie the could fit in between the rows and still have the pulling power to drag the harrow/plow/farming implement and not ruin half the crops.
                  The base narrow stance and plaiting way of moving is what makes the canter so difficult - they are not bred to canter - they have been bred for the specific purpose of pulling farm equipment in heavy footing.
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                  • #69
                    The really huge moving horses may be challenging, but none of us will likely be able to afford ones like Carl Hester is describing! Most warmbloods that you find in the amateur divisions -- going up to maybe third level are nice movers with a strong work ethic who enjoy dressage. Not every warmblood fits that description. My Trakehner, who was a very nice mover and bred for dressage, wanted to be a field hunter not go around in circles and was very clear about his preference.

                    In general, to tell which breeds are suitable for dressage, you have only to look at what the UL riders are taking into the show ring. It's much easier to work with horses that have a natural inclination to dressage (which mostly comes from breeding, but is also a result of the traits of the individual horse and the training) than a horse that is bred for another purpose.

                    Draft crosses have a special place in the hearts of many and I've seen some really nice ones -- in the dressage ring, out hunting and in lower level eventing. There will always be a market for them because people like them. However, it all depends on what your goals are as a rider. The ones that I see out in the hunt field now are generally sensible all-rounders (on the plus side) who are hard to keep fit and tend to be heavy on the forehand, which makes them "trippy" (on the minus side). I know many that have developed soundness problems in their non-traditional careers which has caused a lot of heartache among the owners that love them.

                    If I were horse shopping, which I am most definitely not!, I would certainly look at a nice draft cross but I wouldn't seek one out and I'd have a long talk with my vet about long-term soundness.


                    Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                    I was just presenting what a few of my authors have said regarding the different challenges of dressage horses. For example, Carl Hester says in "Real Life Dressage", chapter 2 Dressage Horses - Are They Born or Made? that "Top dressage horses come in a variety of shapes and sizes" and "...a big moving horse can have its own problems. ...Huge movers can find th work extremely difficult...a big moving horse does not necessarily always have the speed in the hind legs, which develop collection, nor is it able to attain the degree of flexion required for the piaffe."

                    This sentiment is echoed in another of my books in which the author (another trainer/rider) says that baroque horses by their conformation find it easier to collect and more challenging to extend, and warmbloods, by their conformation, find it easier to extend and more challenging to collect.

                    They're basically saying that there is no perfect dressage horse breed. They all have their challenges.

                    When I have a citation for that second paragraph I'll edit and add it.

                    Paula
                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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                    • #70
                      As usual, Bogie, your fair assessment has added more dimension to my perspective.

                      Thank you.

                      Paula
                      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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                      • #71
                        to Pocket Pony,

                        having the hocks be towards each other helped in the pulling/driving aspect of the draft horse. I believe when they dug in with their hind end, the hocks swung towards each other for more "pull".

                        the drafts were also bred with a narrow chest so their feet fit in the furoughs that they dug with their farmer owner.

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                        • #72
                          If I were horse shopping, I don't know that I would look for another draft cross, either. This thread makes me think I got lucky with mine in terms of soundness.
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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Hony View Post
                            Clyde/Hackney crosses are called Commercial Horses. You might have better luck finding them if you search that term instead for the cross. They are mostly used for driving.
                            Commercial Horses (clyde x hackney) are quite popular around here and I see them quite a bit at fairs. There is a really nice clyde x hackney that is doing dressage and has done Prix St. George and is going to be trying Grand Prix (or she might have already). The horse's name is Taipan and he is beautiful and they have been doing very well together. A very nice pair!

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                            • #74
                              You know, this discussion about draft crosses and soundness has got me thinking. My saddle maker, an Amish guy -so you know he knows horses -who has been making harness and saddle for about 20 years now made some observations to me. He said that these crosses are producing alot of back conformation challenges to saddle fitting (like regular withers, but wide shoulder, flat back, or very curvy short backs, etc) that make them really hard to fit. I wonder how much of the soundness issues being discussed might have to do with poor fitting saddles on horses in serious work for a few years? We all understand how backs and legs are connected.

                              Paula
                              He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by Tasker View Post
                                The hind feet being set close together (aka base narrow) and so that they travel with a crossing (one foot in front of the other aka plaiting or rope walking) have been selected for so that the horses did not step on the plants in the fields they were working in - ie the could fit in between the rows and still have the pulling power to drag the harrow/plow/farming implement and not ruin half the crops.
                                The base narrow stance and plaiting way of moving is what makes the canter so difficult - they are not bred to canter - they have been bred for the specific purpose of pulling farm equipment in heavy footing.
                                How interesting, I didn't know that!
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                                • #76
                                  Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                                  I was just presenting what a few of my authors have said regarding the different challenges of dressage horses. For example, Carl Hester says in "Real Life Dressage", chapter 2 Dressage Horses - Are They Born or Made? that "Top dressage horses come in a variety of shapes and sizes" and "...a big moving horse can have its own problems. ...Huge movers can find th work extremely difficult...a big moving horse does not necessarily always have the speed in the hind legs, which develop collection, nor is it able to attain the degree of flexion required for the piaffe."

                                  This sentiment is echoed in another of my books in which the author (another trainer/rider) says that baroque horses by their conformation find it easier to collect and more challenging to extend, and warmbloods, by their conformation, find it easier to extend and more challenging to collect.

                                  They're basically saying that there is no perfect dressage horse breed. They all have their challenges.

                                  When I have a citation for that second paragraph I'll edit and add it.

                                  Paula
                                  That's why I mentioned the bit about the addition of blood (specifically jumper) to make a more ideal dressage horse. The dressage warmbloods overall I think are far superior than the ones in the '80s for example. The more modern warmbloods have the ability to collect and have a quick hind leg -- they'd have to, to be able to jump the way they do.

                                  I agree that there is no perfect breed for dressage -- overall I wish warmbloods held up to their extravagant movement better. The chief problems I've seen with the warmbloods here is soundness, lack of desire to go forward (because it's so much work when they do), and not enough endurance. That's why I always like to see more blood added to warmbloods, and why I think it's unfortunate that more breeders have not taken advantage of the Thoroughbred talent here. But US breeding is just not a business the way it is in Europe.

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                                  • #77
                                    If you continue to look into breeding your mare for a personnal dressage horse, I suggest thinking outside the normal TB X. I am not a huge F1 TB x draft - Some are wonderful, others are more frankenhorses with parts that don't match (TB legs with draft body).

                                    I have been more impressed with ASB x draft - they seem more consistent. They tend to improve the shoulder and movement and still refine. You could reach out to the ASB folks with help of sport producing stallions. Also, consider a WB like Gatsby who has been used with drafts with good results.
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                                    • #78
                                      ^^^ I was going to mention saddlebreds. While I already admitted I am not a fan of most draft crosses - I have seen two saddlebred crosses that looked lovely. Having worked with a saddlebred before that just stole my heart (man that horse really had a lot of try), saddlebred / draft crosses intrigued me.
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                                      • #79
                                        I have been following this thread, but not as a rider. I own and bred pure Shires (and had a Clyde gelding for 12 years). I have been following the breeds for 20 odd years. I have a little theory. It has been said that the closeness of the Shire (and Clyde) rear is to prevent the horses trampling the crops (an old saying goes: the hocks should be so close that if they dung on one, the other hock should knock it off). The fronts on both breeds are not close, in fact they should have substantial width and fore chest. The other two pure draughts, commonly seen over here, are Percherons and Suffolks. Neither of these breeds are close in the rear. They, too, were/are used for pulling harrows, ploughs, and other farm implements through rows of crops. I've always wondered why the hocks should be so close in the Shire and Clyde, when it is the feet that would trample the crops. The Percheron and Suffolk hind legs form a capital V when viewed from the rear. The Shire and Clyde hind legs form a capital Y when viewed from the rear. This closeness of the hind end in both the Shire and Clyde is so highly prized that there were recently outlawed shoeing practices which exaggerated that closeness. Why should it be so highly prized? Who was so influential, in years gone by, that this conformation anomaly should be perpetuated? In dogs, that hind end would be a fault and a weakness. Interesting, because most of the conformation traits and terminology in dogs comes directly from horses. How can the conformation of some of the draught horses be so at odds with that of other draught breeds (in fact, they are at odds with the majority of all horses)? I don't have any statistics on the hind ends of Shire/Clyde crosses, but I would be curious to know if that closeness comes through in their progeny. It certainly is not an attractive option on a ridden horse.

                                        Can of worms. Open...

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                                        • #80
                                          It did not, in my Shire/TB crosses. But I didn't see that in their imported Shire sires, either. I did see it in many of the domestic Shires here in the U.S. So we avoided that.

                                          My "youngest" crosses are now 20 years old, and their sires were ages 5 and 9 when they were bred to my mares.

                                          Is this "closeness" that you are seeing in Shires now something that would have been not so prevalent 30 years ago, when the stallions I used were born?

                                          Interestingly, all of them except for one, were very "uphill" -- back to front -- movers, and good off the leg. Not heavy on the forehand, pulling themselves along. Again, we searched for that in their sires as well. They were hard to find, for sure.

                                          Interesting discussion.
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