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Draft Cross Thoughts?

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  • Draft Cross Thoughts?

    I'm new to the Dressage world (but not to horses), and I'm considering cross breeding one of my Belgian mares. I've noticed alot of people having big boned, or just big horses that are also draft crosses. Pros and Cons? This is just an idea I started toying with, wouldn't be till next year. Can these horses event? My mare is petite, 17hh red roan.


  • #2
    In my unbiased opinion they're brilliant! I love them. Of course there are those who think they are too heavy to event or to do dressage, but I do think it's a matter of conformation. I don't know anything about breeding, and only slightly more about conformation but I think your girl is beeeyutiful.

    My boy is an F1 and a good result for an F1

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/5296733...in/photostream

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/5296733...n/photostream/

    I think he's nicely balanced front to back (as drafts can be front heavy) and has a decent shoulder. I especially liked his neck -he has one -and his narrow enough to flex and breathe throat latch.

    I think there are quite a few people that like draft crosses. One of my draft rider gods is Caroline Williams (Tesoro). She was cool enough to talk to me when I was looking at draft crosses for purchase.

    Paula
    Last edited by paulaedwina; Nov. 27, 2012, 10:00 PM. Reason: misspelling of "breathe"
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

    Comment


    • #3
      I think you have to be very, very careful in buying/breeding draft crosses, and even then....I've seen some lovely draft crosses, but many of them did not last long soundness wise, even though they were NOT the proverbial "draft body/TB legs" types, but were well proportioned with good under pinnings. Just bad luck? Who knows? But it sort of "warned me off," even though it may just be I've known people who had that bad luck with such crosses.

      One was Shire/TB - ringbone and retired at 10. The other was 3/4 TB, well proportioned, good mover, looked like a WB. Started hock injections at 11, got to 3rd level, retired at 15. Belgian/TB, very flashy, good bone, reached 3rd level, retired at 14, ringbone and sidebone. *shrug* There were at least 4 others of which I am aware with similar issues, but admittedly, that is a small sample, and ANY horse can have problems. It just sort of bothered me and when horse hunting, I just chose not to invest myself in looking at draft crosses. FWIW, a friend showed a "smallish" purebred Belgian - 16 hands as a hunter/jumper until he was close to 13, then "retired" him to be a vaulting horse, 100% sound. Perhaps purebred is the way to go?

      Comment


      • #4
        One was Shire/TB - ringbone and retired at 10. The other was 3/4 TB, well proportioned, good mover, looked like a WB. Started hock injections at 11, got to 3rd level, retired at 15. Belgian/TB, very flashy, good bone, reached 3rd level, retired at 14, ringbone and sidebone. *shrug* There were at least 4 others of which I am aware with similar issues, but admittedly, that is a small sample
        Funny, you could be describing the registered warmbloods I know.

        Most horses can event at the lower levels, but I probably wouldn't choose a draft cross if I wanted to advance up the levels, or be competitive.

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't know the levels for Eventing, but Peter the Great, and Navigator were draft crosses. I do think it must depend on the kind of cross you get?

          http://lewisevent.com/horses.htm

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

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            In my unbiased opinion they're brilliant! I love them. Of course there are those who think they are too heavy to event or to do dressage, but I do think it's a matter of conformation. I don't know anything about breeding, and only slightly more about conformation but I think your girl is beeeyutiful.

            My boy is an F1 and a good result for an F1

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/5296733...in/photostream

            http://www.flickr.com/photos/5296733...n/photostream/

            I think he's nicely balanced front to back (as drafts can be front heavy) and has a decent shoulder. I especially liked his neck -he has one -and his narrow enough to flex and breath throat latch.

            I think there are quite a few people that like draft crosses. One of my draft rider gods is Caroline Williams (Tesoro). She was cool enough to talk to me when I was looking at draft crosses for purchase.

            Paula
            Thank you! I adore her. Her name is Blue, as she has two blue eyes. She is great in the show ring, HUS, Cart and Halter. We also skid logs, collect syrup in the spring and then various other things. She is bred for a 2013 colt by a son of RFW Eddy.

            I love my Belgians, all but the 2 year olds ride and drive, we've had Quarter Horses but I'm found of my bigger horses. They are like big dogs.. that can't come in the house.
            Last edited by CGC421; Nov. 29, 2012, 05:31 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              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.
              Proud COTH lurker since 2001.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                One was Shire/TB - ringbone and retired at 10. The other was 3/4 TB, well proportioned, good mover, looked like a WB. Started hock injections at 11, got to 3rd level, retired at 15. Belgian/TB, very flashy, good bone, reached 3rd level, retired at 14, ringbone and sidebone. *shrug* There were at least 4 others of which I am aware with similar issues, but admittedly, that is a small sample, and ANY horse can have problems. It just sort of bothered me and when horse hunting, I just chose not to invest myself in looking at draft crosses. FWIW, a friend showed a "smallish" purebred Belgian - 16 hands as a hunter/jumper until he was close to 13, then "retired" him to be a vaulting horse, 100% sound. Perhaps purebred is the way to go?
                It was an idea I was thinking about, health is a big issue for me but maintenance isn't. And it wouldn't be the end of the world if said horse never worked out we have plenty use for him here. Just not sure what my granddad would say about it. lol By next year my feelings could change and I could have something else in mind who knows. Thank you.

                Comment


                • #9
                  To cross your mare and come up with something MADE for dressage, you will want to flatten and lengthen the croup.
                  Tall withers and a neck that goes uphill would also be a bonus.

                  Paulaedwina's Fella looks to me like a Morgan cross, and I really like his shoulder, neck and hip.

                  I knew of a few draft crosses, when I was in my teens there was a really good Clyde/TB cross named Bud Light that was a trooper at Prelim, and sound doing it.

                  I think Hilda Gurney had a student on a Perch/TB cross mare that made it up the levels a long ways.

                  I had my own Perch/TB gelding. He easily had the jumping talent to get to Prelim. He also had a lovely, floating trot- we got great scores on gaits in dressage. He was quite an atypical mover for a draft cross- no paddling and a long, suspended trot with lots of schwung. He had a lot more temperament than most draft crosses, so he wasn't the typical amateur-friendly fellow.
                  HIs trot was great, his gallop was fine (and he'd easily fly a 3'9" oxer) but his canter was truly difficult for him. I had soundness problems with him (he'd get a sore back) until I figured out that I had to have him shod or trimmed with a very short toe behind to ease breakover. And he pretty much had NO canter unless he was quite fit. I've heard about canter issues with other draft crosses. They just have so much mass that lifting the front end is hard for them.
                  Lots of draft crosses do not have the scope and movement to be quality eventing or dressage prospects- they have a quick, short stride and often paddle.

                  I really like your mare, but without seeing her movement or meeting her and finding her temperament, I wouldn't say breed, or don't breed.
                  If she were hot/fiesty, or paddled at the trot, or had poor hoof quality, I would absolutely not breed her.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Your mare is gorgeous! Where are you located? If she's quiet, I'd take one from her. I've had a number of draft-crosses and they have been my *favorite* horses ever.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Fillabeana, you know I had to give you a thumbs up because you like Fella Indeed, when I first got him he had no canter transition other than to run into it. This in itself was a challenge because he's part Standardbred so he can trot really fast! A little bit of training and he discovered his backside so now he can canter transition. He was also very behind the leg and has improved a great deal with some training. We're doing more hill work now so I expect he will be fitter. I haven't taken him over any jumps so I don't know how he'd be. He is well balanced so being light on the forehand is not too much of a challenge for him .

                      One thing -really hard to fit a saddle. I've learned so much about crosses, their conformation with regards to back shape and the challenges thereof!

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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I know nothing about breeding draft crosses, but I really like your mare. She's not super heavy, seems well-balanced and looks like she would produce nice draft crosses.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have a gorgeous ArabxBelgian. People usually ask me if she is an andalusian.

                          I'm an adult ammy, and I've ridden this horse since she was 3. We're schooling 2nd level. We've learned dressage together over the course of the past 3 years.

                          The good: She is quiet and utterly reliable, has a nice walk with a good overstride, and a pretty trot. Lovely legs with good bone but not overly heavy, and great feet. Compact build. Nice shoulder.

                          The bad: Her neck and throatlatch is thicker than I'd like. It took a long time for us to develop correct contact and good muscling through the neck. She also has a tendency to pull at the bit instead of having a soft, receptive connection, and a tendency to ignore/lean into leg aids. I'm convinced this is by nature -- belgians being bred to pull heavy loads. Dressage doesn't come easy to her, but we keep at it because of the rewards.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I kind of think it is a crap shoot when you breed, especially with crosses. Even if you study all the lines and other get by a stallion you can end up with something totally not what you were planning for(sizewise or conformation etc). I'm not fond of draft crosses, but if I wanted one, I would never breed for it. I would purchase something already on the ground.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              We have had a lot of them at our LL eventing barn. One thing that seems to be consistent is that the offspring will generally get the mare's head and often the overall "build." So the crosses out of draft mares are heavier and more drafty looking than those I've seen produced with a draft sire. So that "Irish Hunter" look of a big-boned TB/ Warmblood draft cross seem to be more reliably produced with the draft on the top side. Of course, YMMV.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Ive seen a lot of them out eventing seemingly all levels (I believe Gina Miles has one)--but there is a real tendency for some of the heavier types to have difficulty making time on XC--lacking real fitness for the xc. Generally speaking I think it takes more effort to put the 'fitness' on them than something showing more blood.
                                Redbud Ranch
                                Check us out on FB

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by CGC421 View Post
                                  By next year my feelings could change and I could have something else in mind who knows. Thank you.
                                  this is the best reason to NOT breed
                                  Take your time & do your research on mare & stallion lines so you have a good idea of what each may bring to the mix, post over in the Breeding Forum & see what thoughts you get there.
                                  I'm not a great fan of cross breeding, it's very much "chance" what you get, & it's rare that the progeny outshine both parents ...

                                  Even when breeding for yourself, you should strive to breed for excellence, to produce progeny of such quality that they will always have a place.

                                  As Lost_at_C states, first understand your mare's conformation & how that applies to the intended use.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I think your mare is very nice looking!

                                    I see many draftX at the lower levels of eventing. BTW- Gina Miles horse is a RID, not a draft cross, and very unusual even for a RID.

                                    The big issue I've seen with draftX's - and this would pertain to pure dressage also, is that they have slow hind legs. Also, because many of them are so developed in their forehand, combined with the typical neck/ shoulder conformation, they really want to lead with their shoulders all the time.

                                    I think if I were you, breeding for a draftX sporthorse, I would look to cross her with something naturally light and uphill, with naturally active hing legs.

                                    And, I'm not hating on draftX by any means, many are lovely, quiet, useful horses.

                                    One of the nicer draftX sporthorses I've seen belongs to an acquaintance of mine, her horse is a clydexhackney.
                                    Unrepentant carb eater

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Indeed, as a lover of drafts and crosses, you have to find someone with a butt. They tend to be front loaded and straight-shouldered (which is a challenges to get lightness with). That is not to say you won't find a draft cross with balance and a better shoulder (I did). One thing though -don't assume they're quiet LOL.

                                      I think a cylde/hackney would be awesome to see!

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

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                                        I think a cylde/hackney would be awesome to see!
                                        Paula
                                        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
                                        "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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