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Average age for a draft horse???

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  • Average age for a draft horse???

    Hi there,

    We were looking at purchasing a 12 year old 18.2 hand Belgian gelding as a nice well broke horse to help us train our other younger Belgians. What I am worried about is how long will this horse likely be still usable? Do the heavier drafts break down sooner and deal with arthritis sooner than a light horse? This guy has done it all and seen it all! Unicorn hitch, 6 horse hitch, cart classes, etc. He's been to tons of fairs and shows and everything in between! Which of course means he was shod in scotch bottoms a lot (hard on the joints I am sure). For the last few years they used him "as an anchor" to help train other horses to drive. However, he has done nothing for the last year but stand in a field.

    I am just worried that I will be getting a horse that may only have a year or so left of being usable before he starts having health problems. Is this a legitimate concern? I know with light horses 12 or 13 is a really nice age to get a well broke horse! But a friend of mine who has clydes has nothing older than 11 on her farm.

    Thoughts? Opinions? Any comments on the normal usable age for these big guys?

    Thanks
    http://www.hammerdownfarm.com

  • #2
    Originally posted by Firefilly View Post
    Hi there,

    We were looking at purchasing a 12 year old 18.2 hand Belgian gelding as a nice well broke horse to help us train our other younger Belgians. What I am worried about is how long will this horse likely be still usable? Do the heavier drafts break down sooner and deal with arthritis sooner than a light horse? This guy has done it all and seen it all! Unicorn hitch, 6 horse hitch, cart classes, etc. He's been to tons of fairs and shows and everything in between! Which of course means he was shod in scotch bottoms a lot (hard on the joints I am sure). For the last few years they used him "as an anchor" to help train other horses to drive. However, he has done nothing for the last year but stand in a field.

    I am just worried that I will be getting a horse that may only have a year or so left of being usable before he starts having health problems. Is this a legitimate concern? I know with light horses 12 or 13 is a really nice age to get a well broke horse! But a friend of mine who has clydes has nothing older than 11 on her farm.

    Thoughts? Opinions? Any comments on the normal usable age for these big guys?

    Thanks
    I would get a FULL PPE, even if it costs more than the horse. With the kind of usage he has had, you want xrays. Side bone, ring bone, suspensory issues, navicular, traumatic hoof concussion, old OCD lessions with arthritic changes, etc. can all occur. Get a vet who knows lameness issues. Who can run him and look for back, shoulder, hip issues also. Check for roaring also (another issue that crops up). Of course, make sure the he doesn't have any EPSM symptoms either. You don't want to end up with a pasture ornament.

    If he is sound, he could last anywhere from 1 year to 6 years. It is rare that you see a draft horse still going in top form after 18 years old (it does happen but not that often).
    Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IZPHDzgX3s

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    • #3
      I would think if you just want him to help with training and not as a heavy duty user, he'd be usable for quite some time. The draft rescue I volunteer at has several drafts (Belgians, percherons, a clyde/hackney cross...) that are in their upper teens/twenties that still give riding lessons, go on long trail rides, and pull carriages for local shows and that sort of thing.

      Definitely agree with previous poster, get the full PPE but I wouldn't let the fact that he's 12 deter you if he's good in other aspects.
      The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
      Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

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      • #4
        If he is solid and good at starting youngsters he is priceless. If you only get a few years out of him he is worth it. I wouldn't pay more than 1000 for a draft horse of that age. LF
        Lostfarming in Idaho
        http://i512.photobucket.com/albums/t...etPleasure.jpg

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          The guy is asking $1500 for this horse.... is that too much?
          http://www.hammerdownfarm.com

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          • #6
            draft

            it really depends on what kind of use he's had and waht kind of shoeing. If he's been shown and put in scotch bottom shoes? There is documented proof they cause bone and joint issues. If he's not had them? he could be sound for years to come. We have six percheron, and one belgian. They're awesome horses.
            Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!

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            • #7
              I don't know. I was considering paying $1500 for a 15 y/o TB/Perch cross that was supposedly a quiet, good trail horse. I ended up paying $500 for a very green 5ish y/o Paint/Perch cross. Depending on what sort of PPE results you get, you could quite likely talk him down. (is that Canadian dollars or US dollars? Is there a big difference right now? I'm not "up" on exchange rates)

              Some comparison horses from a quick search on Dreamhorse:

              15 yo Shire mare, drives single or double, has done carriages for weddings, parades, and fairs. Asking $2,000. http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse...0&share_this=Y

              13 yo Perch mare. Rides, drives (sleighs and wagons). Asking $1500. http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse...6&share_this=Y

              3 yo Shire mare. Untrained. Asking $800. http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse...3&share_this=Y (just to see what an untrained horse is going for, though to be honest, good untrained drafts are definitely found cheaper than this one)

              10 yo Belgian gelding. Drives and rides. Used for weddings, parties, proms and parades. Comes with his own carriage and harness. $7000. http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse...0&share_this=Y

              Uh, anyway, any excuse to peek at horses for sale. My point is, $1500 sounds about average to me for a horse of his age and with his experience.
              The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
              Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by crickett14502 View Post
                it really depends on what kind of use he's had and waht kind of shoeing. If he's been shown and put in scotch bottom shoes? There is documented proof they cause bone and joint issues. If he's not had them? he could be sound for years to come. We have six percheron, and one belgian. They're awesome horses.
                Apparently he was extensively shown - and was in scotch bottoms during those times.
                http://www.hammerdownfarm.com

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