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Drafts (and draft crosses) in eventing?

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  • Drafts (and draft crosses) in eventing?

    I've heard whispers here and there that drafts are usually considered unsuitable for eventing (size, weight). I'm sure in a lot of ways it's as individual as everything else, but in general, how do you feel about drafts in eventing?

    I'm not at all educated in jumping in any form... so feel free to talk down to me. Lower... a little lower... that's perfect! Just don't scrape your chin on the sidewalk.

    Personal stories and pictures would be lovely if you feel like sharing!

    Thanks, all.

  • #2
    I think full drafts are probably limited to the lower levels just due to their size -- gets hard to get them fit enough for that sort of work, and I think running and jumping is probably hard on them over time (plus you don't have a prayer of making time on them at Prelim plus).

    That said, there is a horse locally who is definitely a full draft who competes at novice very successfully. I am not sure he's got the jump for Training but...

    draft CROSSES, on the other hand, are perfectly capable of eventing certainly through prelim depending on the cross.

    My 1/4 belgian just moved up to Training, and I don't think it's much of a stretch for him, as you can see:
    Draft crosses, no good at eventing!
    The big man -- my lost prince

    The little brother, now my main man


    • Original Poster

      He's lovely... thanks so much!


      • #4
        My guy is 3/4 t-bred and 1/4 percheron. Athletic as heck but a little slow to mature. He just turned 8 but still has the mindset of maybe a 6 yr old. Going Training now and no doubt will make it to prelim. Not sure if he'll get beyond that. Definitely has the athletic power, but his mind might not have the spunk required of the UL. Hopefully when he gets to 12 or so he'll mature enough for the questions asked.

        Lovable personality, though. Always entertaining!
        Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

        The Grove at Five Points


        • #5
          I've got a draft cross...he's gone intermediate and has done a training three day and part of the prelim three day(i completed the endurance day, but i jumped the wrong fence and got TE'd... that was very frustrating) He definatly isn't the easiest to get fit, but he now has a base so it should be a bit better...he's allergic to wood, and he has to use a belly protector cause his knees are so tight He is the horse in my profile picture...


          • #6
            Are you kidding me???

            My Clyde/cross jumps like he's got springs in his feet with a tight front end, too!! He loves to run and jump. We have to be careful not to go too fast. He's amazing.


            • #7
              At the lower levels? I have a draftie cross right now that folks are in love with. She's got two (hard) BN under her belt and DRAGS me around XC (in a good way). Her dressage can be phenominal, but its a struggle- she is heavy in the front. She got a 36 her last time out and ended in second place with no jumping penalties. Novice will not be an issue for her... training heights shouldn't bother her- time and technicality maybe. She is not very draftie, however.

              She is a Perch/QH cross, we think- got her out of a backyard, so who knows!

              And here's my perchie cross with flypony_74's perchie cross- who both didn't do half bad that day.

              ETA: She is coming 6 this year- and she has been under saddle for a year this week.
              Big Idea Eventing


              • #8
                I have 1/4th draft mare (the rest of her is a mix of TB and quarter horse) that I'm hoping to event. She is very athletic, cute mover, and has a nice big jump. Very trainable and easy to ride. And she is still barefoot!
                Rural Property Specialist
                Keller Williams Realtors

                Email Me for Horse Property!


                • #9
                  i have a 1/2 welsh cob 1/2 paint mare shes all of 14.1 and i competed her training level

                  and another 1/2 welsh cob 1/2 tb mare who is 15.2 with shoes ( hehe) and shes currently going novice but shes young.. i expect her go through prelim.

                  both able to jump the moon and then so.

                  i also ride a belgian/ tb cross... not quite as athletic.. i mean he is big and dumb so hes currently going training.. but its not the most graceful think you will ever see.

                  but i love the draft crosses.. they seem stronger mentally and physically.

                  i know both of my mares are some tough cookies.


                  • #10
                    My favorite horse to foxhunt ever was a Perch/Arab (I think he was a PMU rescue or something). He was like 16.3 give or take with a huge head and very thick (his booty was miles wide). The arab made him light on his feet and a bit hot but he settled down after a while and was a great ride. Very useful in the field as he plowed right through mud & comftorable jumping 3ft+ and went up to 4ft once or twice. Routinely jumps out of his pasture

                    HOWEVER, would I ever event him? Nope. Although he would've had plenty of speed & stamina for cross country, he as an individual just didn't have the dressage work and would not have been handy enough for stadium. I did love him for a hunt/trail horse though. I think you can definitely find some individuals that fit the bill though.


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by deacon's mom View Post
                      My Clyde/cross jumps like he's got springs in his feet with a tight front end, too!! He loves to run and jump. We have to be careful not to go too fast. He's amazing.
                      The nay sayers I've spoken to aren't so much of the opinion that they can't jump as they are that the extra weight makes jumping harder on their joints than a lighter horse. And in some cases that while they CAN jump after a fashion, it can come down to a lot more work to get a draft ready for eventing, only to be stuck at the lower levels.

                      Thanks, all!


                      • #12
                        crosses, sure! they can do a LOT if you get one with good conformation and willingness.

                        but full Drafts? most are limited at BN, maybe Novice. they simply do not HAVE that big of a 'jump' in them.


                        • #13
                          I've had two.

                          The first was 3/4 TB 1/4 Perch, a mare that was competitive up to 4'3" in jumpers. Nice dressage and also foxhunted. Had a rodeo-quality buck.

                          The second was a dubious mix of Belgian, TB and Saddlebred. He was successful at Prelim, could have done Intermediate. Excellent showjumper and fieldhunter. Never recognized dressage as a legitimate discipline. I still have him, he's 26 and jumps the pasture fence for fun (or aggravation, depending on whose side you're on).

                          But for a draftX to succeed in eventing above Training level, you want to make sure they're not too heavy and don't overheat. I wouldn't want anything over 1/4 draft, although I've seen plenty of half-breds that can go all day in the huntfield and jump 5' gates with ease.


                          • #14
                            My mother rides a Irish Draft Cross brought over from Ireland a few years ago. He competed at one or two prelims but didn't really have the speed for that level and wasn't quite as quick on his feet as he needed to be for some of the combinations at that level. However he is a fabulous horse for my mom, who will hopefully do her first BN next year. Honest as the day is long, very competitive in the dressage...


                            • #15
                              you definitely need to be prepared to take time with their fitness, and time with their maturity. I know my guy grew substantially his 6 year old year (right out of his blankets) and changed shape considerably after turning 7 (growing mostly out of his saddles )

                              And, the day he went Training for the first time it was quite hot (in the 70s in november, and even with a trace clip he is a fuzzy boy); heat is hard on him. Came home with plenty of go but took a long time to cool down.

                              I would take it slowly and devote lots of time to conditioning, They need a proper program even at BN and you cannot take shortcuts.

                              That being said, i adore my guy -- he is obviously snappy with his knees, has a great curious forward thinking mind, loves cross country, and can cart my husband around on a chaotic group canter-hack the day before scoring a 27 in dressage.

                              Can't beat that with a stick!
                              The big man -- my lost prince

                              The little brother, now my main man


                              • #16

                                Tucker is a PMU foal I adopted when he was 6 months old. He is 6 1/2 now. He is Perch-QH and an absolute doll. Due to his size and maturity, I didn't start eventing until this past spring. He was awesome his first (and so far only) horse trial. We have done schoolings and clinics and everyone loves him. Jonathon Holling thinks he will be able to go to any height, though I think novice will be plenty for us! He has a very steady tempo and as you can see from the BN shots, he is just stepping over those and really does do better with more height!
                                Lori T
                                www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep


                                • #17
                                  My 1/2 Perch, 1/2 Morgan always placed in the top three at events, with dressage scores in the low 30s. He qualified for the AECs twice, but never made it due to flatweed poisoning (neurological disease). He could jump, and could jump well, but his canter was a LOT of work and he had trouble making time at Novice, due to his gallop being more up-and-down than ground covering. It was also very difficult to keep the weight off him - lots and lots of conditioning, even for Novice. Despite the weird mix of breeds, he actually took a regular wide tree saddle, normal/WB sized bridle (a mix), 52" girth, 80" blanket, and WB sized boots. Nothing special. He was also 16.2ish hands. He's now the dressage pet of a young teenager and has qualified her for Nationals for dressage, with dressage scores in the mid 70s. He also looks like a tank now that he's no longer being conditioned for eventing.

                                  Here is Miles, going xc: The Ark, Novice
                                  His dressage
                                  And being Superman

                                  Personally, I would never own another draft cross unless it was only about 1/4 draft. THey're just too hard to get and keep fit. Btw, Irish Draughts don't really fit into this category - the ID are bred to jump, hunt, pull a plow, and take the family to church - not your typical draft cross. I am always amused when people bring them up in these draft cross discussions.
                                  "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                                  So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


                                  • #18
                                    There are lots of nice draft crosses competing in my neck of the woods but I have to say I know several that have had problems with azoturia as they competed at higher levels (training+) so I would recommend being very very mindful of their diet and fitness as you progress.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Lori T View Post

                                      Tucker is a PMU foal I adopted when he was 6 months old. He is 6 1/2 now. He is Perch-QH and an absolute doll. Due to his size and maturity, I didn't start eventing until this past spring. He was awesome his first (and so far only) horse trial. We have done schoolings and clinics and everyone loves him. Jonathon Holling thinks he will be able to go to any height, though I think novice will be plenty for us! He has a very steady tempo and as you can see from the BN shots, he is just stepping over those and really does do better with more height!
                                      i LOVE your horse! I've always wanted to adopt a PMU baby and then I got into the CANTER horses. I really want to have a "baby" but I don't want to add to the over population of unwanted horses so a PMU may be on the horizon for me after all
                                      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                      • #20
                                        We've had a Perch/TB PMU rescue in the family for 9, going on 10 years now. He was first my father's horse and then mine, and is now transitioning to being my father's again. In the time we've had him, he's done scores of Prelim HT, 2 CIC*s, 5 CCI*s (3 long format), and a handful of Intermediate HT. He was difficult to get fit for his first CCI* (we had a professional take him and she did an amazing job getting him ready but it was definitely an all year task) but then he really did keep that base and has held it forward to today. Now he's really very fit and easy to keep going, and just today went on a 3 mile beach gallop in a 25mph headwind after having been mostly let down for the past three months and was hardly blowing at the end. He's amazing!!

                                        GMHA Prelim Showjumping


                                        Galway Intermediate XC


                                        Intermediate Showjumping