In fact, Belgians and other draft breeds are frequently used at commercial trail riding facilities. Most horses can be trained to perform many equine disciplines, some may not be as good as others, but they can learn the cues and movements.
Belgians already taught to pull wagons are familiar with tack and cues, so they often transition easily to riding. The first time you mount your Belgian, I recommend having someone with you and preferably asking them to lead you around inside a pen.
Start slowly and only ride for short intervals, less than thirty minutes, for the first couple of weeks. Riding saddles are used to protect a horse’s back and should fit correctly to avoid hurting the animal.
The standard-sized headstall and a bit used on most horses won’t fit a Belgian; you have to find a larger size. They give you a high perch to enjoy the sites, a comfortable seat, and a long stride that can cover a lot of ground.
They are also calm horses that don’t easily spook, which is essential when trail riding. The positive of sitting high is the view; the negative is ducking limbs other riders saunter under.
Because Belgians are so large, they provide a comfortable seat for tall riders, but for those with short legs, you may feel you’re doing the splits. Riding on trails always includes a surprise visitor or two, whether it be wild dogs, deer, or hikers.
Sitting on the back of a large draft breed will make you appreciate their calm demeanor; they won’t bolt or spook. Traditionally Belgians performed the duties of draft horses, plowing fields, and transporting goods, but today they are in many equine events and activities, including therapeutic and recreational riding.
The first Belgian horses were introduced to North America in 1866, where the breed was widely known, though never as prominent as Percheron. Some regions still use Belgians for plowing, logging, driving wagons, hitches, sleighs, and all other forms of draft work.
The Haskins are well-toned and short, and their hooves are smaller than most other draft breeds, and they have minimal “feathering” on their lower legs. The efficient use of energy is why gatehouses tend to have more natural endurance than their rough trotting counterparts.
The smooth ride and reduced bounce during a beginner’s initial attempt help decrease the amount of anxiety for first-time riders. As with draft horses and most other equines, they can be trained to travel in a gained pattern and a wide variety of disciplines.
This starts with a solid base, concentrating on being the best rider that you can to help your horse grow into its gait naturally. For instance, the horse can expend a substantial chunk of its energy readjusting if you are unstable in the saddle.
It is significant to mention that, much like every other part of horsemanship, the desired gait is built and promoted over time. With patient training methods, a team, horse and rider, develop a robust and long-lasting relationship.
They are outstanding workers and make suitable riding horses for a level or riders. Their diversity should put them high on your list if you want a horse to pull your wagon or trail ride.
Conversely, some naturally trotting breeds not listed above may have ambling or gained ability, particularly with specialized training. However, pacing in gatehouses is often, though not always, discouraged, though the gene that produces giftedness appears to also produce pacing ability.
Some horses do not naturally trot or pace easily, they prefer their ambling gait for their standard intermediate speed. A mutation on the gene DMRT3, which controls the spinal neurological circuits related to limb movement and motion, causes a “premature 'stop codon'” in horses with lateral ambling gaits.
Her Hugh: Ehrlich DES Hufbeschlages (in German) (6th ed.). Story's Illustrated Guide to 96 Horse Breeds of North America.
' Gained Gene Mutation and Related Motion Examined”. This new way of thinking has helped eliminate sore backs, lameness, bucking and “itchiness” in some horses.
As equine professionals, you’ve had more than a few horses in your life that have been hard to fit when it comes to tack. People with gatehouses, draft horses and Miniature Horses often have the most trouble finding saddles that fit.
Equipment that doesn’t fit right makes horses sore and often encourages bad behavior. So, rather than put an ill-fitting saddle on a horse, a good horseman searches long and hard for just the right tack.
Some companies make saddles for any breed, while others focus on specific types of horses. The Internet has provided small and large saddle makers with a way to sell a wide variety of styles and sizes online.
Some offer removable shims that can be switched out or trimmed down to accommodate the shape of a horse’s back. Others rely on photographs or a combination of different tools to help them ascertain the right shape and size.
One company sells saddles with interchangeable gullets to accommodate different shoulder shapes and wither heights. Another company offers specific saddles designed for horses with varying shoulder shapes and widths.
A few even have regional representatives that can come out to your barn to help you make sure the saddle is a good fit. Several companies are producing saddles that allow for wider shoulders and that permit more reach in the front.
For these folks, saddles made specifically for Miniature Horses are the only ones that will fit. Saddle options for Minis are slim, with little choice in tree widths.
The size of the seat may also be determined by the size of the Miniature Horse, since very small Minis won’t have a long enough back to hold a saddle larger than 8 inches. Equine professionals today have a lot more options for finding the right saddle for the hard-to-fit horse.