Are Draft Horses Good For Trail Riding

Paul Gonzalez
• Thursday, 22 October, 2020
• 8 min read

My drafts can last longer then my friends NHS BUT mine are worked on a regular basis, be it riding or driving. Our Belgians work all day in the Hatfield all summer and in the woods logging in the winter.

percheron riding horse draft horses stallion mare info history horsebreedspictures
(Source: www.horsebreedspictures.com)


I also took my 17y/o Belgian gelding on a 15-mile trail ride, and he did fantastic, didn't even work up a sweat, and we trotted most of it. For a trail horse, a Draft is an excellent choice because they usually have more mellow personalities and are more sure-footed.

My Percheron TB cross does good on the trails, meaning she's level-headed, forward, not spooky, and hardly ever takes a bad step, but she does not have the stamina or the recovery after she gets tired of a lightweight horse. We usually do a ten-mile loop a couple of times a week, and we can do it at a pretty fast clip, but it took her much longer to get to that point.

), can carry an extra rider if need be, doesn't mind having saddlebags and other things draped on him, is a great size to pony other horses, does fine w/ endurance-went out recently with a friend while trying out a TWH, and we had to trot pretty much the whole 2 hours, and he was sweating but had energy and enjoyed himself, for such a big horse (1800+ lbs and about 17.3-18 HDS.) He is pretty nimble, can handle tight turns, steep ups and downs, mud, quick sand, etc.

Did you watch any of the competition for America's Favorite Trail Horse? There was a Spotted Draft Horse that competed, and it happens that I know the rider Erika Andrews and Tickle Me Elmo very well.

I competed many times in Northern Virginia judged obstacle trail rides with them, and Elmo was a constant winner. If you are talking about a lot of trotting and cantering then this is true, but they can walk all day long over rough terrain just fine.

draft horse paint cross reno gelding trail henry horses beginner
(Source: www.horseofmydreams.com)

Many of the draft breeds were developed for long work days pulling. It's not the same endurance as an Arabian that can trot all day long, but it is a type of endurance. We have a draft cross, and he has been a great trail mount for my husband.

Apache is mostly a good calm mount that can take him down the trail at an easy pace all day long. My first share horse was a Clydesdale, unschooled and green as grass, but we did do short trail rides around the farm.

The woman who runs CHH (above) regularly competes at endurance with one of her Clydesdale's.... Basically, sharing a horse means that you pay the owner X-amount each week, and get to ride their horse for a set amount of days. I used to pay Bracken's owner £20 a week to ride him at weekends.

My Fjord loves hacking out, she never wants to turn back. In this article, I’ll be discussing the differences between draft horses and riding horses and also identifying some ways in which they are similar.

As with anything that can be categorized anywhere in the world, the broad category of horses is broken down into general types. Some examples of riding horses include Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, and Arabians.

horse rider draft riding horses trail draught alamy
(Source: www.alamy.com)

They are characteristically wide in the shoulder, barrel, and hindquarters, and they boast beautiful leg “feathers” as well as thick, stout necks. Riding horses typically stand between 14.2 and 17 hands tall, and they generally weigh between 1000 and 1300 pounds.

Though it depends on the breed, they are typically long-necked, longer-backed, long-legged, and altogether comfortable for a person to sit on. In every regard, they are traditionally smaller than the draft type and are used in any discipline that involves riding.

Though it is a small part of the driving world, it still demonstrates that horse types aren’t bound to specific disciplines! Drafts are built to haul heavy weights over long distances.

No, cross-training doesn’t hurt anyone, but be sure of your horse’s limits before asking them to do something they may not be physically inclined to do. Though, it may be difficult to find the tack that will properly fit them, unless you ride drafts regularly.

Draft crosses are even a preferred mount in fox hunting, 3-day evening, and dressage. Draft horses are known for their calm, quiet demeanor, and this can make them fantastic riding partners.

draft riding horses flickr
(Source: www.flickr.com)

Of course, if you want to compete in national-level hunter derbies, you can’t be riding a draft horse. If you want to compete at Malay Equitation Finals, you can’t be riding a draft horse.

Most of the time, draft horses cannot physically perform Grand Prix dressage movements or jump 3’6” fences. This isn’t because they aren’t athletic, it’s because they physically are not built to move in the ways that those tasks require.

Yes, ride your draft horse if you want- but be realistic about what your expectations in the saddle are. Drafts and riding horses are different in the build and their size, but this doesn’t mean that they can’t have similar jobs.

I hope this article helped you learn about the differences and similarities between draft horses and riding horses. At the age of 5, Larry Wise recalls, he was often hoisted onto the lead horse of his grandfather's plow team.

Credit: Heidi Morocco The Frisian breed, originally from the Netherlands, has been threatened with extinction, but today is growing steadily. This sleek, black horse measures around 15 hands, and is admired by both riders and the harness world for powerful bone structure and a fast, high-stepping trot.

draft horse horses cross gelding quarter mare appaloosa belgian western goose breeds wyoming roan mix buckskin pretty american pony bay
(Source: www.selectgeldingsale.com)

But Wise had reason to believe that he'd ridden at soaring heights: He was aboard a mighty draft horse. Here, we'll cover what some have already discovered about the draft horse: behind its size, power, and muscle, lies a “gentle giant” that can be a perfect trail mount and rock-solid equine friend.

While lighter horse breeds were being developed throughout other parts of the world, a large, strong-boned animal endured the harsh conditions of north-central Europe. War-waging societies of the early Medieval Period used these heavy horses as battle mounts.

It's unclear as to when and where draft horses became the animal of choice for farmers and wagoners, but their role as powerful harness horses has inspired selective breeding for centuries. Horses as tall as 18 hands high and weighing 2,000 pounds are common in such breeds as the Percheron and Shire.

Breeders selected not only for size and strength, but perhaps more important, a quiet calm temperament, distinguishing draft -horse breeds as cold-blooded animals. Since then, the breeds have recovered, yet the majority of the draft -horse industry is still dominated by their demand as harness horses.

On the Trail Since the days on his grandfather's farm, Wise, now age 52, has spent a lifetime with a number of horse breeds, but he always comes back to his gentle giants. Far from the image of giant hooves and trampling steps, Athanasios paints a picture of grace and elegance as she and her Percheron, Smoke, roam the farms and wooded trails of the Shenandoah Valley in West Virginia.

(Source: www.alamy.com)

Nonetheless, their gentle nature, solid structure, and strong work ethic are what tie them to other draft breeds. The Gypsy Manner Horse Society is one of the smaller draft -horse registries, with approximately 1,500 registered members since it was established in 1996.

Since then, several additional organizations have been founded in hopes of developing this unique horse that originated from the animal that carried gypsies across Europe. “We're a parade unto ourselves,” says Tweedier, who now breeds her beloved horses at Gypsy Manner Ranch in both Redmond, Washington, and Ocala, Florida.

“The demographics are people who've paid their dues with hot horses,” says Tweedier. Commonly associated with the Anheuser-Busch team of noble bay giants, Clydesdale's are rarely appreciated for their abilities as riding horses.

Over the years, Johansson has developed an affectionate bond with the 10 gentle giants at her farm. Myth-Busting You may've ruled out a draft horse as trail mount because of common misconceptions associated with these breeds.

“A healthy draft horse has just as much energy and is just as capable of cantering and galloping as any other breed,” says Beth Valentine, DVD, PhD, professor of anatomic pathology at Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine, a draft -horse owner, and co-author of Racehorses, an Owner's Manual (www.ruralheritage.com/bookstore). Reality: It's true that the colossal size of some draft horses makes them majestic creatures.

shire horses draft horse stallion woman riding clydesdale gorgeous facts horseback rider cowgirl percheron cow ass
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Myth #3: It's impossible to mount a draft horse unaided on the trail. Reality: While it can be difficult to mount a tall horse on the trail, there are ways to overcome this challenge.

According to Dr. Valentine, draft horses need about three-quarters of the amount of feed per body weight than light breeds.

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