Saturday, February 5, 2011

Draft Experience

I was discussing breeding options for my mares with my good friend D.

I started to muse about what breed I would pair Rosie with.  Rosie is not a purebred, her dam was a Percheron, and her sire was a Belgian.  She is every bit "heavy draft".  My first thought is Gypsy Cob.  My reasoning is to breed down in size but still keep the "draft" that I have fallen in love with.

When mentioning this to D; he said "But size is what makes a draft a draft".

What?!?  I know LOTS of small draft horses... Halflingers, Fjords,  Gypsy Cob to name a few.  So I started to list the other qualities that draft horses have that just make them such great companions.
  •  Not everyone rides a 17 HH 2000 LB horse with dinner plate size hoofs!
  •  Smooth as a Cadillac ride!!
  •  Nothing phases them at all.  
  •  Sweet Gentle personalities
  •  Escape artists with innocent faces
My list could go on...  but it still doesn't adequately describe what I feel that makes a draft different.

So what makes these big (even the light drafts have this big presence) guys so special?

There is SOMETHING about them just makes me swoon!

I know others who have had the Draft Experience can attest to what I'm saying.


  1. Had the pleasure of riding a belgian mare and a percheron gelding while leading trail rides a few summers back. They were fantastic horses. Calm and reasonable - unless you were a jerk - with dry senses of humor. (And they make anyone's behind look smaller) I loves me a draft!!

  2. Interesting. I have no experience with draft horses. Are they really easy to train under saddle for the first time?

  3. When I think of draft horses, I don't really think size, though that is an inherent aspect most of the time. I tend to think of something cliche like "the strong silent type."

  4. I love your blog as its so lovely to see someone else who has a love for draft horses. Most of my horses in the past have had clydesdale.....some more than others. The half clydie half thoroughbred are very popular here in NZ especially on the hunt field. The clydes tend to be quite a bolshy breed when crossed but are very athletic and very true to hunter type. My latest two babies bought at weaning ( Hokey Pokey and Mosaic) are Gypsy Cob crosses. I have started my love affair with the breed. Their temperament is amazing. Now at 15months old they are super friendly , good in traffic( I lead them up a busy country road to alternate grazing), They load onto a trailer no problems, lead and tie up well and I would say breaking in time will be easy ( I say now). Their Dad is John Brodie from Westfield stud. Google for a look as he is a most beautiful gypsy cob.....
    Anyway I look forward to hearing what you go with and hope the stable venture is still going to plan

  5. @ Calm, Forward, Straight I have a t-shirt that I wear on trail outings "Nothing like the power of 17 hands moving between your legs" !! I also have the bumper sticker that has that butt smaller statement =) What I've experienced with Rosie and unreasonable riders (I was one on her "test ride") she's tired of dealing with you she just bulls through to the nearest grazing area and there you are!

    @NuzzMuzz I'm not sure on saddle training, but I do know that is ALL Rosie was when I got her. She had been saddle broke but knew nothing about leg, seat aides. It didn't take long at all to teach her that.

    My most challenging thing is the "Thinking post" you know where you tie them so they can just learn to stand? Rosie pulls everything I've tied her to out of the ground =/

  6. @ Sally thank you =) a good friend of mine has purebred Gypsy Cob and he is the most adorable guy I've ever known! He was my first introduction to the breed and I'm in love.

  7. I love the big guys but opted for Haffies so they'd be easier to mount, eat less hay, poop less poop, etc. They have so much of the same character. Even though my guys are only 14-2 I still refer to them as my gentle giants. They are like teddy bears (oh yeah, especially in winter!)
    I really don't know what the allure is, but I just love the chunky bodies of drafts.

  8. ...when I was a little girl, I remember my mom loving the look of a Draft horses, so I internalized that look and love it too...I don't know what it is...I think it's the muscley body and awesome hooves...? I don't know...they are just cool.

  9. What makes them so special? They make my heart melt. I could write all day. Here are a few of the special things about our draft cross Savanah:
    - her rhythm is amazing - that draft rhythm is like a metranome
    - even if she's worried she would never dream of acting up - it just isn't part of her character. I don't think she's capable of misbehaving.
    - the precision is another great quality for dressage; between that and the rhythm Savanah can beat beautiful warmbloods and get many firsts in dressage
    - she is very easy to have around other horses
    - she doesn't mind leaving other horses and going on her own
    - she is an easy keeper
    - she is very gentle and sweet, sweet, sweet
    - I honestly think she'd die trying to do what ever you asked her to do
    Okay, I could go on and on. While I relate my comments to Savanah, I think the qualities I mention are common to many drafts. Thanks for the opportunity to rhapsodize about them!

  10. I only ever rode a draft cross once , but Oh! what a stride! you could just feel the ground disapear beneath you . Good luck with your search for the perfect cross

  11. I like your idea for breeding her to a Gypsy Cob...look forward to seeing the end result.

  12. You wrote such a great tribute to your Rosie and other draft breeds! Sweet!
    I used to take lessons on Ganymede, a huge Percheron/TB cross my sister owned long ago. For me, being used to a go-go type...I was like a nat upon him. My sis has a long -stumps.
    While we may not have been well-matched in the arena..we certainly flew through the fields, and well and over butter melting onto your favorite foods..YUMMY! He was super sweet, and my fav color...a grey!

    I do like them and I also think the Gypsy would be a rather nice blending for your Rosey!


Happy Trails!