Draft Horses – Introducing Star

How a leisurely read of the classified ads ended up with a Percheron mare being added to the family. Written by Jayne Pedigo for EquiSearch.

Introducing Star Pt. 1

I wasn’t really looking for a new horse that Sunday as I opened the Houston Chronicle and started browsing the classified ads – and certainly not a draft horse. After all, I barely had time to visit my own horse – what did I need with TWO? But browse I did, and one ad jumped out at me. It was for a 17 hand, 7 year old Percheron mare.

I didn’t immediately call, knowing that I had neither the available finances, nor the time for another horse, but somehow the ad stayed in my mind. When a post on the Discussion forum about a draft-cross someone had seen at a combined training event brought the ad back to my mind, I decided to email for more information. After all, what could it hurt?

The owner emailed me back the next day, attaching a photograph. She was certainly a big horse, and a pretty one – pure black with a big white star. I emailed the photograph to Frank, who has long wanted a draft type horse to ride, something that he wouldn’t feel his long legs were dangling under their belly.

Thinking out loud, I mentioned that I could work with and ride this horse while Annapolis was recuperating from a suspensory injury and when Annapolis was back in work, we could go riding together. This got Frank making calls. Finally he called me at work. Was I busy? Could I cut out for the day and go see the mare with him?

So it turned out that a couple of hours later we were heading north to look at this mare. I in my work clothes, high heels and all – hardly the clothing in which to go and see a horse!

What happened next is really a lesson in how NOT to buy a horse! After all, we wanted the horse for riding and I wasn’t dressed for riding, nor did I have a saddle suitable for a draft horse. But we were able to watch her as she approached us from the far side of the field and I noted how straight she was moving.

As she got closer I noticed the size of her huge feet, and the fact that she badly needed a trim. I looked closely at her legs, that had seemed a little odd in the photograph and decided that, although she had longish pasterns they were not abnormal for a Percheron. Viewed from the front, her legs were nice and straight, viewed from the side, she seemed heavy on her forehand, but not unusually so for a draft horse.

But it was her personality that won us over. They don’t call these horses “Gentle Giants” for nothing. With other horses snipping and pushing around her, she stood calmly and let me feel her all over (being careful to keep my flimsily shod feet out of range of her soup-plates). I could tell Frank really liked her, although he left the final decision up to me.

If I had seen her a few years ago, when my equestrian goals were geared toward dressage and eventing competition, I would not have considered her as an appropriate horse. However, thinking about what we wanted her for — something for me to ride until Annapolis is healed and then something for Frank to ride out with me — I decided she was suitable, provided the vet gave the okay.

And so we brought her home a couple of days later. And there the adventure of owning a draft horse began…

Next Page >> The Adventure Continues




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