Ours is not the traditional approach to Dressage. We don’t take ourselves too seriously – after all, we’re not headed to the Olympics.
We just enjoy the ride.
Draft horses aren’t meant to be ridden, and it’s not fair to expect a draft horse to be able to collect, be light in your hand, and responsive to your leg.
As with any horse, not every draft is a natural athlete. Grace and agility are inherited in some instances, and a ‘gift’ from nature in others. We start our drafts very slowly, understanding that it takes up to six years for the horse to become physically mature. Drafts are clumsy, gangly and generally not ready for serious training under saddle until their 4th year. Additionally, the long-term health of the horse must be kept in mind – and we consider the added stresses of under-saddle work to growing bones as we plan to have sound partners in the years to come.
With that in mind, we keep our sessions short, and the size and ability of the horse foremost in our minds. While any horse can be difficult to manage without basic principals in place, a massive animal can be a disaster without them – heavy, dull and unpleasant to ride at best and dangerous at worst. The training process is a journey with them, and each draft has his own timeline.
Draft horses are renowned for their steady, quiet temperaments, and have been bred for centuries for their unmatched willingness to work. These qualities, combined with their forgiving natures, inspire us every day to become better riders.
In short – they are our perfect partners under saddle.