I’ve got draft horses on the brain!!
Hey Guys and Gals,
If you follow EighteenHands on Facebook, most of you probably know that I rode a full draft for the first time on Saturday. I went out to Anglia Farm for my lesson, and rather than riding my usual mount, Shine the Haflinger, I was able to ride Paddy the Shire who had been out on lease for the winter. Paddy is over 17 hands and is the largest horse I had ever ridden. I was slightly nervous as I climbed the 3 step mounting block and pulled myself onto his back. Compared to the 15 hand horses I was used to riding, I was up HIGH and it was a long way down if I fell…Up I went and Ketherine and I started business as usual.
I don’t really know what I expected, never having ridden a full draft before, but I was very impressed at how forward Paddy was. “He’s not a lazy draft!” Katherine called to me from across the ring. “No, he certainly is not!!” I called back, quite enjoying myself. Another thing I noticed right away was the obvious length of his stride compared to the smaller horses I was used to as well as the feeling of his gait. Paddy’s movements felt as big as they were. We covered a lot of ground quickly and I had to familiarize myself with his rythm.
Over the course of my hour long lesson Paddy and I got to know each other very well. He responded to my aides, moved out under me and stayed collected for me for the entire ride. It was beautiful. Paddy and I walked, trotted, cantered, and even hopped my first cross rail together and I was able to stay connect with him better than I have with any other horse I’ve ridden (which isn’t very many). I’m not sure if I had such a good ride with Paddy because 1. My riding is improving so I am able to communicate with the horse better. 2. Paddy is an extremely willing and tolerant mount who puts up with anyone 3. I had an immediate connecting with Paddy that I haven’t experienced with any of the horses I’ve ridden or 4. A combination of all of these things.
I loved everything about this horse, and I cannot wait to ride him again. Do you own or ride a draft horse? Was your first experience on a draft “love at first ride”?