How to Get a Draft Horse to Lose Weight

Everyone wants fit, healthy horses. But, draft horses are different than horses and ponies when it comes to their fitness. Training and eating amounts very dramatically in the various breeds of draft horse, Shire, Percheron, Suffolk Punch etc. Many people that try to alter to weight of a draft horse on their own, often result in an underweight horse or a very frustrated owner.


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    Consult equine vet or breed specialist to establish the ideal weight for your breed of draft horse.
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    Understand that exercise is the most crucial part of any breed of the Draft Horse's weight loss. Although the best way for Draft-horses to stay in shape is the work it was breed to do, for example, hauling drays, pulling logs, ploughing or other agricultural work or being ridden by knights in full armour with their weapons. You may not be able to work your draft horse in manner it was breed for, and some people believe it is not an efficient or healthy way to begin shaping down your horse.
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    Begin with simple work such as leading or lunging the horse. Leading your horse with the lead rope in simple circles or taking a walk down a non-busy street will help your horse begin the weight-loss process. During the first days, practice for about 30-45 min. Don't feed your horse for at least an hour after replacing it in the stall.
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    Remember to rest your horse. Beginning work should have at least 1-2 days off a week, allowing the Draft to relax. If your horse is in absolutely torrid shape, this can be increased to 3 days a week and the slow, leading exercises can be increased for up to 2 weeks.
    • Remember to keep your horse going in a straight line, and make sure that he is picking up his hooves. This is so he can begin building muscles in the right places for harder, better-working work.
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    After 1-2 weeks of leading or simple walking lunging, your horse's exercise may be increased. Very light riding, with the required specialist saddle and technique required, may begin, but only if the horse has a fitting saddle and is broken in for riding. When beginning the riding, keep it light and at a slow walk - preferably in a small arena. Only ride the draft for 1/3 of the time your exercising, using the rest of the time for leading. By now, the horses exercise time should be upped to around 45 minutes.
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    After another 1-2 weeks of painful beginning work, truly push your horse. Begin by riding your horse more (hopefully still in the arena - remember to keep the horse in steady, straight lines) often. The time of riding each-day can be morphed into an hour of work. Riding should be increased to 2/3 the time. Keep 1-2 rest days a week to keep your horse feeling fine.
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    Change the riding period about 3/4 of the time. This will be the longest period of time and it will be greatly used in the future. Up the time of exercise to about 2 1/2 hours during this time (gradually! A few days of 1 hr. than 4-6 days of 1 hr. 10 min. and than 4-6 days of 1 hr. 20 min. etc.)
    • Over this time, you can begin riding outside of the arena on flat ground. Simple street-riding or riding in flat meadows is good. Continue using 1/4 of your time with leading or lunging (this is best used for warming up the horse, and then using the rest of the time for riding). This is the longest, most painful period and usually should last at least 4-6 weeks (preferably longer if the horse will be doing hard, fast work).
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    Begin trotting exercises towards the end of your weeks. This should be about Week 5 or 6. Keep the trotting very low, and make sure that the horse has been walked for at least 20 minutes before beginning trotting. You should walk the horse for at least 15 minutes after trotting as well, to warm-down. Only allow the horse to trot for a maximum of 25 min. and for only max 3 min. at a time.


  • At 15 hands at least, do not attempt to ride a draft horse unless you are used to controlling large animals without stirrups.

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Categories: Horses