Buying a horse
An increasing number of you are interested in riding heavier types. Follow the advice of the www.horsedeals.co.uk team to find the perfect one for you
Advice from the Horse Deals team
APART FROM THEIR comforting bulk and old-fashioned looks, the weight-carrying ability of a heavy horse means they’re great for taller riders, while their laid-back nature makes them pretty ideal for novices or anyone who just likes wandering around the countryside on horseback.
Choosing a breed
Shires generally have a docile disposition and they adapt well to whatever work they’re put to, however, those that are best for riding tend to have been trained for riding as youngsters, rather than as driving horses first. Shires are already popular for riding in Europe and have been increasing in popularity in the United Kingdom. Part-bred heavies have achieved success in many competitive fields – famously the part-bred Shire Wiston Bridget, who show jumped internationally, and Carol Parsons’ Giddy and Walter, both of whom competed at Grand Prix level in dressage. They’re also popular as hunters, offering great stamina and soundness.
Where they excel
Several county shows hold mixed breed classes for ridden heavy horses, and these are popular with spectators. The Shire Horse Society’s breed show has classes for pure and part-bred Shires, including dressage. Meanwhile, the Suffolk Punch Spectacular, an annual celebration of the breed, introduced a ridden class several years ago.
The search is on
Sourcing a ridden heavy horse can be tricky. Most geldings for sale will have had little handling. They’ll be halter broken and may have been shown in-hand but you need to be aware that these horses are very strong. Finding tack can be a challenge but it’s certainly not impossible. Extra full size bridles are widely available, but getting the right saddle is more complex as Suffolks, in particular, are wide. Endurance and synthetic saddles can be a good bet.
Shires are generally of a docile disposition and adapt well to whatever work they’re put to
An increasing number of shows have riding classes for heavy types now