Buy­ing a horse

An in­creas­ing num­ber of you are in­ter­ested in rid­ing heav­ier types. Fol­low the ad­vice of the team to find the per­fect one for you

Your Horse (UK) - - Contents -

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

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