Are you looking for a super-sized experience? Try riding a great big land whale. A draft horse is the biggest horse out there. To ride a draft horse is like riding on a giant, moving couch. You have to be ready for some serious leg stretching to get around the hefty bulk of a draft horse's back. Because their bones and feet are so much bigger and heavier than a regular-sized horse, you'll have to adjust to the longer strides and the jarring gaits. The sheer size of the horse is what makes the ride so different so hang on, have fun and wear a helmet.
How to Ride a Draft Horse
Once the draft horse is bridled up, you can ride a draft horse bareback, with a saddle or a bareback pad. It depends on your riding ability or what makes you most comfortable. Some people like stirrups to help them balance while other people like climbing on their draft horse out in the middle of a field bareback in only a halter.
Even if your horse has a saddle, you may need to use a mounting block to get on board. Drafts can measure above 19 hands, and this is a long way up to raise your foot. If you don't have a mounting block, angle your horse next to a low wall, a fence, or a bale of hay to climb up and ease onto his back. If you are riding bareback, you will definitely have to climb on something to get onto his back.
The first thing you will notice is that your legs are almost doing the splits. You'll notice even more when you try and get off your draft for the first time. A draft has a wider body, and your legs will be wider around him. It takes some adjusting, and if you get leg cramps up near your hips, remove your foot from the stirrup and place that leg in front of the saddle for a few minutes to relieve the cramp.
Try out the draft horse at all three gaits: walk, trot and canter. Some drafts have to be really encouraged to canter, with a tap of a riding whip or incessant clucking. If you do get a canter, then hold on, because it can be a bouncy gait with those huge hooves. Especially grab a bunch of mane to keep your balance if you're riding bareback when going from canter to trot because the trot can be extremely bumpy. You don't want to slide off as it's a long way down.
Once you get used to your draft horse's bigger strides, you can relax and enjoy the ride. The great thing about riding a draft is their genuine relaxed attitude and willingness to please. They are a hard-working breed, and even on a relaxed trail ride, they will power forward with a lazy ease.