What is a Draft Horse Saddle?

Draft Horse

The draft horse is a large and heavy type of horse. They were initially bred for such farming tasks as plowing, hauling, and driving. They are the original work horse. There are a wide number of different breeds of draft horse. The most common include the Clydesdale, Belgium, Shire, and the Percheron. All these different breeds vary in characteristics such as color and size. Draft horses are known for their tall stature and muscular build. The average height ranges from 16 to 19 hands and from 1400 to 2000 pounds. The largest horse on record stood 21.2 hands. Their shoulders are more upright in order to be successful at pulling heavy loads. The draft horse tends to have a very broad and short back. Their hindquarters are extremely powerful and built for hard work. Their bone density is much thicker than that of the average horse and some breeds have additional feathering on their lower legs. This is very noticeable in breeds such as the Shire and Clydesdale.

The common trait among draft breeds is their strength, gentle temperament, and patience. This easy going temperament has made the draft horse today an extremely versatile breed. They are used for many purposes, including farming, showing, logging, and pleasure/ trial riding. More recently the draft breeds have been crossed with the lighter breeds, such as thoroughbreds, to create a lighter draft cross breed. These horses are found in many different show rings, such as western pleasure, western dressage, dressage, jumping, eventing, and driving. Because the draft and draft cross breeds have grown in popularity over the years, saddle designers have started making saddles to accommodate these large breeds: known as the draft saddle.


The draft horse saddle can come in a variety of styles.  The most common is the pleasure/ trail western saddle style with comfortable seats. The draft horse saddle is specifically designed with your draft and draft cross breeds in mind. The gullet size is going to be much wider than even a saddle built for a stocky horse. This wide gullet accommodates the draft horse’s very board back and shoulders. This wider saddle will prevent pinching that can occur with a typical western horse saddle. Your horse will benefit from the wider gullet that allows for freedom of motion for their shoulders. The seat of the saddle is going to be well padded to provide comfort for the rider during long rides. The rigging of the saddle will depend on the style, but typically it is in the 7/8 position in order to keep the saddle from sliding forward. A breast collar and back cinch are used to also keep the saddle positioned correctly on your horse’s back. If your draft horse is very round and has very little wither, the breast collar and back cinch are highly recommended. Even with a gentle giant, a saddle that slips can cause all sorts of chaos. The horn, cantle, fenders, stirrups, and skirt are going to vary depending on the saddle style. So if you are a draft horse or draft cross owner, consider purchasing a draft horse saddle. With the draft and draft breeds garnering more popularity you are bond to find the perfect saddle style to fit your needs. To find your Draft Saddle today, visit SaddleOnline!