O'Bannon's DunRovin' Ranch, LLC

Registered Shire horses, N.A.Spotted drafts, ADHA Drum horses, Longhorns, Organic cattle & More!

 ?!?Questions & Answers!?!

 

Do you have questions about Shires or Spotted/Pinto Drafts? 

If you can't locate an answer here or on either of our specific breed Info Pages, please feel free to contact us and we'll try to find the answer to your question. 

  The #1 Most Asked Question About Our Shires

 

Are those as big as Clydesdales?

Answer - Shire horses are the tallest, largest horses in the world so YES, that would make them actually bigger than Clydesdales.  Of course, exceptions exist!  Although the Clyde is much more popular (thanks to Mr. Busch), the Clydesdale breed in fact came from the Shire horse. 

Keep in mind that Scotch-bottom shoes and lifts easily make a horse a full hand taller and although most people use them we do not.  

The Scottish (All the King Henry's, plus other kings, would roll over in their graves if they knew this.)  took English Shire Stallions, bred them to their own, much smaller, draft horses & produced Clydesdales.   This is part of the reason Clydes have a tendency to be not quite as easy-going as Shires, yet still sweet and pretty gentle.  If you would like more information on the history of the Shire Horse and why the English Kings would be so upset, please refer to our Shire Info  page. 

         

Frequently Asked Questions About Shire Horses                                   

What are the different colors of Shires? 

The most common color is Black. You can have true black which is non-fading or you can have fading black which is black that fades when exposed to a lot of sun.  Then comes chestnut, bay, brown, followed by gray (which turns to a beautiful white), & at last count there were 4 sorrel Shire stallions in the U.S.  The sire of our filly, Sunrise, is sorrel.  This is why she is not true black!  There are also very few black and white spotted Shires.  Most of those are in England and some are called Drum horses but they are actually spotted Shires.

Only about 15% of Shires are true black with 4 whites & a blaze. That leaves  approxi-mately  85% not marked as "the market" wants them. Does this make them inferior? ABSOLUTELY NOT!  Actually, the majority of the time these horses will be the higher quality horses! Some breeders put color and markings at the top of their priority list, but the fact of the matter is, that color and markings need not be their main or even near-main concern.  Conformation and disposition are the most important traits to have.  There are high quality Shires out there that happen to be black with 4 whites and a blaze, but unfortunately, that is not common.  Coloring and markings are negligible assets compared to temperament, heart, and loyalty in these huge animals.

How much do Shires eat? 

Draft horses usually have slower metabolisms, and calmer dispositions than most light-horse breeds, so that keeps the feed bills from being as high as you would expect.  Drafts do better on a roughage-based diet, with not too much feed added.  Ours eat timothy and brome grass hay in the winter as their whole diet, along with a vitamin/mineral supplement called Integrity Hoof. Our pregnant mares and our stallions are supplemented with a small amount of high protein feed.  All horses under 14 months of age are fed a small amount of steamed-crimped oats and Advantage Grass Pro feed on a twice daily basis.  Over feeding, especially with processed feed, can get you into trouble with these big drafts.

How much do Shires cost? 

Shires have been called the "vanity breed" of draft horses, due to their scarceness and higher prices compared to other draft breeds.  Although this can cweanling Shire of even questionable quality, will rarely sell for less than $4,000. If you are looking for a good-quality weanling, expect to pay from $10,000 down to $5,000.  Fillies usually bring more than colts.  As for prices on adult horses, a nice mare of breeding age, with no particular training, will likely cost between $4,000 and $6,000.  A large mare with really good conformation, color, markings, & training, will likely cost from $8,000 to $15,000.  Geldings are usually cheaper than mares & most nice, hitchy ones sell for $6,000-$11,000 

Can you ride Shires? 

Certainly! Some Shires make excellent riding horses, even better than some light horses! Their calm nature and easy-going manner makes them exceptional on the trail.  Many have a nice build for disciplines like dressage, with smooth gaits, and great agility.  Some have better gaits & some are more sensitive, as with any horse.  You just have to find the one that's right for you!

 

Can you jump Shires? 

Since they are so willing to please, they will jump, but it’s not advisable.  Shire bones were not built for all of that mass to come pounding down on them on a regular basis.  If you want a good jumper, a Thoro-Shire (ThoroughBred/Shire cross) is a great option.  These horses are getting more and more popular for hunter/jumper, dressage and eventing competitions.

Do Shires need special care? 

Yes!  They are more sensitive to the extreme heat much more than to extreme cold, so they need lots and lots of shade and cool water in the summer.  Many Shires do well in Canada and the northern states as the cold weather complements them.  All of ours absolutely love baths and being sprayed with water - but you must squeegee them down after you spray them so they don‘t steam themselves.  We also have fairly solid pond bottoms so ours can actually walk into the ponds and cool off but this wouldn’t work with a soft-bottom pond.  All of ours come up for baths and water play when they get hot, they also come up to get cooled off in the barn with fans going strong. Despite their cold-blooded nature, Shires are very adaptable.  Some are living successfully in warmer states such as Texas & Louisiana and even a few are now in the hot country of Mexico.

Since Shires are a heavily “feathered” horse, they do tend to have more of a propensity to develop “scratches”.  This skin condition of the horse's foot affects the pasterns & heels and it‘s usually more in the white colored area more often than the darker.  Symptoms include: scabby pasterns or scabby heels with areas that are cracked and swollen & the feet are sometimes tender to touch.  Many causes have been associated with this dermatitis, including:  microorganisms, allergies, photosensitivity, fungus, nutrition, bacteria, irritants, soil or bedding. "Scratches" tends to persist and to reoccur frequently, especially in a horse with white feet.  It is important to watch for and quickly treat the “scratches” that may pop up under their feathers.  Cleansing their spats and feathers regularly helps.  

When looking for a good Shire, what  are important traits to watch for? 

A Shire with good set has a perfectly straight leg (as is important in any breed) and that whole leg is put onto the horse at a slight angle, with hocks together.  This is what a pulling horse of any type needs to do his job properly.  An old saying goes that a good draft horse will, at a walk, "Poop on one hock, and knock it off with the other as it goes by".  Another thing that is very important to look for is, sufficient bone to support that big horse, and he should still have good, clean limbs.  A horse that has a huge body on top of little spindly legs will not hold up for a useful life.  Big, solid, strong feet are a must.  Last, but certainly not least, is a great temperament.  Rankness might have a place in some light horse breeds, but when your horse weighs a ton there is just no place for anything but a perfect disposition.

When looking a good Shire, what traits are really not important? 

Size and markings!  These are the least important things to be bred for in pretty much any animal.  Unfortunately, this thought seems, quite often, to be left out.  A few breeders are obsessed with getting “4 long whites” or getting a “world record” height.  Some people think their horse has perfect markings, so they should breed it.  Often these goals work out badly and to the detriment of the horse.  Hopefully, more breeders will learn this, and our breed can get back to having many great horses, and not many horses with just great height or markings.  

To carry on the exceedingly pleasant temperament, excellent conformation,  and great loyalty of the Shire horse should be the most important goal for the Shire breeder.

To get more information on Shire horses, you can go to our Page labeled Shire Info.  To learn more about the Shires here at O'Bannon's DunRovin' Ranch, please feel free to head to the Shire Girls or Shire Boys Pages.

 

 

Frequently  Asked  Questions  About

ODR's  Big  Horses

 

What do you do with your big horses? 

How do you train such big horses?

Why don't your big horses have docked tails?

Why don't your big horses wear scotch-bottom shoes?

 

What do you do with your big horses? 

We work our horses in a variety of ways including (but not limited to), pulling heavy items, moving downed trees, harrowing, spreading manure, trail riding, halter shows, both hitch and riding in parades, show hitch, hay rides, etc.  If we only had the time we would use them for all our heavy ranch work!  Keeping draft horses in stalls extensively (without any real work) is quite detrimental to them.  Their huge digestive tracts really do need the horse to move and be active in order to work properly.  Far too many draft horses have died due to their owners thinking they were being kind to the horse by confining him or her to a stall, when all the while the horse was needing to roam, work and get some exercise.  As with most animals, Shires need exercise and work to be healthy and happy and not develop bad habits.  These horses LOVE to have a job and WORK whether it is pulling logs or simply pleasure riding.  

How do you train such big horses? 

We try to use mostly voice commands as well as non-threatening physical commands for our animals, both equine and canine.  Really folks - it's impossible for a mere human to push around a 2000 lb. animal unless the animal allows it.  The fact is that animals (be they dogs, horses, or whatever) perform better when doing your wishes because of their respect and love for you rather than their fear of you.  It might surprise some people at how quickly a big stallion will jump to attention when a voice usually soft and kind gets rough or loud!  This is not to say we let them get away with much.  If it will hurt them or another - it is not allowed.  We make sure they know WE ARE NOT horses/dogs/cows and THEY ARE NOT humans.  But each animal also knows it is well cared for and much loved.

We Have Chosen to Take the

 Trail  Less Traveled

 

Why don't your big horses have docked tails?

There is great controversy over the docked tails issue, but of course everyone knows it's not natural for any animal to have its tail cut off.  Because of this, we here at O’Bannon’s DunRovin’ Ranch, LLC refuse to ever dock a horse's tail for vanity, ease of care, or for what a judge wants to see.  Tails are there for good reasons; fly protection, cooling, etc.  We do have horses that were docked previous to our ownership but we then let them grow out as far as possible.  We feel tail bobbing (as well as excessive hair trimming) is unnecessary as long as you take the time to braid tightly.  Sure it takes a bit more work to braid up for shows so the officials can clearly see the full hind end of the horse.  But for 98% of the year, they have to be a horse, and we can't in good conscience chop off a body part for that other 2% of the year.  After all, 'A horse is a horse, a horse of course'.  Many draft horse people do it, and that's up to them, but you won't find that with us.  We realize and accept that we may get placed down in the show ring for this, but we put our horse's well-being over that as a matter of choice.

Natural is best for us! 

 Why don't your big horses wear scotch-bottom shoes?

Scotch Bottom Shoes - A wide  flared foot with a small hoof head.  This is an anomaly brought on by Scotch bottom shoes, body shop putty and paint; and it is, unfortunately seen in our draft horse shows more often than not.  Generally made of excessively heavy steel, they are fit very full, usually with pads, and beveled or “scotched” so that it follows the angle of the hoof to the ground.  Front shoes are frequently squared at the toes and sometimes have caulks on the heels for street work.  The hind shoes are generally fit very close on the inside branches, usually narrowed toward the heel, and fit very full and long on the outside branches.  The outside heels are normally trailered (brought back and out from the horse’s actual heels) and frequently have a heel caulk on the trailer. 

The idea of these shoes is to accentuate the horse’s action in the front by adding weight and length and to bring the horse’s hind legs closer together.  The caulk on the trailer hits the ground first and grips, turning the foot out and forcing the legs in. Close hocks are historically a desirable conformational trait thought to improve the horse’s ability to start a load, and so are exaggerated in the show rings today.

This type of shoeing obviously places tremendous strain on a horse’s legs. When you consider that many show horses are very young animals, not yet fully developed, the results of such strains are sadly predictable.

Edward Martin, a fourth generation Scottish farrier and a most noted draft horse farrier of modern times, has shod Clydesdales for sixty years and has won many awards, including World Championships.  In his book “Shoeing the Draft Horse”, he has little good to say about modern show shoeing. He actually goes as far as saying “it is a bad, bad practice and one which no self respecting farrier would want to be associated with”.  Instead, he promotes the time honored traditional approaches that stress a balanced foot and shoes of appropriate size and weight for the horse.  Along with balanced traction suitable for the work the horse is to perform. 

Although some of the aforementioned issues do affect show ring scores, (especially the scotch bottom subject) we feel the sacrifice is worth it for the soundness of our huge animals.  We take 'The Trail Less Traveled' because once again.....

Natural is best for us! 

 

       

Frequently Asked Questions About                   

Spotted/Pinto Draft Horses

 

 * What are the different colors of Spotteds?

                     * How much do Spotteds eat?

                     * How much do Spotteds cost? 

                     * Can you ride Spotteds?

              * Can you jump Spotteds?

What are the different colors of Spotted/Pinto Drafts? 

The most common color is Black & White.  The variety is pretty much endless.  They can come in only two colors or more than two.  Chestnut, bay, brown, gray, black, white...................

How much do Spotted/Pinto Drafts eat? 

Draft horses usually have slower metabolisms, and calmer dispositions than most light-horse breeds, so that keeps the feed bills from being as high as you would expect.  Drafts do better on a roughage-based diet, with not too much feed added.  Ours eat timothy and brome grass hay in the winter as their whole diet, along with a vitamin/mineral supplement called Integrity Hoof. Our pregnant mares and our stallions are supplemented with a small amount of high protein feed.  All horses under 14 months of age are fed steamed-crimped oats and Advantage Grass Pro feed on a twice daily basis.  Over feeding, especially with processed feed, can get you into trouble with these big drafts.

How much do Spotted/Pinto Drafts cost? 

There is a vast difference in the prices of these horses, depending on pedigrees, location, breeders, etc.  A weanling will rarely sell for less than $2,000.  If you are looking for a good-quality weanling, expect to pay from at least $4,000 up.  Fillies usually bring more than colts.  As for prices on adult horses, a nice mare of breeding age, with no particular training, will probably cost you around $3,500.  A large mare with really good conformation, color, markings, & training, will likely cost from $4,000 to $10,000.  Geldings are usually cheaper than mares & most nice, hitchy ones sell for $3,000-$6,000.  If you are lucky enough to have a matching, trained, team the price goes way up.    

Can you ride Spotted/Pinto Drafts? 

Sure! Some Spotteds make excellent riding horses, even better than some light horses! Their calm nature and easy-going manner makes them exceptional on the trail.  Many have a nice build for disciplines like dressage, with smooth gaits, and great agility.  Some have better gaits & some are more sensitive, as with any horse.  You just have to find the one that's right for you!

Can you jump Spotted/Pinto Drafts? 

Some of the 100% draft spotteds aren't built much for jumping due to their mass.  But there are plenty of spotteds out there that have a bit of arabian, thoroughbred, tennessee walker, etc. in them that are turning out to be fantastic jumpers.  These horses are getting a lot of awards and becoming more and more popular for hunter/jumper, dressage and eventing competitions.

    To get more information on Spotted/Pinto Draft horses or to find out more about the ones here at O'Bannon's DunRovin' Ranch and how we came to own these great equines, please feel free to head to Our Spotteds Page.

Music credit:  'What I Believe' by Templeton Thompson from her I Remember You album.