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Crosses That Click

Excerpts from Crosses that Click, The Practical Horseman, January 2007

"Think about things that, as nice as they are on their own, often seem even better when they are put together: Bacon and eggs. Moonlight and music. Fall and football."

"According to some breeders and trainers, a similar phenom can occur when horses from certain equine registries are paired with horses from other particular registries. Carefully chosen, quality individuals from quite different breeds can produce offspring that meld the best of both. ..."

"...We talked with professionals who breed or work with several of the blends that crossbreeding is creating to find out what these contributions are like and where they might fit into your riding future."

"Quiet and Uncomplicated"

"A typical customer who comes to Liz Booth at her Virginia Sport Horses training and sales facility is in her thirties and hasn't had time to be serious about riding for a while. Now she wants to get back into it with a horse that's safe, quiet, dependable and uncomplicated - something that, if she doesn't have time to ride during the week, she can ride the horse on the weekend and still enjoy herself.'"

"The horse that fits this profile, says Liz, is usually a draft crossed with a lighter breed. The draft component can be Percheron, Clydesdale, Belgian or Shire. ...The crosses are hardy, she has found, and take fewer hours to train than purebreds of most light breeds. The draft breeding has a calming and steadying influence. 'Their temperament makes even the young ones safe for nonprofessional riders.'"

"The Thoroughbred is the light-horse component of many of Liz's prospects, but she sees good horses produced by other combinations. 'A rare cross, but one that I like, is the Hackney/Clydesdale or Hackney/Shire - and I mean a Hackney horse, which is an old carriage breed, not a Hackney pony. The Hackney horse is more of a Warmblood type and has an uphill build with a very free-moving shoulder, which gives it a beautiful floating walk.' A Standardbred/draft cross is another good one, in her experience. The Standardbred side of the mix contributes to smooth gaits. In addition, these crosses 'can jump, so they can foxhunt. They're even more levelheaded than the draft/Thoroughbred cross' - another benefit from the standardbred - 'so they make great trail horses.' Another cross she likes, but doesn't often see, is a Morgan/Percheron. 'They tend to have a refined head with a broad forehead (from the Morgan side), a nice neck and beautiful movement' because both breeds have attractive gaits...."

As many of our customers can tell you, the search for the "PERFECT HORSE" can be expensive and time consuming. By the time many customers arrive at VSH, they've seen (and often vetted) multiple horses without much success.

Some of our customers have even purchased a horse that they thought would work, just to find themselves being injured on a horse that isn't suitable for what they originally wanted.

Since most of today's equestrians are amateur riders, VSH has tried to take some of the guess work out of selecting your next equine partner. Our horses are selected for good conformation and good minds. They're athletic, easygoing and have a lot of personality.

Most of the horses at VSH are young, and we are often asked about amateur riders buying young horses. An article by Craig & Jan Thompson in the January 2005 issue of USEA's magazine covered the subject of the types of horses amateur riders should consider and had the following to say about "The Age Factor".

"Many amateur riders get hung up on having a horse between 8 and 12 years old, or some other equally misleading window. The thinking behind this seems to be that by this age, a horse will be mature enough to tolerate an amateur. In reality the right horse may be four, ten or 15. While age may be a consideration to the buyer, the horse doesn't know how old it is and does not care. A horse doesn't turn ten and think, "Now that I'm ten, I better let her yank my teeth out". The wrong horse for an amateur won't ever be right for the job no matter how old it is. Alternatively, the right horse for an amateur will be born as solid as Mt. Rushmore and will demonstrate this trait as early as it's career begins."

If you're looking for a wide selection of safe, sound, athletic horses, VSH is the place to look. We offer the widest selection of sport horse prospects, at the most reasonable prices, available on the East Coast.



VSH Owner Liz Booth
and her 2004 Clydesdale cross, Lakota


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