A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses

I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Looking back at how we started

Yesterday I decided to clean Rico up and get video of him. I didn't realize he had grown into being such a big boy. I actually had to check his birth date to make sure I wasn't loosing my mind, and he really is just a yearling.

See, Rico stands about 14.3 hands right now, give or take. I'm eye balling that but I'm normally pretty spot on. My other fillies from 09 aren't nearly that tall, but again, they aren't as old either. Rico was a March baby, the other Stonewall girls are July babies, and the Appaloosa filly is from May.

So we prettied him up, which included a bath and clipping. See those pretty legs in that picture, well naturally they are lightly feathered. I think that clean legs look much more professional, and are more likely to draw the eye. And those lightning marks stand out a lot more on shaven legs. (Aren't they pretty?)

So after that, We grabbed some video of him. Rico was the easiest to video to date. I think some of it was because I had a better idea of what I needed to tape, and the rest is that Rico is just that mellow. Ask him to move, and he moves, ask him to stop and he stops. He's a great colt.

I decided a few months ago that I am going to geld him. I wasn't sure, because he's so pretty, and so well mannered, but I think that being a gelding will be good for his career. Ok, that and I don't want any more stallions. And because I'm trying to slowly reduce my herd.

Yes, I'll admit it. When I had 4 people helping me, the number of horses I have wasn't bad at all. Financially we're able to support them, so that's not the problem. The problem is that I can't train and handle everything on my own to the level I want them to be trained. For that reason, I'm not breeding more horses at this time, and won't until I have my numbers where I want them.

So, I now have video footage of Rico and Scorch waiting to be made into a video. I'm very annoyed by the back grounds, and the STUFF that is everywhere. Unfortunately, I can't do anything about that....yet.

You see, we're renovating a trashed out piece of property. When Jae and I decided to buy property, we had realistic expectations. We knew our price range, and were trying to stay in it. We also though, knew what we wanted in the future, and what we hoped to one day be able to move up to. A strange coincidence during our property search ended up with me fat fingering a key, and bringing up results that I hadn't expected. I think I was talking about our total budget, and typed that in, as opposed to the amount that we were planning to spend on land. Our initial plan was to buy raw land, and then use the rest of our funds to build a modest house barn and arena on it. Land was the cheap part.

So, my mistake leaves me staring at the first listing. A property with 2 houses, a barn, an arena, a HUGE western type round pen (about 110' diameter) and 30 acres. The pictures didn't look good, but it ended up being on our way to view the other properties, so we decided to take a look. Granted, we didn't expect much. When we drove past, both of us went "wait, that's IT?"

See, the house was a piece of crap. The other house was a single wide mobile. The barn is a pole barn with rusting out metal siding. The arena has been neglected for a LONG time, and the round pen... well it has 3 foot tall sides. And to top it all off.... no care had been done in EONS. I don't mean normal care, I mean someone turned one of the paddocks into a junk yard. The fences needed work, the place needed to be mowed, and everything needed a coat of paint.

Besides that, we were staring at about 30 acres of the most amazing horse land ever. Lush pastures, rolling hills (in TEXAS!) scattered trees, and a big ol pond.

I called my real estate agent and told him we wanted to see it. Jae and I both were positive that this was our new home. When we went to view the place, the real estate agent did the normal thing, and wanted to show us the houses. Jae and I wanted to see the barn! We walked the pasture, checked out the arena and round pen, and were in love. Unlike most pastures in this area, that have dirt visible through the grass, this one was like a golf course.... with some weeds added for effect. The working areas obviously had a well made footing. So well made that the grasses and weeds trying to grow in it were failing.

The barn was a mess, the stalls hadn't been cleaned in years, and were standing about 18 inches above the alley, every thing was on a slope, but the stalls were HUGE. The "little" stalls were 12 x 12, then there were 4 lovely 14 x 16 stalls. To top it off, between the time I saw it, and the time we actually viewed it, the price had been dropped by 15K. Score!

We did the math, realized that we could afford it, AND afford the repairs, but it meant that Jae would be doing the work, and it would take longer. So, here we are, 3 years later, still doing the work.

Now, with that said, the work we've done is amazing. Enough so that neighbors of the town have stopped to say that it looks so much better. The junk piles are gone, the trash is picked up, everything has a coat of paint and is mowed regularly. The downside is that the renovations mean lots of equipment. Outside my arena I have box blades, tillers, mowers. Inside my barn I have a stall area (no stall walls) that stores the other equipment, like welder, cutting torch, paints and the like. We've stripped off part of the galvanized siding, and replaced it with wood, but we're not finished with that yet, so there is plain unpainted wood siding (see background of Rico's picture above).

We've fixed the driveway, made more drive (there was nothing leading into the barn) and the old owners were nice enough to leave us HUGE piles of asphalt. You can see those piles in the videos.

We moved and repaired fences. Currently we're building a new paddock for the stallions and geldings. Yeah, I run them together for the most part. At least when I can. Spot, the old boy, hates other males, so he can't be integrated. I keep trying, but he's just too aggressive. After the stallion pen, the rest of the barbed wire comes down, and the Centaur fence goes up. It's slow, but it is LOVELY to see it happening.

So while making all of these videos, and taking pictures of the horses I have to keep in mind that we're a work in progress. We've come so far, but we have so far to go, and the progress requires tools. I can either wait for us to be finished, or I can deal with it, and have "ok" quality videos. I figure if I wait for it to be perfect, I'll be waiting a long time, so I might as well get started.

Needless to say, here I am, started. I'm learning how to make videos, I've learned how to make a website, and I'm hoping that sales pick up. I would LOVE to see my babies in great homes where they would be pampered and loved. I've been using the past couple of weeks of rainy weather to update the horses, get current pictures, and actually DO the desk work.

I'd much rather be out riding!

1 comment:

  1. You can come and ride with me anytime girlie. Or. I'll come to you. Depends on what we want to do.