Ah, a long weekend! Ok, so a long weekend isn't really any different to me then a normal weekend. And weekends are my busiest time of the week, but always in a good way. Through out the week I am able to wander my way through chores, piddle with my training, and take frequent "coffee breaks". Sometimes I even drink coffee, although when it's hot, I'm much more of the ice tea type.
Leah came over. She brought up her Pokey Pony and Jazu. I of course felt this was a great time to explain to Leah why she needs a third horse! And I have just the option for her... My new Stonewall colt (soon to be gelding) "O Stop Looking" (aka Streaker).
I mean, look at that form, and doesn't every one need a mostly white horse? Ok, Jaz is grey, but grey isn't nearly as hard to keep clean as WHITE.
Truth be told, Streaker is amazing. He was born with all the calmness one could ask for in a seasoned trail horse. I swore it was because he's deaf, but I was wrong. See, Streaker is splash white as well as a snowcap appaloosa, and often times the splash causes not only pretty markings, but also deafness when the white touches the base of the ear area. Streaker's definitely does. I'm not sure if he can hear in both ears, but he can hear, and comes when called (comes when not called too!).
And look at those striking blue eyes! They are amazingly hard to photograph, since any light makes them reflect red eye, and changes the ice blue color to a more lavender. Trust me though, he's got a set of baby blues to die for.
Add to it that he's got lovely conformation, and while his head is a bit plain, it's also very noble looking. I'm not a fan of tiny little baby doll heads. In truth, the most lovely type of horse head to me is a true roman nosed baroque type head! LOVE those. Streaker, he just got a normal head that fits his body. Everything else.. WOW!
Granted, with horses of this coloration, both the excess of pink skin, and the homozygosity for LP (the main appaloosa gene) there are certain care factors to consider. First, sunburn! All that pink skin can be sensitive to sun. Second, nightblindness. He's homozygous, he IS nightblind. He's very well adjusted to it, and horses don't really use their vision as much as we think they do, but the pairing makes for intersting maintenance challenges. Can't turn him out at night alone, because he can't see. Can't leave him out in the sun all day, because he'll fry.
Leah though has the perfect setting for him! She has trees, and lots of them, and she has 2 other horses that can see well. I've already gotten her to agree to take him for weaning. His dam, Arden is a Teddy O'connor wanna be, and can jump any fence I have on the property. She's a whopping 15.1 hands and has springs in her feet. Best to wean this one off property, so for those who read her blog, remember to harass her for baby updates sometime after August!
As for our ride today, it was simply lovely! Leah showed up, threw Jaz in with my boyz, put Poco in a stall, and started setting up the arena to her liking. Ground poles came out, and I still had the barrels out (and have been using them!). I drug my lazy holiday behind out, and checked with her to make sure it would be ok for me to ride a mare with Poco. See, Poco is "sensitive". He likes girls... he likes them a LOT... often times to distraction. It really depends upon his mood each day as to whether it's better to pick a gelding, or to risk riding a mare.
Now, I'm a mare lover! I'd gladly ride a mare over any other gender. LOVE mares, and I love their attitude. To me, geldings always seem a bit flat, personality wise. Riding them becomes mechanical, and I have a tendency to become complacent. My mares are taught to behave, and that being hormonal is NO excuse for acting up. When working, you're WORKING.
I grabbed my "baby" Cayenne, and wanted to see how she'd do with another horse around. Good call on my part! She's been so good under saddle lately, but a well rounded training involves more then just arena work. She's not ready to go off property yet, but adding in a distraction was perfect. I found quite a few holes I need to work on.
Ignore the junk in the background there. The city recently got their backhoe stuck between my property and the railroad tracks. And both the stuck one, and the rescue backhoe have been there for over a week now.
I have to admit that I didn't get to pay as much attention to Leah's riding as I'd like. Cayenne decided that SHE got to go where SHE wanted to. One of the holes in her training. About 15 minutes into our ride, my entire herd came up. Poco and Cayenne were both distracted, and Cayenne really wanted to go say "hi" to every one. For about 5 minutes, it was a very mellow struggle to get her to move in the opposite direction of the herd. She never did anything bad, just shook her head and petered out.
I can't believe how cute she looks under tack! Believe it or not, she's 14.0 hands or smaller. I keep forgetting to grab my stick and get an acurate measurement, but I'm betting it's the later.
When we finished, we of course grazed the ponies on the side of the hill. Both loved that idea, and both chowed down with gusto. I have a whole list of things to work on with the Baby now, and she did learn that when "momma" (as I am her foster mother) says go THIS way, she won't get to go any other way. With Cayenne it's best to not fight her. I simply ride her to block her other options and wait out the tantrum (which involves standing still or maybe shaking her head). At the end though, the Baby was TIRED. Talk about wet saddle pads!
Check out the sweat dripping down her side! And we never got out of a walk. Her mane is braided up to keep it out of the reins, and to help keep her cool. And never fear, that rein is just laid over the rail!
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.