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.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Pondering the average horse buyer
That's Boo and I when I first got him. Isn't he just the cutest? I made so many mistakes buying Boo, that it's not funny. First off, I purchased a horse from a shady breeder. Yeah, I was told Boo's papers would be in the mail. I was also told he was 6 months old. A year later, I got SOME records, and learned that he was only 4months old, and that his breeder never finished paying for the dam. Her papers were never transferred, and so Boo could never be registered.
From there, I spent many years with just the 2 horses. I would help out friends and such that needed someone to put hours on their horse. I mean who can say no to a chance to ride more? I ate a lot of dirt, got more bruises then I could count, but youth saved me from major injury.
I have had many trainers over the years. From my exhusband, to a lady from my boarding stable (lovely dressage rider/instructor, who taught me a ton!). Then I had a jumper trainer for a short time, another dressage trainer, and right now I am looking for a jumper trainer. (Shameless plug here, I need a jumper trainer in North Texas, who is willing to work with a rider of draft crosses and Appaloosas!).
Now, I have a LOT of horses. Last count was 39. Yes, that's too many. Yes, many are for sale. And NO, they will not be ditched for any reason. Until recently there were 4 full time workers here. Now, there are 2 full timers and my mom is part time. That means more hours in the barn for me.
But, when I sell horses, I always think about how lucky I have been to get the breaks that I did. I know that most people have no interest in getting thrown. They don't want to have to put millions of hours into a horse just to do things that should be normal. I'm very proud of the fact that my horses are gentle, sane, and easy to handle. Hell, most of them are born that way! The secret is in the hours.
That's Scorch, above, at 2 months. He's learning that halters are "ok".
I'm not sure when exactly I taught Streak to lead. It started with a halter when he was in the stall. I put it on, I took it off, I put it on and might even leave it on for a few minutes. I'm always so worried that he could get hurt, that he never had it left on when out of sight. From there, I started putting it on when we walked his mom out to her paddock. Then we attached a lead, but let him follow his dam. Then one day, I actually walked him, and he wasn't sure about the pressure. We worked through that, and now, he walks "ok" on a lead. He still balks, but he's only 3 months old! I'm not in a rush.
All of our babies are trained like that. By the time we're ready to ride them, they could care less. Leah jumped up on Scorch, just to "see what he'd do" and he didn't really care.
I also take it SLOW when breaking them. As 3 year olds they get a lot of walk, and maybe some trot. By the time they are 4, they learn cantering, and more serious stuff, and then go up for sale. I'm behind right now, because I was out of commission for a year, but I'm catching up quickly. It's not hard, it's just VERY time consuming.
So my point is, with as easy as this is to do, why don't more people? Why are so many horse owners buying horses that are "well trained" and end up with issues? No, I'm not blaming the buyers, I'm blaming the sellers!
I can't even imagine the heartbreak of having a horse that I'm scared of, or unable to ride. I try to wrap my mind around that, and just can't. It's like trying to imagine life with out a beloved family member. You know it's possible, but you can't fully grasp the pain.
I guess I'm doing my small part in trying to make buying a horse a good experience for people new to horses. I guess it's like the starfish story. I can't change everything, but maybe I can make a difference to one, or a handful of horse owners. And in doing so, maybe I can save a few horses along the way.
Posted by Pinzgauer at 7:24 PM