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.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Working Horses in the Heat

It's 91 degrees (Fahrenheit) out there.  Not too bad yet, but summer is definitely here.

I am not an early riser.  I try hard, and I usually fail.  Today I made it up at the crack of 10:30!  Now, I am a late night person, so my horses are on a later schedule then many.  They get fed between 10 and 11, both AM and PM.  They don't seem to mind at all.

I also love summer.  I love warm weather, but it has its downsides.  I don't really sweat well.  I'm the annoying person that in 100 degree weather is still dry.  In a normal working day, I usually drink a couple of gallons of water.  I also always have a craving for salt in the summer too... hmm.

Because my arena is doubling as stallion turn out in the evenings right now, there's a water trough in there.  It's one of those things that is very convenient to have, and I won't be taking it out.  I like to be able to walk over to the fence, grab a drink, and let my horse have a drink too.  See, my first riding instructor taught me that when my horse is tacked up, its needs come before mine.  If I am thirsty, then the horse should be offered water first.  If I am done riding, then my horse should at minimum have the girth loosened, and stirrups run up (English).

Now, starting these younger green horses under saddle, it's even more important to keep in mind the effects of heat.  Yes, the horses are out in it all day, so much better acclimated to it, but youngsters get nervous, which raises their body temperature, and can cause them to over heat faster.

I try to watch how much they sweat.  I like to see a nice wet horse when its hot.  A horse that should be warm, but is dry, is cause for panic.  Anhydrosis can be life threatening here in Texas.  If you suspect anhydrosis (not sweating) in your horse, that's cause for a vet call!

The upside of working in the heat is that the horses are slower.  It's not really worth it to buck, and spooks don't come as fast.  Granted, some horses find this miserable, and will be more trouble, while other horses could care less about the weather.  Each horse is an individual and we have to remember that.

Also, as a beauty tip, when you are done working your horse, and the horse is sweaty, hose it off.  First off, this cleans out the icky gunk that builds up in the horse's pores, and secondly it removes salt which can cause bleaching.  Salt can also cause damage to manes and tails, making it brittle and causing it to break.


  1. Yeah, I'm a believer of working in the heat. Takes some of the sass out of 'em. It's just not worth the effort to act up. The weather report I heard today says this weekend the heat index is supposed to be 107. So get up earlier on Sunday so we don't melt. We need to be out of the sun long before 107.

    Did Dr. G look at Rover? Just curious as to what's going on with him.

  2. Yeah definitely will have to be early. Looks like it's going to be HOT.

  3. Yeah definitely will have to be early. Looks like it's going to be HOT.