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.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My (not so) Secret Addiction

It's true, I don't necessarily eat, sleep and breathe horses.  It's close, but I do a few other things.

One of those things is an online game called Lord Of The Rings Online (LOTRO).  It's placed in the Tolkien world, and based upon the trilogy.  Called an MMO (Massively Multi-player Online) game, I run around with many people from all over the world who all want to spend a little bit of time in the magnificence that Tolkien created.

Ok, so, I'm only a passing Tolkien fan, but Jae... well he's really into it.  Don't get me wrong, I like the Lord of the Rings movies, but I couldn't handle the writing style Tolkien used, and quickly gave up on the books.  So Jae picked this game, and we spend a few hours here and there, and every so often we get a day off to really indulge.  For us, this is like date night, and managing our responsibilities here at the farm, all rolled into one.

We can be as "social" as we want, hanging out with other players, or we can be rather anti-social, and just do things as a couple.  We get to have some good laughs, actively engage our minds (because this can easily end up as a thinking game) and let our bodies rest from the day to day chores.  All in all, it's a fun and cheap way to spend my free time.

Ironically, there are horses in this game.  Hmm... so maybe I DO eat, breathe, and sleep horses.

This horse is called a Blue Roan.  I think it looks more like a grulla, but I can also see it as a blue roan.  

As any horse person who plays video games knows, game developers can NOT seem to do horses properly!  In so many games, their hocks bend the wrong way, they pace instead of canter, or if they do canter, it's a dissociated canter!  It's always so annoying to me.  But in LOTRO, someone spent some time learning something about ponies.

These horses back with the proper footfalls, they canter - even though it's ALWAYS a left lead canter - and when "walking" they have a balanced trot.  The horses are even colored properly!  Well, the color names don't always match the horse, but it's close enough.

The downside, is that the horses tend to stand under themselves, don't have reins attached, and the rider sits like well.... a very poor rider!  Check out the bad legs in these pictures!

But, they have an appaloosa!  This was a gift for a summer based event, and is called the "Lithe Festival" horse after the name of that event.  But c'mon, who can't tell it's an Appie?  And they even have the pink skin in the right places, and a realistic coat pattern.  I really had to have that one.

I also find it very interesting that when a new player first rides a horse, the character bounces badly on the horse's back.  Once you reach a certain level, you can get a skilled called "Basic Riding" and then suddenly, you no longer bounce on the horse's back like an idiot!  Hmm... Did someone designing this game take riding lessons?

Of course, I am working my way to having every last one of the horses in this game.  It's a nice hobby, and well... pixelated ponies are much cheaper to feed. 

This is how I spent my holiday weekend.  I logged in, played a game, and listened for horses to spook at fireworks!  Luckily, there wasn't much if any spooking, and my neighbors were rather nice about keeping the fireworks to a minimum. Today, I'm hoping that the arena will dry out just a BIT more, and my next few days will be filled with updates on the youngsters starting under saddle.


  1. And all the women avatars in this game would be, what, 7 feet tall? Look how far their legs hang down even bent. Sadly, real life just can't compete. Wish my riding lessons were that simple, too.

  2. HA! No, I think they are just itty bitty little short horses. Wouldn't it be nice to just click a button and BAM, you can ride?

    You know, I posted this and it was sunny outside, and I had big plans to get on Scorch. I got up, messed with the dogs, and it just kept getting darker and darker. Next thing I know it's POURING rain. I also have a flood warning for tomorrow as well.