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, July 10, 2010

Rover's at it again

Ok, so his shoes almost completely cleared up his lameness issues from Ringbone.  Rover has been doing GREAT!  Then, today, I go out to move some horses around, and turn out some horses, and Rover hobbles over to say hi.  I mean, dead flat lame.... right hind.

What now?

All the recent rain turned the boys' paddock into a mud pit (hence the moving).  Somehow, in all that mud, Rover found.... ready for this?  An antique used needle!  Stuck, right into his frog.

Poor guy, no wonder he wouldn't put weight on the leg.  Yes, before you ask, he's current on tetanus.  He stood like a champ for Jae to pluck it out, let us clean his hoof up, and I even soaked it in epsom salt/water, then a betadine rinse for good measure.

Of course he had no problems with being put in a stall, pampered, and fed his own special grain (next to a mare no less).  When I put Rover in a stall, I usually add a bit of oats to his grain.  Nothing much (I use whole oats for chicken feed) but enough to make it super tastey.  He can't have that when he's fed with the other boys, as oats are a no no for growing draft crosses.  All those carbs can lead to joint issues.  So Rover's a happy boy now.

Then, we went to grab the colts.  A week ago, Rico got something in his eyes.  Hay/grass, not really sure what.  He scratched his left eye a bit, but nothing serious.  Because of the watering, he rubbed his eyes on his legs, causing his right eye to become slightly irritated.  After they were irritated and swollen, any amount of dust makes it worse.  He's getting his eyes rinsed out - which he HATES, but is good for.  Today, I rinsed out a chunk of something else from his left eye.  What ever it was, was seated under the third eyelid.  As soon as it washed out, his eyes looked better and less swollen!    I figure at least a week more of rinsing and antibiotics, and he should be good as new.

And the rain... oh boy has it rained!  While we were washing Rico's eyes out, the skies opened up, and we moved the "operation" into the barn.  I couldn't hear what Jae was saying it was so loud and coming down so hard.  I am not complaining at ALL!  My grass is back, it's green, and it's already grown a few inches.  The one thing I will complain about, is that even with this much rain, there are areas in the pastures that look as if they got sprinkled on.  Only damp, still solid, and begging for a few feet of water to fall on them.

I've been making notes of where those spots are.  That's the areas I have to till up and break up the hard pan.  Evidently, my soil type tends to form a hard solid layer a few inches below the surface.  This layer is almost impossible for roots to grow through, but it's nutrient rich.  Once broken up, the natural sand here works into it, forming a lovely ideal sandy loam soil.  The downside?  No one took care of this land for over 50 years.  Before that it was a fish hatchery, so there's some great soil waiting to grow grass.

Oh yeah, it's muggy too.  I mean super gross.  I think I'll spend a few hours hiding inside!


  1. That is just really bad luck! I mean really bad luck! Poor Rover!

    With horses if it isn't one thing that it is another isn't?

    I have a mini here that got a burr in his eye as a foal, he has an ulcer on his eye but other than that it doesn't bother him.

  2. Eww, I hate eye injuries!

    Every one seems to be doing ok though so far. Rover isn't allowed to play in the mud of course, and he's perfectly happy getting extra grain loving.

    Rico is tolerating his treatments, and is looking better everyday. Just hope there's no more excitement this week.

  3. Wow! I had no idea that horses had 3 eyelids. Neat! Poor Rover...that needle must have hurt, but the pampering sure made up for the hurting I'm sure. I didn't know that oats weren't good for young draft crosses. Is this also the same for any young horses as well?

    Lucky you to get some rain. It's been so dry here, but at least we've got no humidity and no mosquitos. Doesn't your rain cool things off afterwards? When it finally rains here, our temps drop really low, down into the low 50's, even in July and August. Makes for great sleeping weather at night :)


  4. The third eyelid on a horse is at the front corner, and goes across the eye. It's actually some what common for horses to get cancers here. If you try to open a horse, dog, or cat's eye while they are trying to close it, you'll see a membrane - pinkish - across the eye. That's the third eyelid.

    As for oats... well, new studies in feeding are pretty interesting. Previous wisdom said high protein was bad for babies, because it caused joint issues. Now we're learning that it's really the carbs. Carbs make fat, and proteins make muscle/bones.

    So for smaller horses, and ponies, it's really hard to tell a difference in growth patterns, because the change in size from birth to maturity isn't as extreme. But the bigger the horse (drafts, warmbloods, etc) the more pronounced the possible changes. A low carb, high protein/fiber diet is always good for a growing horse, but a high carb diet isn't always bad, it's just bad for the big ones.

    A lot of research was done on Thoroughbreds used for racing, and you can find some studies at http://www.thehorse.com/ (free membership required).

    But drafts and draft crosses are prone to PSSM. Basically they have a completely different metabolism - slower then expected. This means that they process their food different, and get more from fibers then from concentrates. Knowing this can save an owner a LOT of money, as much of those concentrates passes right through with out being processed.

    I think I might have dorked out again.