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, August 7, 2010

Murphy's Law

So, I'm an August baby... well "baby" might be stretching it.  At any rate, as the weather heats up, my family always starts asking "so, what do you want for your birthday?".  I gave them 2 options.

Option #1: Top quality riding helmet (with the exact size and model picked out on the clearance lists of my favorite stores).

Option #2:  The book "Is Your Horse a Rock Star" that was previous featured on Leah's Blog.

Ironically, and rather unexpectedly, I received BOTH gifts.... and both were on back order!  (Thanks again to everyone, I'm tickled!).  Any my helmet arrived Friday morning!  I'm very excited!

Yep, I have a super duper fancy nice helmet now.  It's light colored (no baking my brain box), light weight (no irritating tug and pull), ventilated and stylish!  I have to say, a quality helmet is also WAY more comfortable then a cheapo helmet.  Yes, I'm a dork and had to wear it around the house today.


My riding buddies now have a job.... you MUST remind me to put it on!


I had a perfect example today of just how quickly things can go downhill.  In my life, I have never been kicked by a horse.  I have been kicked AT, but the only "contact" has been from a 7 hour old foal with rubbery hooves, and a gelding that contacted my super duper oversized T-shirt and nothing else.  No, I do not think I am invincible.  Rather the opposite really.  I think when I do get kicked, I'm headed to the ER.  I expect my luck to run out, and the injury to be serious.  Needless to say, I'm as careful as humanly possible, while still working with horses.

But, with that said, dear Jae went to the barn this evening to help me feed.  He always helps, so that's really nothing new.  I prepared buckets, and sent him to feed the "skinnies" which include Diesel, Tori, and Sweetie.  While Jae tossed out that feed, I began to fill water buckets.


I was standing in front of Quagga's stall when I heard a noise.  I looked out of the barn, and saw Sweetie RUNNING to the back end of her paddock.  Well, Diesel is the head horse, so I assumed that she did something silly, and got in trouble.  I knew Jae was there, so wasn't too worried. 

I had no idea how silly she was.  A split second after Sweetie goes zipping down the fence line, I see Jae, running full tilt after her, and not looking happy!  Sweetie turns, cuts (she's a Sugarbush Draft, so it's not exactly athletic) and bolts to the far corner, and her body language screams that she's thinking of taking the fence!

Jae of course, being a good horseman, backs off, so she doesn't kill herself, and then moves her as he desires, back to the barn side of the paddock. I head over, ready to lend a hand, with out superseding Jae's authority in the herd.  It was obvious that Sweetie realized she was in BIG trouble, and was very very very sorry (that she got caught).

Evidently what happened was that Jae fed Diesel first, from a bucket on the fence line.  Diesel is the ranking horse.  Then Jae went to dump a bucket of grain in the feeder that's in the middle of the paddock.  This means carrying a bucket of grain through 2 horses that are very excited.

Now, Sweetie is a very docile and sweet horse.  Her name fits her perfectly.  Tori, the other filly in the paddock is about as submissive as it gets.  With both very mellow and non aggressive girls, it's natural to let your guard down a bit.

Sweetie decided that Jae was taking too long.  She tossed a hoof in Jae's direction, catching him in the forearm and torso.  It was a very glancing blow, and so far hasn't even left a bruise, but kicking is NOT ALLOWED... not ever.

Just goes to show that you can never be too careful.  Sweetie is a 2 year old filly, and has been extensively handled since birth.  She is not an aggressive horse, she has never offered to kick, bite, or strike any human, ever.  She rarely even does that to other horses!  I have no idea what made her think that today was a good day to die, or why she thought that kicking a human was a good idea, when she doesn't kick at other horses... but she did.  A completely unexpected incident.

I'm very glad that Jae was not hurt.  But my first though was, what a perfect example of a good horse doing something so totally unexpected that could cause such harm.  This is exactly why I'm working to get in the habit of wearing my helmet.  I have rationalized all the reasons why I don't grab one when I grab a horse, and I'm slowly ruling them out.  I have enlisted my friend's help (ok, they offered!) and I'm passing on my "old" helmet to Jae... it fits his head better then it ever did mine. 

Isn't it ironic though, how helmets have been coming up lately?  From a picture of Rover's rider, to my birthday request, to an unexpected incident (I can't say accident, as Jae swears he's uninjured).  I'm thinking that this might be my big hint before the catastrophic accident.  Remember folks... I predicted it here!  (Ya think Paranoia will help me remember my helmet?)

Note:  I promise that I am intending to finish the white pattern genes. Splash is coming up next!

10 comments:

  1. A helmet is a Good Thing - your birthday presents sounded like just the thing!

    Horses, no matter how well trained, can be unpredictable. Getting kicked in the jaw and arm last summer reminded me of that.

    And a very happy birthday to you!

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  2. I need to be more mindful myself. I'm spoiled and complacent with P&J. And yet, I know there is no such thing as truly being "safe" with horses regardless of how well trained they might be. Anything can happen at any time and always really, really, fast.

    Did you get a lot of rain? Will it be okay to ride tomorrow?

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  3. And that's a GREAT photo of me ya got there. A true barn goddess, I tell ya.

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  4. I actually worked hard to pick the least bad one, that still showed Sweetie in relation to a person. The only other one I have of her like that, is her with Jae as a yearling.

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  5. Let's face it: "horses" and "glamor" just aren't two words that can be used in the same sentence. Or the same paragraph, for that matter.

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  6. Happy birthday!

    I *have* been kicked once; I got lucky, and I know it, because if that mare had hit me a few inches to the left, she would probably have broken my femur. I had a nice hoofprint on my inner thigh for a few weeks, though, and you better believe I had a lot more respect for a horse with its butt towards the stall door after that!

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  7. Happy Birthday. A helmet was a good choice. Your post is a wake up call for me to be more careful too. I'm very comfortable moving all around my mare and I really should be more wary. I don't think she would ever kick me on purpose, but I have seen her fire off a hoof in a split second when something startles her. That something could be me if I'm not careful. Thanks for the reminder that even our most trustworthy horses are still horses who have a powerful kick in that back end.

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  8. The quietest horse I ever owned left me with a bruise the size of a watermelon on my thigh and inch either way I would have had a broken femur ofr pelvis. I can happen so fast ! as I type this I am thinking "when will I figure it out and get my own helmet?"Soon I think

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  9. The quietest horse I ever owned left me with a bruise the size of a watermelon on my thigh and inch either way I would have had a broken femur ofr pelvis. I can happen so fast ! as I type this I am thinking "when will I figure it out and get my own helmet?"Soon I think

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  10. A helmet is a Good Thing - your birthday presents sounded like just the thing!

    Horses, no matter how well trained, can be unpredictable. Getting kicked in the jaw and arm last summer reminded me of that.

    And a very happy birthday to you!

    ReplyDelete