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.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Ugh, a Small Rant

Bear with me please!  I have to rant a bit about Fugly Horse of the Day.

As a horse breeder, I have to keep in touch with my audience, market changes, and trends/fads in the horse world.  Interestingly, I agree with much of FHOTD's message, but not the delivery (the "I'm right, and you're wrong" attitude bugs me), not the blind faith of so many of the readers (lets call and harass people!), and definitely not the extremism.  The blog is, however, very influential in the horse market, and as a business owner, I must respect that.

So, today I pop over, do my checking up, and see "Stonewall Sport Horse" mentioned in the comments.  Boo!  Hiss!  Somehow I knew this would happen.  See, someone bred a Friesian to an Appaloosa, and registered it as a Stonewall Sport Horse.  I even think I know who it was.  (No, not me).  The resulting picture was... less then stellar, and the filly is not very colored (black roan).  Her ad isn't the best either, as most of the verbiage is in regards to the filly's color, and  the filly is in an awkward stage of life and angle in the image.  I don't think the filly is nearly as bad as the commenters are making her out to be though.  I mean, shooting pictures of a horse is hard... solo, it's impossible!  All I have to say is that Draft crosses tend to be VERY ugly as yearlings.  Rico and Scorch have been my exceptions, but I hope no one looks at Diva this week, her rump is 6 inches above her withers!


At any rate, the result of crossing a Sugarbush Draft back with a light horse, is a Stonewall Sport Horse.  Crossing an Appaloosa with any draft breed is a Stonewall Sport Horse.  Stonewall Sport Horses are not really a breed, they are a type.  In other words, it's an appaloosa colored draft cross.  Just like "Draft Horse" or "Sport Horse" or "Stock Horse" is a type.  The Stonewall Sport Horse has been around for about 60 years now I think (I could be wrong on that) and was designed to be a loud colored horse that is laid back by nature, and good for a handicapped therapy program.  Stonewall Sport Horses consistently excel at their job.

Of course there will be good and bad examples of horses in every type, but for some reason if it has color then it's evil.  I can't count how many ugly Quarter Horses, or Thoroughbreds, or even Arabians I have seen, but if it's a bad "cross breed", it's evil.

Here's my problem with this.  I put a ton of time and effort into my breedings.  I'm not worried about color, and don't care if I get solids (in fact I am rather a big proponent of the solid appaloosa in the ApHC).  I strive to produce horses that I can't find anywhere else, and have found in the Sugarbush Draft breed, and Stonewall Sport Horses.  Having a small group of people look at one image of one horse, and deem the entire type to be inferior is ... well... annoying.

I won't even go into the "new fangled cross breeds"  when BOTH Stonewall Sport Horses and Sugarbush Draft Horses have been around longer then the Rocky Mountain horse breed.  Unfortunately, the RMH had better advertising.  It's not MY fault that people who never look past their nose have never heard of these horses.  How many people have never heard of Knabstruppers either?  Yet they have been around for a few hundred years.  My breed is infantile by comparison, but that does not mean less quality!


I know that shortly, in my inbox there will be derogatory statements in reference to Stonewall Sport Horses with out understanding what I am doing, why I am doing it, how I am doing it, or what measures I take to protect my horses for becoming worthless later in life.  It's just rabid fans with access to google who will lump my program into their impression taken from a single picture of a gangly filly at a bad angle.

I think I'm doing pretty darned good with my Stonewall Sport Horses.... Not exactly "crap breedings" even if I do say so myself!

Rorschach Hextatic, aka: Rico - Yearling Stonewall Sport Horse

Jinxed Diva, aka: Diva - 2 year old Stonewall Sport Horse

 Annandale Olivia, aka:Olivia - Stonewall Sport Horse shown at 2 days of age

Soliloquy, aka:Soli - Stonewall Sport Horse shown at 3 days of age
And of course Rorschach's Slow Burn, aka:Scorch
3 year old Stonewall Sport Horse stallion

It's not all about the color!  And I think that my type definitely is not dependent upon the polka dotted rumps.  A good horse is a good horse, even if it's a roan, a solid, or as loud as Rico!  I prefer the Stonewall Sport Horses because they are a good size (averaging between 16 and 17 hands when mature) have a great mind, are easy to train, are cold natured, so not likely to spook, but have the conformation and heart to perform well.

Oh yeah.... and no Friesians in my breeding program, since my goal is to go from that, to this:

17 comments:

  1. Don't fret - those who know and care about these matters won't be phased and the opinions of those who don't know what they're talking about don't matter.

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  2. Good point! Although you did take all the steam out of my tantrum. =)

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  3. I raise Appaloosa horse here in Alberta. Andf like you said , there is good and bad in all breed. But a well thought out well reasearched cross is what produces results, not the "flavor of the month type , but rather good sound using horse built to the purpose and with good minds. Now I like my Appy to have color , but that is ALWAYS secondary to temerament and conformation .I am not really familiar with the Stonewall Port horse , but the premise makes good sense. And I gotta say from what I have seen of yours I like your stock!

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  4. forgive me I forgot to spell check

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  5. I saw the reference on Fugly this morning, and thought about responding in defense. I decided I was not an expert, having only recently come to your blog. Then decided just now to say something. But I agree with Kate--those who know, won't worry about it, those who don't, don't matter.

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  6. I have to agree that FHOTD can get a bit rabid. Your horses are beautiful and I am not even a big appy fan. They are well bred and well raised animals. Those that read FHOTD just want to find fault with everyone but themselves.

    The thing about FHOTD is that she just likes to pick. Yeah there are poor ads out there, and ya know what, some of those poor ads are being written by poor horse owners, BUT they are trying to find a different home for their horse. Isn't that best for everyone?

    And you are so correct, yearlings are not pretty. I don't care what breed, most yearlings are ugly, just the nature of the beast.

    you keep proudly breeding your talented horse that just happen to have something special.

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  7. I haven't read FUGLY for close to a year now. Too much drama and mayhem...witch hunts and shock-searching language.

    You're right about yearlings. They all look so gangly and awkward. Your horses are beautiful.

    The only thing that makes me scratch my head is when I read your words that a 16hh-17hh horse is a good size.
    I wouldn't think that such a tall a horse would be a helpful or convenient size for a handicapped therapy program, which is what you said the Stonewall Sport Horses were bred for.

    As someone who has trouble mounting a horse over 15.3hh without a mounting block or assistance, it would be impossible for me to mount a horse over 16hh, even without my hip displasia and weak knees.

    Too bad the draft breed temperament doesn't come in a smaller size. lol!

    ~Lisa

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  8. Hey, thanks y'all for the nice compliments, it's much appreciated.

    Lisa, the Stonewall Sport Horses were bred for Access Adventure originally, which is not your typical therapy program. Mike Muir made a brilliant program for people unable to sit a horse. The Stonewall Sport Horses are driven, often by the handicapped person (in reality responding to verbal commands from the assistant, and heading in a straight line) and allowing severely disabled (paraplegic, etc) to get outside and be around animals in a new way.

    So, their size is perfect as a carriage horse, which... is what they started as. Myself and others over time have realized that they can be ridden too. The same calm demeanor works amazingly well under saddle for those of us who don't want to ride a hot horse.

    Dare I mention that the chestnut filly up there, Olivia, is expected to mature to 15.1 or 15.2? And um... there are short draft breeds... Fjords, Halflingers, Fell Ponies.... Many well under 15 hands, some under 14 hands! You have hope yet (and I will convert the world to draft lovers!)

    I have to say though that I agree with quite a few things Fugly says. I think breeders are responsible for their horses for the life of the horse. If you make the life, then you're responsible for it. I think that if you don't know what you're doing, you should either hire an expert (and listen to them) or not breed horses. Yes, "hiring" can also be normal research that all of us do. And I think that people who abuse horses should be brought to justice. Not necessarily the same way that many of the readers think they should be!

    But thanks again, y'all made me smile when I logged in to check the messages!

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  9. I quit reading Fugly shortly after I started blogging. I'm glad that she is able to influence those who abuse and neglect horses, but to me, it's an abuse of her 15 minutes of cyber fame to judge people by a bad photo. I want no part of being mean and inciting people at the expense of hapless others. Yes, there are ugly and ill bred horses out there, and there are sad people who can't spell and don't know how to put an ad together. And there are people whose fences aren't perfect — mine's not. But as you said, they all go through a stage where they're gangly, awkward, and uphill or downhill. Diva and Katy come to mind. Sweetie still has a moose head, but we know how long it takes the drafts to grow into themselves. This time next year, she'll be lovely.

    Although their heaviness initially underwhelmed me, I have come to appreciate the wonderful temperament the Stonewalls have from the moment they're born. They're calm, have good minds, and a nature that seeks to please. Some prefer to move a bit slower, but they are well able to move beautifully and athletically.

    I prefer spots :-)

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  10. I have to say thank you to evensong for defending my breed and type of choice! Wonderful rebuttal.

    I did giggle at the snide remark "WOW, 50 years of history?"....

    AQHA started in 1940 - 70 years
    ApHC started in 1938 - 72 years
    APHA started in 1962 - 48 years
    RMHA (Rocky Mountain Horse)started in 1986 - 24 years
    TWHBEA started in 1935 - 75 years
    Missouri Fox trotter (MFTHBA) started in 1948 - 62 years
    American Cream Draft started in 1944 (66 years) but went fallow for many years in there, and was reopened in 1982 (28 years).

    Funny... over 50 years of history sounds pretty damned good now, doesn't it?

    (Rant over, thanks for reading)

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  11. I don't know this FUGLY person, don't think I want to so I won't go look. There is enough drama in my life as it is.

    Your horses are gorgeous and show good breeding in their confirmation and from what I can tell by reading, in their minds too. That is something awesome in itself. Keep it up!

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  12. Did you see my response? I get so EFFING FED UP with the close minded sheeple who make stupid comments to curry her favor!!!!!!! That Friesian x Stonewall cross was bred by Mike and I've seen other pictures of her and she's a nice filly!! My two Stonewall babies are also half Friesian and they are fantastic!! Great minds, great work ethic, great gaits, great all around!

    I have noticed that as beautiful as Friesians are, they are some BUTT UGLY babies!!!! Nyx was all head and feet for 3 years! She's out of Blanche, and Blanche was never 'pretty'. Blanche has a big head and a huge pot belly from having 7 foals. But she collects nicely and got 9's in Driving Dressage and Nyx is just as athletic. Nix is 16:2 and 1270 lbs and for the longest time the only thing keeping her knees from touching was the size of her feet, LOL! But at 4 she's widening out and looking good. Too bad I don't drive!

    Too many people in America are hung up on the Big 5 and calling something 'pureblooded' and they don't even understand the concept of where the foundation horses from the Big 5 came from!!!! And if it doesn't look like a halter QH, it ain't s4!t!!! Blanche isn't the loveliest when you look at her standing in a pasture; she's big headed, long backed, and shorter necked. But collect her up and put her to work and she transforms into a beautiful diva! She's so much a warmblood/sporthorse type! Blanche's half sister Scarlette has been approved by the KNN to produce Knabstrupper babies and scored really high. So Stonewalls can't all be crap, right??

    So, I get tired of Fuggs picking on Stonewalls. I post EVERY TIME about Stonewall history and EVERY TIME she still jumps om the bash'em band wagon.

    Mike is doing a good job. He's taken up the Stonewall reins again and has added Knabstrupper and Friesian to the cross because he wants a little more Baroque look. But his main focus is still the traditional Stonewall. He's got a NICE leopard Stonewall colt for sale that if he doesn't sell soon, he'll geld. If I had the money I would snap him up in a heart beat!!! Check him out, Adonis;
    http://suisunnaturephotography.zenfolio.com/p160320522

    Here's a link to some history, Adonis is on here, too;
    http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/576338/65b358fc17/ARCHIVE

    Keep up the great work!!!

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  13. Ah see, I was off on my history of the Stonewall Sport Horses! Thanks Cheri for adding the link.

    I know that Everett has about 50 years into the Sugarbush horses (his words, "over 50"), and he said that he worked with Mike to get the best breeding stock (as in, bought from Mike I assume). I simply assumed that Mike had been doing it longer. Ooops! I look at all those assumptions in there, and realize my mistake.

    I admit, I'm not that fond of Friesians. Nothing against them, I'm just a riding person, not a driving person, and well, Friesians are carriage horses first and foremost. I really looked into them, and everything I learned said that they would take me in a different direction then **I** wanted to go.

    Now, with that said, Mike is breeding driving horses. I don't think you can get much better then the blood lines he's using.

    I recently learned that Mike has done this exact cross a couple of times, and really likes it. I also accidentally stuck my foot in my mouth when talking to the owner of that filly, and feel like a complete jerk about it.

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  14. Eh, don't worry about it! Sometimes it's not what you say, but how you apologize, LOL! That's what makes us better people. Truthfully, owners of Friesian crosses and especially Stonewall Friesian crosses usually have to have thicker hides if they are going to promote them. I call Nyx and Gwyn my expensive mutts, LOL! I've taken some flack, and I just try to let it roll off.

    Also, nothing wrong with not liking Friesians!! I personally don't like Arabs. (But I adore Percherons, and they have a lot of Arab blood in them, making them the hottest and most refined of all the draft horses.) I'll be honest and say that while I don't mind the conformation and the hair and the completely sweet nature, all that black is soooo booooring, LOL!

    I am so in love with my Stonewalls! If I won the lottery, I would breed O to Blanche and have a surrogate carry the foal. Blanche is nearly 19 and why do that to her, although she loooooves her babies. Heck, she loves all babies, even people babies.

    I'm a riding person, too. But I'm a big ol' fat girl, married to a tall, big, ol fat guy, (he looks like Hagrid, =-D) so I also like the big, wide, tall horses. Gwyn is my shortest horse at 15:3 and I think of her as short until I see her next to a regular horse, =-D

    I haunt your blog, btw, =-D I LOVELOVELOVE looking at Sugarbush/Stonewall pictures!! I am so happy you took over from Everett! I've spoken with him too, and he is indeed very awesome. I am glad you are promoting them, and I'll help any way I can! Just let me know!

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  15. Eh, don't worry about it! Sometimes it's not what you say, but how you apologize, LOL! That's what makes us better people. Truthfully, owners of Friesian crosses and especially Stonewall Friesian crosses usually have to have thicker hides if they are going to promote them. I call Nyx and Gwyn my expensive mutts, LOL! I've taken some flack, and I just try to let it roll off.

    Also, nothing wrong with not liking Friesians!! I personally don't like Arabs. (But I adore Percherons, and they have a lot of Arab blood in them, making them the hottest and most refined of all the draft horses.) I'll be honest and say that while I don't mind the conformation and the hair and the completely sweet nature, all that black is soooo booooring, LOL!

    I am so in love with my Stonewalls! If I won the lottery, I would breed O to Blanche and have a surrogate carry the foal. Blanche is nearly 19 and why do that to her, although she loooooves her babies. Heck, she loves all babies, even people babies.

    I'm a riding person, too. But I'm a big ol' fat girl, married to a tall, big, ol fat guy, (he looks like Hagrid, =-D) so I also like the big, wide, tall horses. Gwyn is my shortest horse at 15:3 and I think of her as short until I see her next to a regular horse, =-D

    I haunt your blog, btw, =-D I LOVELOVELOVE looking at Sugarbush/Stonewall pictures!! I am so happy you took over from Everett! I've spoken with him too, and he is indeed very awesome. I am glad you are promoting them, and I'll help any way I can! Just let me know!

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  16. I raise Appaloosa horse here in Alberta. Andf like you said , there is good and bad in all breed. But a well thought out well reasearched cross is what produces results, not the "flavor of the month type , but rather good sound using horse built to the purpose and with good minds. Now I like my Appy to have color , but that is ALWAYS secondary to temerament and conformation .I am not really familiar with the Stonewall Port horse , but the premise makes good sense. And I gotta say from what I have seen of yours I like your stock!

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  17. I think Rico is a really beautiful horse. I hope to have a horse with as great conformation as he has. I also like color. I don't know it's just my thing in appys I like. I had a solid appy once and she was also 25% QH but she was only 5 when I got her and she needed more learning and wasn't suited for me. I thought I had a good horse, but I didn't. She was too stubborn for me to work with. She needed a man or a very confident experienced trainer to help her. I wasn't that.

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