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, September 21, 2010

A positive update:

I just wanted to let every one know that Boo is officially better!  He got the clear on Monday, not long after my posting, and was allowed to nibble hay.  The word was, if he drinks on his own, then he's fine.

So, he of course drank half a bucket in one sitting.  Thank you BOO!  And 2 days ahead of schedule.  So, Monday evening, I spent the day recovering.  Now today, it's time to get back to work.

So, oddly enough, I wake up, and it's simply LOVELY outside.  Nice, cool weather, a few clouds, and a bit of a breeze.  Boo is still doing good, and all of his drugs are now out of his system.  He got his first "real" meal.  I mean, it was one part alfalfa pellets to 3 parts water... but it went in his mouth, and will hopefully come out his backside with no problems.  He does have a bit of a slick hiney from all the mineral oil!

Rode Cayenne, and worked on a few basics.  She still needs to clean up her transitions, and is stiff to the left.  About half way through the ride, she started moving... off.  Not lame, but not 100%.  One of those things where she's nice and rhythmical, not favoring a leg at all, but my gut said something was up.  Tacked her down, and couldn't find a sign of anything.  Last time she did this, it was a pulled muscle in her back, so I went ahead and stretched her out, and she was obviously stiff on the left.  We'll see how she's doing in a couple of hours.  I admit, I was pushing her into the bends a bit.

THEN, I grabbed Amber.  Amber is my lovely little champagne quarter horse.  My mother put almost all of the training on her, and earlier this spring, mom tried to back her.  Sadly, Amber got spooky, and did oneof those sideways spooks as mom put weight in the saddle.  Mom said she worked through it a bit, but Amber was still pretty tense, and mom felt out of her league.  I tacked Amber up, lunged her a bit in both directions, then had Jae take the lead.

The way I start horses, is to have a handler holding a lead rope attached to a bridle under the halter.  This gives me a bit and reins, but also gives the horse a type of commands that they know and are comfortable with.  I do all the sacking out, then I lay across the saddle.  If that goes well, then we take a step or 2 with me laying across the saddle (this is where Amber lost it the last time).  After that, we just increase, until I swing a leg over, then the handler leads the horse around as I get a pony ride.  Eventually I add commands through the seat and reins, and we just work away from the handler.

This process usually takes anywhere from 1 to 10 sessions.  I always go at the horse's pace.

Well, Amber did FINE!  I admit, she did spook the first time I hopped off the saddle.  She lifted her head, and sucked in air, but never moved her feet.  By the end of the ride, I was sitting on her and even giving rein aids, but Jae still had the halter and leadrope.  I think Amber will need one or maybe 2 more sessions with a ground person, but she's doing well.

She's also simply LOVELY under tack.  I'm not a huge fan of yellow horses, but she has the whole shades of bronzes and golds that I do love.  She also has a rather nice walk.  I mean, she's no Spot baby, but definitely not bad for a quarter horse!

I really needed today.  I'm feeling in high spirits again!


  1. Very good news about Boo! And Amber sounds like she's making great progress, too.

  2. Yeah, I'm really pretty excited! I have so many horses coming under saddle, and all are starting so nicely. Cayenne, Dream, Melody, Velvet, and now Amber.

    Soon I have to start Arden, Dove, Katy, Scorch, Shadow, and Oops. Although, some days I feel like I'm going to forget how to ride the trot and canter with so many very very green horses.

  3. Yay for Boo , and it sounds like a good start with Amber. Good news , you needed it !