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.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Busy weekend ahead. O has a show!

Tomorrow morning, I am heading down to grab Leah and Kris (and of course my mother is going with me) so that we can see O, the last Sugarbush Stallion (for now) compete in his first show ever.  Here is Heather riding him in a training session:

Doesn't he look nice and relaxed?

Well, after that, we have the farrier out to do trims/shoes here at Iron Ridge, and I still have a few horses to ride.  So there's a good chance that tomorrow will be a little bit crazy.

And Monday, I will be picking up my newest training client.  Her name is Lady, and I can't wait to meet her.  She's a mature (I want to say 12 year old) Arab/Saddlebred cross who needs some work in the basics of dressage.  She's broke, so this is all fine tuning stuff for her.  I'm hoping I got her stats right, and if not, I will be sure to let you know.

As for Rooster and Huck.  When I left you last, the boys were being bad.  Well.... it was a one day thing!  The very next day Huck started out with the same "I don't WANT TO" attitude.  He kicked at air, and flat out refused to walk forward.  I searched my mind for an answer, and looked at Jae (who was hanging over the fence being mildly amused at the situation) and said "ok, I'm offically stumped".  Jae casually walks out, grabs Huck's bridle, and leads us around.  When Huck refused to walk forward, Jae would walk ahead.  Within a couple of minutes Huck was making a good honest effort to listen to me.  By the end of the hour, he was riding exactly where I wanted.  I asked for a left turn, and got a left turn, and NOT a disengagement of the haunches.  I asked for a circle and got a circle.  We backed, side passed, half passed, went straight as a board... all the things I had wanted to see.  Huck put some effort into it too, and ended the session pretty wet and drippy.

Today, we picked up where we left off.  A few walk to trot transitions, and everything was nice and relaxed.  He's starting to get the idea that we go where I say, not where he wants to, and if he does that there's love and good boys, and even some pats in his future.  I'm SO thrilled with this.  While it's not that big of a change from where he was, it's that he's now so nice and relaxed and almost enjoying it.

As for Rooster.  Well.... you know how every woman has that "problem area" on her body that she needs to work out?  Mine is my legs.  I can never get those toned enough.  Little did I know that all I had to do was climb up and climb down from a horse a zillion times!  Rooster isn't perfect yet.  But yesterday he let me catch him with no issues.  Granted, he started to walk away, then thought better of it.  He came up just out of my reach, and I had a shocker for him.... a cookie!  Now Rooster is not a real big treat eater, especially not out of the hand, but I have horse crack.  I don't know what is in this horse treat, but every horse I've met loves this stuff.

At any rate, Rooster has decided again that getting caught isn't too bad.  Lets see how long this lasts.  And even better, he lets me walk all the way around him with out being too tense.  When he relaxes, I praise him, and go on like normal.  Rooster really likes normal.  He's decided that the mounting block is not a monster, and it's not going to eat him.  I can even toss it down right beside him and only get a lift of the head and slight body tensing.  From there, I went to standing on it (over his head) and leaning over him.  Petting his off side freaks him out a bit, but he's learning to tolerate that.

He is now letting me step up and down from the stirrup.  I'm not riding him yet, because it's obvious Rooster knows the saddle stuff.  His big issue is the trust of a person climbing on.  Once I have him relaxed for mounting, I honestly think that every thing after that will simply flow easily.  Now, don't get me wrong, he's still very quick to react, but it's when given a command now, and not just a tilt of the head, or twitch of the fingers that most people wouldn't realize that they did.  Only a few days ago, standing at Rooster's hip and flexing my arm would cause him to rush into a canter, and circle me in a perfect lunge.  He's being "good" in his mind, but he's just being a bit TOO good. 

I'm really pleased with how they are doing.  And while I might not be blogging tomorrow, I hope to have a glowing report of O in the show ring.  Granted, this is his first show, so he could fall apart, or Heather could decide he's just not ready, and scratch.  But that doesn't mean I won't be cheering them on anyways!

Hope every one has a great weekend.


  1. Glad things are going so well with Huck and Rooster - I think your quiet, calm approach really makes a difference.

  2. O's other moms will be cheering him on. And to think we knew him when :-)

  3. Ohhh Go O !!! Have a blast at the show!

  4. So happy things are going well with Rooster and Huck!!! Have fun watching O at the show tomorrow. Hopefully he does beautifully!

  5. So happy things are going well with Rooster and Huck!!! Have fun watching O at the show tomorrow. Hopefully he does beautifully!