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, November 30, 2010

SCA weekend

SCA, or the Society for Creative Anachronism, is a group of people (Average age is around 43) who enjoy dressing up as people in past times, and smacking their friends with sticks.  That's the really simplified version.  This is a group of wonderful people who have a slightly different take on life.  They play, and play hard.  Their games just happen to be historically accurate.  It's similar to civil war reenactment, just a slightly wider range of time, and more to do.

This weekend we hosted about 12 people from SCA here at Iron Ridge Sport Horses.  To start the day, we had pony rides.  My 5 lesson horses, ranging from a lead line pony through the grey Thoroughbred shown who is trained up to second level dressage, and has much more "oomph", all worked hard to make it a wonderful experience for everyone.  From men and women that weren't sure they were brave enough to ride, through riders with a bit of experience, every one had a great time.

For me, this was a teaser event, and I hope to have more in the future.  There's a few reasons for that.  First, SCA is exactly the type of market I breed for.  Seeing my horses at work, doing the jobs they are bred to do, well, it's good.  I can see what training I need to work on, and I hear what my buyer type would be thinking.  Now granted, none of the people who came are in the market for a horse, either from too little spare cash, or too little spare time, or both, but that doesn't mean that I can't use something fun to learn more.

Second, it's fun for all.  My lesson horses get to do something that isn't nearly as boring as the typical lesson.  My staff (family) gets to have people over that they can talk to (since none of us leave the property often).  The people who come over seemed to have a great time.  All in all, it's a wonderful way to blow off the stresses of the week.

And third, well... it works as marketing.  From word of mouth from anyone that shows up, to student wanting riding lessons, to all those cars that drive past and see weird people dressed in weird clothes, and think that it just might be fun.... it all gets my name out. 

We still need to get a few more things added to my facilities, oh, such as a publicly accessible restroom, and I need to prepare my horses for the actual SCA games (which jousting is one!  In a fun and friendly stay on your horse type of way) and then I hope to be able to do this more often.  We will need arena lights, and we need to finish the repairs on certain areas, and I need to figure out a place to fit in mounted archery.  I have Fiacha the Blue, one of our lesson students, and the great mind behind this event, working on getting me more information.

And now, I'm sitting here hoping it warms up just a bit more (currently 40F outside!).  Lady's owner is coming to see how much Lady has progressed, and I think she will be pleased.  I hope so at least.  Sadly, Lady heads back home later this week.  I'm gonna miss that girl (she's a very nice horse most days, and just enough attitude for me to adore her) but I completely understand wanting to put your own training on a horse.  And of course, I'm always available by email or phone to answer questions about the horse's training even after it has headed home.  I think it makes a better rider though, to do the tough work, and learn along side your horse.  Don't get me wrong, a lesson horse is priceless.  Being able to feel the result you want is necessary to asking a less trained horse to perform more complicated work.

So here's hoping that in a few months or years I get an invitation to watch Lady and her owner in a show.  I'm pretty certain that they both can do it, and do it well.

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