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, January 29, 2011

And it begins again

After a nice slow down here at Iron Ridge for the winter, things are starting to pick back up.  The horses are more then ready to be back to work, the pasture is STILL green, and we've had a few lovely days in the 70s (that's 20*C for my metric friends).

We've had more snow then normal too, which to any one who knows me, means LOTS of whining.  And of course, the flu hit me.  I have been SICK for almost 2 weeks now.  I feel like a walking NyQuil commercial. But, enough rest, a bit of sunlight, and some good homemade chicken noodle soup (thanks to Jae) and I'm up and getting back at it.

Some of our familiar faces will be moving on.  Crash, AKA Little Red Corvette found his perfect family, and is now settling in nicely up in Arkansas.  The match was amazing, and I'm just thrilled for all of them!  I always love it when the right person find the right horse, and the horse agrees.

Crash will soon be a nice little trail horse, and after meeting his owners, I'm very sure he will be a very spoiled trail horse!  He seems to be getting along with his new pasture mates already, and hopefully he's exactly what they wanted.  If he takes after his older sister, Melody, they will be shocked at how nice of a ride this little guy is!

Nox, AKA Velvet Equinox will be heading to Livin Large Farms later this spring.  Yeah, it's an old picture of her, but somehow Nox always manages to NOT be in pictures.  I have tons of shots of her tail, leg, nostril, but nothing current of her.  Need to make sure I fix that before she goes.  She's a lovely girl now, coming 3, but on the smaller side.  Looks like she's only going to mature to be around 14.2 hands.  I think that she might be a potential Stonewall broodmare, as well as a riding horse for the family.  With Heather at Livin Large Farms, I never have to worry about good care for the horses though, and I love that I get constant updates!

And Melody looks like she may become employeed as a 4H pony!  I'm thrilled about this.  She has met a young girl that is in love with her, and it works both ways.  I worried that Melody would end up hotter blooded, like her dam, but she has proven time and time again that she is as sweet and mellow as her sire.  I keep being surprised by this one, and her sensible manners and amazing gaits!  I expect great things from her, and I'm sure I'll be invited to see a few of their shows.

Now, I'm also going to get to be a part of Melody's continued training!  I love it when the horses stick around, and become more of an extended family, then a long lost relative.  Even those who have moved quite a distance away still send me updates.  While I can't see them, I LOVE knowing that they are ok.  And of course, I always have space for them if they ever need to come back. 

And there's more news coming soon..... but here's a teaser!

I'll let you figure out what that is, and how it matters to the future of Iron Ridge Sport Horses, and the Sugarbush Draft Horses.  Feel free to speculate!

I have some amazing new horses in for training, and there's a theme this month!  Gaited horses!  We have 2 TWHs, both big black, and very sweet, that are here for a refresher course, and a young Tiger horse (gaited Appaloosa colored gelding) who needs to learn to carry a rider.  I'm going to get VERY spoiled with so much smooth motion going on!

So, with all the new things in the works here, I'm back to blogging!  I'm happy to have something of interest to be able to say, and it's very possible that I'll be blogging every one's eyes out.  Between the exciting changes to the breeding program, the wonderful clients and horses to train, and our weekend fun visits and lesson riders, Iron Ridge is starting to look active again.

Not much longer, and the grass will pick up, the flowers will bloom, and it will be truly spring!  Although, I have no foals due this year, I am still excited about spring.  I can't wait to look out and see this:

Instead of this:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

We had snow, and I got sick!

Yes, it really does snow in Texas.  On Sunday, we got about 4 inches of snow.  Not bad!  I figured it would all melt by noon, and be a passing thing, so hurried out to grab pictures.

Well, it didn't.  Until yesterday we still had snow on the ground!  Temperatures were barely above freezing at the warmest, and well below at night.  Of course, this means that all of our water pipes in the barn FROZE.  Yes, poor Jae and I were spending our time wandering out and deicing taps, and bucketing water a few times a day.

And, because of my multiple (and very wet) trips outside, I ended up catching a cold.  My mother always warned me about that!  So for the last 3 days, I have been doped up on cold meds (to any client I talked to during those days, I REALLY appologize for being so muddle headed!).

 The new dog Moose is fitting in.  Moose is a Great Dane that came to live with us as my Christmas present!  Well, that's what I have decided he was at any rate.  He loves the life on a farm, and is a very active and loyal dog.  This means that he runs and has a ball, but never really leaves my line of sight.  Perfect!  Moose thought the snow was the most fun he's had in a while, except that he really was NOT pleased about the mud.  Yeah, he's a complete whimp.

My other dogs though, decided that they wanted nothing more then to stay inside, where it was warm, and sleep the cold weather away.  Suzie is starting to show her age, and this cold icky stuff makes her joints ache.  She has a blanket to wear outside, but it doesn't seem to be enough.  So, she figures that since Moose is guarding me, she doesn't HAVE to stay out at long, and has taken to running home about 5 minutes after we head out.  Hey, as a 10 year old Rottweiler, she's allowed to be a bit fickle like that!

Sadly, my barn really is set up for warm weather, not this cold gross stuff.  Those open sides are a blessing for most of the months, letting a cool breeze flow through the barn.  Since we usually only get about 2 weeks each year of freezing weather, I have decided that we can learn to deal with it.

Well, except for the freezing water pipes!  It seems that all of our plumbing to the barn is about 12 inches deep, at most.  Not exactly a good plan in my mind.  So poor Jae gets to work on that.  Well, when his OTHER projects are finished!

Surprisingly though, the arena didn't fare too badly.  Here you can see down the "barn yard hill" and into the arena and pasture beyond.  Yeah, it's all a white mess.  But with the weather below freezing, we had a nice bit of time before it turned from hard dust to mud.

Now, Jae is a Canadian, so all of this is "normal" to him  For me, having an entire week of snow on the ground is just freaky!  I had no idea that "mud" froze!  I figured that the ground always was warmer below, and so maybe a bit on the top would freeze, but nothing deeper.  HA!

Jae has been a complete sweet heart though.  I really hate the cold, and he would sneak out and handle the watering or throwing hay.  Here is how I found him the first day it snowed:

He said the "babies" (technically 2 year olds now) needed lunch to help stay warm!  I really love this picture of him and Tori.  I'm pretty sure he'd kill me if he knew I ever shared a picture of him online (he's the wonderful shy type like that) but somehow this picture just says "life on a horse farm" to me.

Hope everyone else is staying warm... wish I was!